There are many blogs already which discuss this topic: social media analytics tools. Most of them simply list the social media analytics tool out there. However, the purpose of writing this blog post is not to just give you a list of tools to quickly scan through, we want to offer you a perspective on social media analytics tools. And in the process answer some of your most pressing questions.
Here’s what we’re going to discuss.
- What does a social media analytics tool do?
- What’s a social media analytics tool used for?
- Why can’t I just use built-in social media analytics?
- Social media analytics tools vs social media management tools: How are the two different?
- Social media analytics tools vs social media listening tools
- Are there any free social media analytics tools?
- The most comprehensive list of social media analytics tools
- What can I do with social media analytics APIs?
What does a social media analytics tool do?
A social media analytics tool is (usually) a software that gives you the data and insights on the performance of social media assets. The asset can be either your social media accounts, in some cases even your personal account (like LinkedIn profile), or it can be accounts of your competitors.
The tools can be either platform specific, for instance only Facebook Analytics or Instagram Analytics. Or it can be cross-channel analysis which shares data of all the platforms together painting a holistic picture.
The data you study with the analytics tool can also vary.
While some tools focus on presenting data in multiple formats–Excel sheet, graphs, charts, and tables–some tools focus on drawing insights. There are tools which also create predictive models suggesting what to post, when, and how frequently.
What’s a social media analytics tool used for?
The use case is wide. It changes based on your position and role in the team. Unlike the popular opinion, social media analytics tools are used outside of the marketing community.
Brand managers, researchers, academicians, and even analysts use social media analytics tools for their own purposes.
Use cases for agencies, social media managers, and freelancers
- Creating pitches for new social media prospects
- Auditing social media accounts
- Finding new content ideas
- Competitive analysis
- Create performance benchmarks
- Creating periodic social media reports
Use cases for brand managers, researchers, and analysts
- Assess brand impact
- Study an industry
- Analyze the performance of a company
Why can’t I just use built-in social media analytics?
Well, you can…unless you want to be guided with data that’s not only incomplete but also not thorough. I will discuss three cases and see if you can do that with built-in analytics of social media platforms.
Reason #1: You cannot always view the historical data
So let’s say you want to see the performance of all your tweets combined for the year 2020. All in a single screen with following metrics: total number of tweets, total engagement, total likes, total replies, and total comments.
Well, you can’t do that.
Reason #2: You can’t see your competitors’ social media performance
Go to a social media page of your favourite brand, and see if you can find its social media performance.
Did you try it?
If you did, you know now that you can’t do it.
So naturally, if you want to audit a competitor or see how you compare against a brand or simply want to create a pitch for a new client, you will always be short of something if you rely on built-in analytics. It only shows data of the page you own.
Reason #3: You cannot white-label your social media reports
You don’t even need a second thought to conclude that you can’t create whilte-labeled reports.
I know it’s not the primary function of a social media analytics tool. But even if you want to assess huge data on a single screen, the built-in analytics of social media platforms doesn’t give you power to analyze accounts in depth.
Social media analytics tools vs Social media management tools: How are the two different?
Although the answer is intuitive, I will try to explain the difference with examples.
Difference #1: The functional difference
Social media management tools allow you to create, share, and interact (like and comment) via your social media assets. You can do things with a social media management tool. They also allow you to schedule all posting activities, saving you time and effort to do that activity repetitively.
The social media analytics tools come into the picture along with it.
It allows you to see the performance of what you do on your social media pages. With a social media analytics tool, you can assess the success of your efforts on social media.
Difference #2: Scope
While social media management tools allow you to work with social media assets that you own, a social media analytics tool can also help you work beyond your owned social assets. You can look at your competitor, spy on them, and even check your content’s performance against them.
Social media analytics tools vs Social media listening tools
Social media tools are categorized into four major parts:
- Social media management
- Social media analytics
- Social media monitoring
- Social media listening
The last two tools have a function if you’re into reputation management or brand management. For instance, social media monitoring tools allow you to monitor keywords or brand mentions so you can take quick action–based on positive or negative mention–whenever you encounter someone talking about you.
While social media analytics is more focused on a quantitative analysis, social media listening tools are more qualitative–more focused on understanding what’s being said on the social platforms.
Are there any free social media analytics tools?
Well, there are.
In fact, we have three free social media analytics tools for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter–each allowing you to see your performance against your competitors.
Apart from that each social media platform gives a native analytics platform. Facebook has a section for detailed page and engagement analytics. Twitter Analytics section gives an overview of your Twitter account’s performance. And so does Instagram.
However, free social media analytics tools will always hit a bottleneck. Well, because of the obvious reason–it’s free. You won’t be either able to create white-labeled reports, cap on data history, number of profiles, and so on.
If your usage is not recurring or extensive, you can surely rely on the free tools.
And if you want to do more, here’s…
The Most Comprehensive List of All Social Media Analytics Tools
Social media competitive analysis tool with white-labeled reports. Pricing starts at $29 per month.
2. Rival IQ:
Competitive social media analytics tool designed for agencies. Starts at $199 per month.
Social media analytics and benchmarking tool. Starts at $300 per month.
4. Buffer Analyze:
Social analytics and reporting tool. Starts at $35 per month
Social media analytics tool covering Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Pricing starts at $29 per month.
Social media analytics, monitoring, and listening built together. Starts at $49 per month.
7. Union Metrics:
A social media analytics suite for social marketing intelligence. Starts at $49 per month.
8. Sprout Social:
A more comprehensive social media tool with publishing, social CRM, and analytics built-in. Pricing starts at $99 per month.
An enterprise grade software for complete social media marketing: from management to analytics. Some of the websites suggest that it can cost approximately $4,000 per year, around $333 per month but is charged annually.
From content management to analytics, Socialbakers give you a complete suite of social media management tools. Starts at $199 per month.
11. Fanpage Karma:
Covers almost all social platforms including YouTube, WhatsApp, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Starts at $69 per month.
Uses a marketing dashboard based interface to visualize social media data. Starts at $29 per month.
A specialised tool for Twitter analytics allowing you to find new profiles, analyze, and optimize your Twitter profile’s performance. Starts at $29 per month.
Audiense is probably the most unique name in this list. It’s a social media tool that gives you insights into your audience and their behaviour with monitoring and listening capabilities. The pricing starts at $79 per month
Klear again is slightly different positioned and allows you to use social analytics capabilities for influencer marketing. Although the pricing is not available on their website, some online sources suggest it to be $99 per month.
16. Social Pilot:
Another tool that’s more inclined towards analytics than management. They have a separate plan for professionals, small teams, and agencies. The pricing starts at $30 per month for professional plans.
A complete social media suite with ability to publish, engage, benchmark, and analyze. Pricing starts at $129 per month.
Social media analytics and reporting tool designed for managers, agencies, and enterprises. Starts at $99 per month.
Hope this list will help you in choosing the right social media analytics tool as well. You can research on your own and let your requirements, needs, and budget guide you.
Because not all features will be relevant for you–many tools offer a suite with ability to publish, engage, listen, monitor, and analyze social media performance–you need to eventually compare each tool to see a better fit for you.
What can I do with social media analytics APIs?
Apart from looking at the data in a tool’s own dashboard, you can do much more with the APIs of these analytics tools. You can customize the way you want to fetch, use, and visualize data according to your company’s needs.
With APIs of social media analytics tools, you can build customized marketing dashboards, integrate your social media data with other marketing metrics in your existing system, and even perform your own analysis on the data to come up with better insights than all of these tools offer.
However, there’s only one condition.
You will need a developer for using analytics APIs. This will add cost at two places: the plans which offer APIs are usually costlier and then you will need to hire a developer to use the API the way you want.
It’s such a growing industry where companies, including us, are trying to create more value for the marketers and managers. I hope you now know:
- What social media analytics tools do
- How they are different from social media management, listening, and monitoring tools
- All the popular social media analytics tool, and
- What you can do with social media analytics APIs
I am sure even after going through these 2,000 words there are so many questions which are left unanswered. If you feel there’s something that I can add to this blog post or you have any specific question, you can write it down in the comments section below.