The Ins and Outs of Analytics

Analytics, the mathematical and statistical systems in which meaningful knowledge is discovered in measured data, are used by social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

On all of these sites, analytics tell you whether or not your posting strategies are successful.  This is especially useful for companies and also journalists and the organizations to which they belong.

This does not mean, however, that each site uses analytics in the same ways.

Facebook measures engagement through likes/post reactions, comments, and shares.  Looking at Facebook’s insights will also tell you how many page views and page likes you have gotten as well as your reach and video views for a certain period of time.

Instagram’s analytics, at least according to this website, give businesses information about their followers, such as their age and gender.  Instagram also allows businesses to look at insights like Facebook’s.  Instagram’s insights let businesses see the number of times their posts have been seen, their reaches, how many website clicks they’ve gotten, and their followers’ activity.

Twitter’s analytics will tell you, whether you are a business or not, how many times you’ve tweeted, how many impressions you’ve received, how many times your profile was visited, how many mentions you got, and how many followers you have.  It will also tell you which of your tweets performed the best, which mention performed the best, and who is your top follower.

Analytics are important to social media managers because it tells them what kind of posts perform the best.  Obviously, social media managers want the most reactions and engagement they can possibly garner.  The same is true for businesses, except they may be more likely to want to get click-throughs to their websites, where they are selling their products.

As a journalist and someone who actually does post stories on QU Media’s Facebook page, I try pull something interesting out of the story I’m posting to compel my audience to follow its link and read the whole story on qumedia.net.  That being said, even if I can’t get the audience to click-through, I hope they can at least get enough of a gist of the story from the story’s headline, SEO description, picture, and tease I use on Facebook to interact with the post somehow.  I also try to pay attention to when I’m posting stories on Facebook so that I get more of my audience to see them.  However, that’s sometimes difficult for reasons I can’t control.  In addition, I’m not just targeting one group, like students; I’m also targeting their parents and alumni.

Personally, I think engagement is the most important analytic you can measure simply because you can’t get anywhere on social media, as a business or journalist, without having people interact with you, your posts, and your product.

Google Analytics, to me, seems to be a good company for measuring analytics because, whether you are a big or small brand, it can track your audience’s behavior and channel behavior across all of the sites and apps that your brand uses.  Google Analytics can also find potential audience members who may convert to your brand.

Analytics, though not always enjoyable, are an important part of online (or social media) presence.  Without them, how would you be able to determine if your posts were doing what you intended them to do?  You simply wouldn’t.

Quite honestly, I can’t think of something more effective than measuring likes, comments, shares, click-throughs, and reach on social media.  This is probably something that already exists somewhere, but it would be helpful to have separate measurements on original posts versus posts you’ve shared.  It would also be beneficial to be able to see the analytics from businesses or brands that are similar to yours in your insights.  You wouldn’t necessarily have to know the name of the businesses or brands, but you’d want to know how Brand A, Brand B, and Brand C performed compared to you and why.

To me, the “like” button is just a way for me to say I relate to content or posts.  It doesn’t necessarily mean I like what you posted, just that it means something to me.  I think Facebook’s reactions, like the sad or surprised faces, are better ways to measure exact attitudes of social media users.

Featured Image Source: http://www.greenbookblog.org/2014/04/25/why-has-social-media-analytics-met-with-limited-success-in-market-research/

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