Data analysis and reporting are becoming increasingly important skills for social media marketers.

In fact, social marketers in a hiring position say that reporting ability was the number one skill they look for in candidates, according to the latest Sprout Social Index.

Why? Social data has the potential to unlock key insights into your target audience, support top-level goals and validate that your strategy is working.

As marketing leaders realize this potential more and more, they are placing a growing emphasis on the importance of marketers understanding and sharing their data. Fortunately, social media practitioners didn’t have to major in math or data science to create robust, informative and visually appealing reports. Sprout’s Premium Analytics is the most comprehensive way to analyze the performance of your organic and paid social efforts.

If you haven’t tried Sprout’s reporting options yet, start a 30-day free trial to get hands-on experience.

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Premium Analytics can be added to any Sprout plan and, in addition to numerous out-of-the-box reporting options, it includes access to an advanced Report Builder. This tool lets you quickly create your own custom reports that align with specific business needs and track your most valued social data. With the ability to customize and reorder widgets that use data already available in Sprout, marketers can arrange their report to tell whatever story they’d like.

If you’re not quite sure where to start, this article will highlight some of the most popular custom reporting options in Sprout, how to use them and why our customers love them.

If you want to learn more about Facebook performance, you’re in good company

With almost 2.5 billion monthly active users on the platform, Facebook continues to be the most used social platform for both consumers and marketers. That trend doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. In the 2020 Sprout Social Index, we found that 74% of social marketers and 68% of consumers said they planned to use Facebook more in the coming year.

That popularity carries over into Sprout customers’ custom reports. Over 50% of all custom reports include five of the Facebook Profile sections: Top Messages, Engagement, Profile Summary, Audience and Impressions.

While users can also find these sections in the default Facebook Pages Report, customizing helps narrow in on the data that matters most. Sprout customers can either build a report from scratch or simply duplicate and edit to remove any unwanted widgets.

If you want to assess your best-performing content, use Top Posts widgets

Every social marketer wants to know what content resonates with their audience most, and Sprout customers are no different. Top Posts widgets for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are used in custom reports by more than 50% of report builder customers.

For each profile, the default report includes a section that contains a postcard-type breakdown of the Top Posts. Additionally, in the cross-channel Post Performance Report, users can see a table of metrics for every post published during the reporting period. But rather than jumping back and forth between each profile, customers building their own custom reports can see all their top performing content all in one place.

Top Posts are typically measured by engagement metrics, but with Premium Analytics, you can choose which metrics indicate successful performance. If you’re curious about additional post metrics like impressions, average reach, video views and more, each of these widgets give you the option to “View Post Performance Report” with a simple click of a button.

If you want to compare paid vs. owned content, there are widgets for that too

When you put money behind content or a campaign, it’s important to track your return on that investment. Sprout’s paid reporting options let you easily evaluate the success of paid social campaigns executed through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Not every campaign has the same goal, but Sprout users can narrow in on specific KPIs with a tabular view and find their top campaign by video views, conversions, impressions, engagement and more.

The Premium Analytics Report Builder unlocks the capability to compare and contrast organic and paid content. Of the customers who use the Report Builder to analyze paid social, 95% include paid and owned report sections giving users a chance to see performance side by side.

If your data needs context, use text widgets to give your reports a narrative

One thing we know for sure is that social data says a lot about your audience, your content, your brand and so much more. For some social teams, however, data stays in social, which is a missed opportunity for the rest of their business.

According to the Sprout Social Index, 43% of social marketers want to increase their influence internally, especially among sales teams. If you translate raw data, connect it to top-line business metrics and tell a story so that everyone understands the impact, your leaders will take notice. As you build your custom reports, leverage the Text Asset widget to provide further context, shape your narrative and draw attention to the data that will blow your leaders away.

If you don’t have a reporting system in place where you can walk people through your reports section by section, or you send reports via email, annotations can be eye-catching and effectively communicate the key data teams outside of social would want to know.

You’re in control: Make reports work for you

There’s no one way to create a perfect report. If you really want to, you can add up to 100 widgets for each report, but the average for our customers falls between five and 10 widgets in each custom report, with six being the most common. It’s all about finding what works for you. 

While most Sprout customers will leave the widgets as-is once they’re pulled into the report, some prefer to hide charts and callouts. This may help users create a more data-centric, scorecard view of their content. For others, the visualizations may prove more effective in showing, rather than telling how content performed.

If starting from scratch seems intimidating or you really love any of the default reports but want to customize them slightly, just duplicate the report you want to start with and edit it. This option gives you increased flexibility and control to bring forward the most important insights.

No matter what metrics, platforms or charts matter to your brand, there’s a way to build a report that’s unique to your needs. Sprout customers have used Report Builder to create over 11,000 reports and counting. Start building yours today!

Try Sprout Social for free with a 30-day trial. Already a customer and need help getting started with custom reports? Find more in-depth how-tos on creating custom reports here.