Twitter analytics and knowing how to use them can change your social media game.

Whether it’s identifying which messages resonate, determining successful campaigns, or spotting holes in your customer service, the data at your fingertips can turn seemingly random social interactions into strategy-changing insights.

Not sure where to get started? This guide will help make Twitter analytics much more manageable for you and your team.

Table of Contents

  1. What are Twitter analytics?
  2. Who needs Twitter analytics?
  3. Which Twitter metrics can you track?
  4. How to pull your Twitter analytics
  5. How to use your Twitter analytics
  6. Additional reading and resources

What are Twitter Analytics?

“Twitter’s analytics help you understand how the content you share on Twitter grows your business.” – Twitter

But what are they?

Twitter analytics compiles all the behaviors and actions audiences take when they come across your posts or profile–the clicks, follows, likes, expands and more–and breaks down that data to help you track performance and refine your strategy.

This data is critical for understanding who’s interacting with your Tweets and how your account is performing overall. Even if you log in daily and generally understand how the account is performing, it’s essential to put numbers to those feelings.

Who needs Twitter analytics?

Anyone with an interest in how their Twitter account is performing should use Twitter analytics.

Check out how the Chicago Bulls use social data to take the guesswork out of what they do.

Analytics are most useful to those with a vested interest in Tweet performance and engagement rates. This means: practitioners, managers and agencies.

Compared to 44% of leaders, 54% of practitioners use data to understand their target audience. Those who are interested in building their brand – company or personal – will find Twitter analytics helpful in determining the type of posts that are most interesting to their followers.

Twitter analytics for practitioners

For practitioners, a campaign report helps you understand how well a Twitter campaign performed. Sent messages drill down to the singular Tweet level to see each Tweet’s metrics.

Track important metrics using templates or custom reporting options. Maximize positive outcomes by analyzing campaign results and content performance, plus more.

Twitter analytics for managers

Managers will find Twitter analytics helpful because it measures social ROI of paid and organic efforts and shows how well your team is performing simultaneously.

How quickly is your team responding and how can this be improved? An internal report provides you with actual average response times per user.

Twitter analytics for agencies

Finally, agencies can easily generate presentation-ready reports to easily send over to clients. No more cobbling together spreadsheets and graphs. Schedule these reports to send every week to take one more thing off your plate.

Keep clients happy with tailored, user-friendly reports. Build reports specific to business needs, personalize them with client branding and set up recurring report delivery to key stakeholders.

Which Twitter metrics can you track?

Let’s be honest, social media has its own language.

It’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed by mentions, hashtags, impressions, interactions and everything in between.

The bottom line is you can’t measure something you don’t understand. So here are some of the most important metrics that you’ll find within the native Twitter analytics dashboard and third-party Twitter analytics tool.

Impressions

The total number of times any user could have potentially seen a brand’s name or message.

Reach

The number of users who saw an impression of your post in their timeline.

Engagement

A Twitter user’s interaction with another user. This can come in the form of mentions, Retweets, favorites and new followers.

Engagement Rate

Engagement rates are metrics that track how actively involved with your content your audience is. Engaged consumers interact with brands through “likes” comments and social sharing.

The engagement rate is a metric often used in analyzing the efficacy of brand campaigns. People who spend time interacting with videos, updates and blogs are more likely to convert into paying customers. Engagement rates also have subset measurements like “sharing metrics” which highlight the impact of your word of mouth marketing.

Link Clicks

The total number of times a link was clicked in a Tweet.

Mentions

The total number of instances where a Twitter user that is talking to you, or about you, mentions you in their tweet.

Followers

The number of Twitter users that are subscribed to your updates at any given time.

Response Rate

Percent of inbound messages you respond to that warrant a response.

Response Time

The amount of time it takes your business to respond to inbound messages.

How to pull your Twitter analytics

We have an entire blog post dedicated to helping you choose the best Twitter analytics tools, so here we’ll show you how to pull your own Twitter analytics with the native Twitter platform and with Sprout Social.

Native Twitter Analytics

Twitter provides free analytics for all profiles. To access yours, click this link or follow the below steps.

Step 1: Log in to the profile you’d like to analyze and click the “More” button.

Step 2: Click the Analytics link.

Step 3: Start playing around with the data! The interface is intuitive enough to explore on your own, or keep reading the guide to figure out some more tactical ways to use the data.

Sprout Social’s Twitter Analytics

You may notice that throughout this guide we include several screenshots from the Sprout Social platform.

That’s because Sprout is a certified Twitter partner and our Twitter analytics software helps marketers get the most out of their data.

This PDF gives a glimpse into the Twitter analytics report you can pull with Sprout, or if you’d like to see a report with your own data, get started with a free trial of Sprout Social.

How to use your Twitter analytics

Your social strategy should be driven by data and Twitter analytics provide a limitless supply of information to create better content, reach new audiences and improve user experiences.

This section will show you how to turn Twitter analytics into actionable insights that inform new strategies and improve your presence.

1. Identify your best content

Look at all of the Tweets you’ve sent and identify which content has performed best. Use those insights to help you create content more likely to resonate with your audience.

This data is available within native Twitter or Sprout Social’s Sent Message Performance report. To find your Top posts, sort your Tweets by the metrics that align with your goals

Once you have your data, here are some things you can do to identify why these posts were so successful.

  • Find common themes in those top Tweets. Did the Tweet contain a hashtag, mention, or question? If so, think about including those in the future.
  • Were there particular days or times that seem to work best with your audience? If so, schedule around those times in the future.
  • Export your top Tweets and create a word cloud to more easily visualize messages that resonate.

2. Understand your Twitter behavior

Analyze your month-over-month Twitter behavior to identify trends in performance. Within native Twitter analytics this is your “Account Home” and it shows things like:

  • Tweet volume
  • Visits to your Twitter profile
  • The number of Tweets mentioning you
  • The number of followers you have

Within Sprout Social this is in the Reports tab under Twitter Profiles and shows things like:

  • Organic Impressions
  • Total Engagements
  • Link Clicks
  • Followers Gained
  • Twitter Publishing Behavior
  • Twitter Engagement Behavior
  • Twitter Audience Demographics
  • Twitter Stats by Profile

3. Analyze your competition

Track fundamental metrics for any Twitter Profile to compare against your own profiles. With a comprehensive view against your competitors, you can easily benchmark your efforts against the average of the profiles being compared.

Competitive reports aren’t currently in the native Twitter analytics, but can be pulled with a Twitter analytics tool like Sprout.

When you have enough data, analyze your competitors and think through how you can differentiate your presence. Think about questions like:

  • Are they growing faster than you?
  • When was the last time they posted?
  • Are there long spans of time between each post?
  • Do they respond to comments?

4. Report across multiple Twitter profiles

Looking at the performance of individual Twitter profiles is important, but you can also analyze multiple profiles at once if you have them. This provides additional data to help guide your strategy.

This is another thing you’ll need to use a third-party for as Twitter currently only allows you to analyze one profile at a time.

Analyze all of your Twitter efforts at a high level to get a better sense of your overall presence. Identify which profiles are out-performing and which need more love.

5. Analyze your Twitter followers

Get a better sense of your Twitter audience with their Audience insights tool.

In addition to the general age and gender demographic data that Twitter Analytics provides, it also gives insight into what your audience is interested in, their lifestyle type and more.

Combine this knowledge with knowing what kind of posts consumers want and you’ll have a perfect recipe for high-performing Tweets.

6. Identify advocates and Twitter influencers

Use Twitter analytics to find individuals in your network who are strong brand advocates or influencers to add to your current influencer programs.

Within native Twitter analytics, these individuals are called out as your “Top Follower” each month.

Or you can look at multiple months at a time with the Sprout Trends Report.

From there you can easily start adding more names and faces to your influencer marketing strategy.

7. Surface hashtag and topic trends

Adding hashtags or jumping on hot topic trends can be a powerful way to bootstrap your posts. But it’s critical those hashtags and topics are relevant to your brand.

We’ve written an all-in-one guide to hashtag analytics, including how to find and use them, so here’s just a brief example.

Below is the Sprout Trends Report for a fictional coffee company, which includes topics and hashtags frequently mentioned with the company’s handle.

This company is frequently mentioned on posts asking about “hours”, so they may want to make that info more accessible within their profiles or business listings.

This company is frequently mentioned with the hashtag “#perfectmorning” so adding that to their next post could drive higher engagement, impressions, etc.

8. Monitor keywords and hashtags over time

Not only can you surface the best topics and hashtags, you can track those keywords and hashtags over time.

Sprout’s Twitter Keyword report helps you analyze keywords and quantify total volume, average volume per day and growth as well as a sampling of those Tweets and engagements.

You’ll find information on the volume of each keyword, which the top accounts tweeted those keywords and a drill-down of metrics on each keyword. These reports are not only useful for creating new campaigns but also monitoring how well a campaign is performing.

9. Visualize Twitter Campaigns

Are you and your team creating entire Twitter campaigns? Those can be tracked with native Twitter analytics or Sprout Social.

While Twitter’s campaign tracking focuses on paid campaigns, you can track both organic and paid with Sprout.

Tag each outbound or inbound social media message with a single or multiple campaign designations. Take the example “Winter Campaign” below.

Then track the entire campaign success within a single dashboard with metrics like:

  • Impressions
  • Engagements
  • Clicks
  • Average messages sent per day
  • Total sent
  • Average messages received per day
  • Total received
  • Growth trends

Conclusion and Additional Resources

Compared to other forms of marketing and communications, not to mention other business functions, it’s easy to adapt your social media tactics on the fly.

As your business changes and evolves daily, and there’s no need to feel locked in to a certain social strategy for months and months.

Analyzing your social performance regularly enables you to find out what works and what doesn’t which, ultimately, means you can make smarter business decisions. In a small business setting, being able to quickly pivot is always a plus.

Once you’ve aligned goals and determined which metrics are key for your business, it’s time to start tracking. Don’t let the numbers or seemingly massive amounts of data scare you—with proper preparation, the right tools and a few “best practices,” you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to tackling Twitter.