Complete Guide to Social Media Analytics

John Beaton
March 25, 2022
Last Updated On
December 21, 2022
social media analytics

In today’s fast-moving social media scene, social media analytics are a marketer’s best friend, and they enable you to focus on the right things at the right time. Social media analytics are the difference between posting on social media and hoping it performs well, versus strategically structuring your social media strategy to post content that you know will perform well. Dash Hudson has laid out everything you need to know about social media analytics so that you can fine-tune your strategy to perfection.

What are Social Media Analytics and Why are They Important for Brands?

Social media analytics are the metrics provided by social media channels that give you insight into how your content is performing. These metrics are that allow marketers to determine what types of content work best for their brand, and focus their efforts on the content pillars that they know will drive success.

As for what success looks like in the social media analytics marketing process, it varies by brand and the key performance indicators (KPIs) that they have set. Some brands may value engagement rate, while others may value users saving their content. Many brands are now using their social feeds as an extension of their e-commerce platforms, and they are now measuring direct sales as a primary KPI.

For industry averages of KPI performance, including average owned reach, average saves, and average engagement rate, read Dash Hudson’s social media benchmarks, which are regularly updated with the latest numbers to help you build your strategy.

What Are the Most Important Social Media Analytics?

Understanding social media analytics has a learning curve. There are a large number of metrics that social channels can report out, and some metrics that are proprietary to certain social media marketing tools. The usefulness of these metrics is truly up to what you are hoping to accomplish in your social media campaigns.

Some of the most common social media analytics include:

  • Reach and Impressions: people who have viewed your content
  • Likes, Comments, Shares, Retweets, Link Clicks: various engagements with your content
  • Engagement rate: the rate of engagements you’ve received based on your number of followers, which determines how well your content is performing

Dash Hudson gives brands insight into their effectiveness rate, which determines how your content performed based on its reach, rather than your number of followers. This is important, as brands with a high number of followers will naturally see diminishing returns in their engagement rate, and effectiveness gives a true picture of how your content resonated with those who saw it.

Tip: effectiveness rate is calculated as follows: likes + comments + saves + video views / reach

TikTok Analytics

Top social media analytics to track:

  • Video views
  • Profile views
  • Traffic source
  • Followers

As TikTok is a newer social channel, there are not as many proprietary metrics from social tools to determine the performance of content, however they will likely emerge as TikTok marketing strategy becomes more important.

Instagram Analytics

Top social media analytics to track:

  • Reach and impressions
  • Engagement
  • Profile visits, follows, and shares
  • Website taps, profile actions, and saved content
  • Video views

Instagram is one of the biggest social channels in the world, and with its many features, including Instagram Stories and Reels, there are a lot of analytics for marketers to track. For this channel in particular, it is important for marketers to set overarching goals for their Instagram presence, which could be driving sales through static imagery, using stories to build customer loyalty, and using Instagram Reels to entertain, as an example. Getting granular with what you hope to accomplish will allow you to get very targeted with your content to drive Instagram growth.

Facebook Analytics

Top social media analytics to track:

  • Engagement rate
  • Page Likes and Followers
  • CPC and ROI on ad spend

Facebook has one of the most sophisticated in-feed advertising structures, and many marketers will be spending the bulk of their time poring over sales performance metrics, such as the return on ad spend, versus organic insights. However, it is still important to keep a pulse on your basic KPIs to measure the success of your organic strategy, especially as Facebook introduces features like Reels, and the types of content that users engage with most shift in the era of social entertainment.

Pinterest Analytics

Top social media analytics to track:

  • Engagement
  • Saves
  • Top-converting pins
  • Outbound clicks
  • Demographics

Pinterest is a visual discovery channel for your brand’s products and services. Its focus on feeding your content into its engine means that analytics are all the more important. If your content isn’t being discovered by anyone, you are missing out on valuable sales opportunities.

Dash Hudson’s social media analytics tool offers content segmentation with its Boards tool (not to be confused with Pinterest Boards), which allow marketers to identify common themes, visual trends, and pillars for their content, which helps tremendously with measuring campaign performance and benchmarking KPIs for your various Pinterest initiatives.

YouTube Analytics

Top social media analytics to track:

  • Impressions CTR (people who saw your thumbnail and clicked through to watch your video)
  • Views and comments
  • Watch time
  • Average view duration
  • Demographics, geography, and top devices used
  • Subscriber status, source, and growth rate
  • Likes and dislike, including the like to dislike ratio

YouTube, being a video-driven channel owned by Google, offers the largest selection of analytics for marketers to digest. It can be daunting to see how many indicators can be tracked, however, it also offers you the unique opportunity to optimize your video content to perfection, down to optimizing thumbnails and getting your video length just right.

Twitter Analytics

Top social media analytics to track:

  • Top tweets
  • Engagement rate
  • Link clicks
  • New followers
  • Top followers and mentions (which can be valuable for developing a UGC strategy)

Don’t let Twitter’s text-based format fool you—there is a lot of nuance to measuring social media performance on the channel, especially as it is a top driver of user-generated content. Twitter gives you insight into your most impactful followers and brand mentions, which are leading indicators of influencers or creators that your brand can leverage to expand your reach. Content doesn’t get any more shareable as it does on Twitter, with the retweet button acting as a one-click solution to sharing UGC, and marketers should be paying attention to their mentions in order to stay on top of opportunities for content to amplify.

How to Access Your Social Media Analytics with Dash Hudson

There are two primary methods to access social media analytics for your brand: through the native platforms, and through a tool such as Dash Hudson.

Social media reporting tools allow you to access all of your analytics from one destination, which will save you a lot of time spent reporting on how your analytics are performing across channels. The social media managers at Free People save 3 hours every single week just in reporting time by using Dash Hudson. Read the case study to learn more.

For organic insights, you are able to find analytics in the following destinations:

  • TikTok: the menu in the top right corner will give you access to Creator tools, which gives you high-level analytics meant for influencers; switching to a business account will give you deeper insights
  • Instagram: if you have a business account, you can find analytics by going into your profile and selecting the menu in the top right corner
  • Facebook: if you have a business account, your analytics will be visible to you by going into business manager or ads manager
  • Pinterest: your business account includes a built-in dashboard that gives you a high level overview of your account performance
  • YouTube: by going into your settings, you can view your account performance, including metrics for each individual video and indicators about how it’s doing compared to your overall average performance
  • Twitter: if you use Twitter for Professionals, you are able to view analytics by going into your account settings

Beyond analytics, Dash Hudson offers versions of classic products like Scheduler, LikeShop and Boards. It steps above the pack with additional offerings like Vision, Relationships, Community & Sentiment Analysis and Dashboards. These unique features allow brands to get the absolute most out of their social marketing efforts and analytics.


What is the difference between impressions and unique impressions?

Unique impressions measure the number of individuals who view your content, while impressions measure the total of views, which may count an individual multiple times if they return to your content later on. Unique impressions are important in determining the overall impact of content, however, impressions can also determine if viewers return to content over time.

How do I track social media analytics?

There are a number of methods to track your brand’s performance over time, including exporting .csv spreadsheets from the social channels themselves and calculating performance by hand. Many marketers choose to use an analytics tool to take the manual work out of measuring performance so that they can focus instead on doing their best creative work.

How do I choose an analytics tool?

There are hundreds of options for you to choose from, including the in-app solutions that the various social channels offer. What it comes down to is determining the needs of your business, and finding an analytics platform that is a good fit for your strategy. Learn more about Dash Hudson’s social media insights to see if our tool is a good fit for your brand.

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