Digital Marketing Glossary

Social Media Analysis

What Is Social Media Analysis?

Social media analysis is the process of deriving data and insights from social media channels to maximize and improve performance. Brands evaluate their social campaigns’ contributions to hitting company-wide goals, such as engagement, brand awareness or sales from digital channels. The social team typically carries out social media marketing analysis. Because social media is a crucial element of digital brand growth, performance should be monitored at all levels of leadership — although the degree of specificity and types of metrics may be different. This article will teach you the common goals of social media data analysis, how to select the most beneficial metrics, the best practices for social media analysis, and how to ensure that your strategy achieves the balance of being both broad and granular.

The Importance of Social Media Analysis

Social media is increasingly taking center stage in brands’ strategies; however, as channels become more fragmented, producing accurate, actionable data is harder than ever. For brands to thrive in the ever-shifting social landscape, they must take a unified approach to collect social media insights and social strategy optimization. Social media objectives impact company-wide growth in that they’re directly related to revenue and sales. In building a social media measurement strategy, company goals must be at the forefront of determining which KPIs to track. To get a solid insight into the return on investment from social media, brands often attempt to measure too many metrics, and as a result, fail to fully optimize any of them. 

Top Metrics for Social Media Analysis

The concept of a North Star Metric is commonly used in product management and development circles; however, the concept also applies to marketing. A ‘North Star Metric’ is the key measure of success. It’s the singular most important metric to your brand in the long term. That’s not to say that other metrics aren’t correlated or essential, but drilling down on one (or two if you must) metric(s) ensures you’re correctly optimizing your approach. Social media objectives directly lead to company-wide growth in today’s digital-driven landscape. When building a social media measurement strategy, company goals should be at the forefront of determining which metric you choose to optimize for. That’s not to say that your key metrics can’t change, but by trying to optimize for too many elements, brands fail to optimize for any metric adequately. 

The following are some common North Star Metrics for different use cases and types of marketing teams.


Simply put, Reach is the total number of unique people who see your content. It is a great metric for new and growing brands to understand how much new exposure their brand receives. It’s also useful for brands looking to expand upon their target social media demographics or tap into new audiences.

Conversions and Link Clicks 

Conversions are the number of people who make a purchase from social channels. It can be measured based on link clicks from social media channels or Google Analytics to track sales directly. This metric is great for brands looking to drive sales from social media, or for whom e-commerce is a large component of their strategy.

Engagement Rate

Engagement rate is calculated as total engagement (likes + comments/followers). This metric best suits brands looking to build a strong social media community. Engagement rate is closely tied to brand loyalty.

Net New Followers and Follower Growth Rate 

This is the number of people that have followed you on a social media channel and is best for brands hoping to grow their audience and share of voice. As with engagement, followers are closely related to brand loyalty. The follower growth rate metric is particularly useful because it allows you to monitor your trajectory over time.

Effectiveness Rate 

Effectiveness Rate is for brands that leverage both video and static content. Effectiveness Rate is a custom metric created by Dash Hudson that marries reach, engagement rate and other factors. It’s designed to be a more holistic measure to determine overall success.

Analyze Content To Improve Performance

High-level industry trends are significant, but it is equally important to understand how a brand’s content impacts overall goals. It is often easier to focus on high-level metrics rather than on the content itself; however, each piece of content is an opportunity to optimize performance and can impact global goals. A granular analysis is often overlooked by brands, largely because it’s challenging to do manually. Both visual elements such as resolution, color story, framing and written aspects like tone, calls to action and hashtags can drastically impact content performance — and insights on these elements can’t be gleaned from a top-line analysis. Brands must segment their content appropriately to identify trends and optimize daily content, leading to overall solid performance.

Streamline Your Access to Data

One of the most challenging components of the analysis of social media is getting access to reliable metrics in a scalable and streamlined way. Many brands are still relying on the channels themselves for data, resulting in hours spent calculating and consolidating metrics. An analysis is then conducted in spreadsheets. This lack of consolidation leaves brands vulnerable to human error and without adequate access to the insights needed to make critical strategic decisions. By utilizing an automated social media analysis tool, teams can glean insights across social channels and save time. Additionally, this ensures that strategic decisions are based on accurate, reliable data. 

Dash Hudson empowers brands to make smarter social decisions by helping them access all the data points they need to make significant strategic moves. Dash Hudson customers use our social media analytics and monitoring tools to identify high-level trends, Boards to segment their content to determine which content drives results and more.


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Why should I use a social media management tool if I can obtain data from native analytics on each channel?

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While you can obtain data directly from social media channels, it’s incredibly time-consuming to track down specific metrics on the native platforms. Additionally, a platform will typically calculate metrics like average engagement rate and help showcase data trends, which would need to be built in Excel manually. Dash Hudson, in particular, allows brands to identify trends in content pillars and visual media to optimize their content strategy — something that would be grueling, if not impossible, to do manually.

What are the best social media metrics to track?

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Which social media metric you want to track will depend entirely on your marketing and company goals. In the modern digital landscape, social media is often the first interaction a potential consumer has with your brand. As such, your social media metrics should be chosen with your global goals in mind.

How do I streamline my social media analysis?

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There are a few ways to streamline your analysis process. Firstly, ensure that you can access your social data in a centralized place. Secondly, regularly audits your social strategy to stay on top of performance in real-time. Finally, don’t try to optimize for every metric. Instead, select metrics that will help your brand hit global goals and work toward optimizing those.

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