Understanding Social Media Analytics

Understanding Social Media Analytics


arnold on Nov 30, 2018

What do the Numbers Mean?

When social media first gained popularity, platforms did not provide any sort of measurement to understand how posts were received by followers. Now, every platform has some form of analytics for users to view who they are reaching, an especially useful tool for businesses who want to adjust their strategy for a targeted market.

Most times, online sources will use terminology such as impressions and engagements. Impressions simply mean the number of times an individual has seen a published message (photo, video, post, etc.). Engagements mean the number of times they have interacted with the message (Sprout Blog 2018). This is in the form of likes, favorites, shares, retweets, clicks, replies, and follows). Further, an engagement rate is the total number of engagements divided by the number of impressions (Sprout Blog 2018). The following provides what numbers mean on each platform.


Over 4 million businesses advertise their content on Facebook (Hainla 2018). Facebook Insights allows users to measure performance such as likes, page views, reach, etc. Facebook and Instagram also have similar analytic tools as they both report likes, reach, and engagement.

Facebook Insights

Post Reach– Post reach is the total number of people who saw a specific post; it tells the user how many people have seen the content posted over the last seven days.

Engagement – Engagements are likes, comments, and shares. Likes are further detailed into where they came from such as visiting the page directly or from a page suggestion. Further, it shows likes originating from mobile or desktop sources. All engagements are added together, and a higher number means more people will be shown future posts. Hide, Report as Spam, and Unlikes count as negative engagements, so they decrease the number of people who will see future posts (Seybolt 2018).

Visits– Page visits are the total number of times each of your pages are viewed. It can also tell you the total number of times visitors came to the page from a website outside of Facebook.

Posts– Facebook can tell you when people who have liked your page are active on Facebook and which posts are most popular based on their reach and engagement. The site also shows engagement stats of posts from pages your account follows; this allows businesses to have some sort of measurement for how well your competitors are interacting with similar audiences (Seybolt 2018).

Video– Facebook shows video views, how many times a video was viewed for at least 30 seconds and ranks top videos according to most-viewed.

People– People are broken down into gender, age, location, and language. People reached and the number of interactions are also tracked for the previous 28 days.


Instagram has over 25+ million business profiles worldwide. With over two million advertisers, most businesses see the platform as a beneficial source of sharing. 60% of users say they discover new products from Instagram, and this is due to the fact that over 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile daily (Instagram 2018).

Instagram has the option for users to switch to a business account which is where analytics are located. Some of the benefits for switching to a business profile is the ability to understand an account’s audience, create specific ads, and set up contact information in the profile’s bio.

Activity Tab

Instagram Discovery

The Activity Tab lets users see various interactions with their account. The number at the top is the total amount of interactions for one week and is broken down into days. The page also provides the number of profile visits within one week.

Discovery is also located under the Activity tab, and this is separated into reach and impressions. Discovery is the percentage of accounts that have seen your post but are not following you (Sehl 2018). Impressions are the number of times your post was seen, and reach is the number of unique views. This is useful for figuring out if new followers are seeing your content. The number counts users scrolling in their feed, clicking the profile to view a photo, and viewing content from a Direct Message (Thomas 2018).

Content Tab

Information provided under the Content Tab tells the user how many posts have been published for the week and a comparison of how many were published the week before. Content can further be broken down by photo, video, ad, etc.

Audience Tab

instagram audience

Under the Audience Tab, users are able to view demographics such as where most of their followers live, the percentage of their age ranges, and what “actions” have been taken on the feed. Followers can further be broken down into gender as well as the top five cities they live in (Thomas 2018).

Another useful feature is checking when followers are most active. Users can determine which days have higher activity, and activity levels can further be broken down into hours of each day.


With over 500 million Tweets a day, Twitter analytics can provide insights for how to effectively reach your audience. Analytics also guide what tweets receive the most engagement and at what time they should be posted.

Twitter Analytics

Monthly Summary– Twitter gives your business a Monthly Summary of follower count, tweet impressions, profile visits, and mentions (Sehl 2018). It identifies the top tweet, top follower, and top mention.

Tweets– Track engagements and impression over a specific period; you can also track promoted tweets.

Audiences– Check audience demographics and interests like age, gender, location, and behavior.


Businesses can discover what Pins people like, how much traffic they receive, and what people are Pinning. Pinterest is also a good way to track what competitors are doing by looking at what brands your audience interacts with.

Pinterest analytics

Pin Stats– Analytics show which Pins are most popular.

Impressions– Impressions are how many times your Pin has been shown in feeds and search results. More content earns more impressions (Mathison 2018).

Repins– How many times your Pin has been saved to a user’s board; this helps your business understand audience likes and what they consider to be valuable content.

Closeups– How many times people have tapped your Pin to take a closer look; this is a good measure of engagement.

Clicks– How many people looked at your Pin then clicked to your website; this provides an indicator of how well your Pin is driving people to your website.

Saves– How many Pinners have saved your Pin to look at later; this is an indicator that your business is creating valuable content.

Demographics– Audience insights; you can discover your viewers by country, gender, language, city, interests, boards with multiple matching pins, and other businesses your audience is interested in (Mathison 2018).


LinkedIn analyticsJust like other major social media platforms, LinkedIn allows businesses to track page views, unique visitors, career page clicks, and visitor demographics.

Visitors– Monitors traffic of audience and their demographics.

Updates– Track post reach and engagement such as followers or profile visits.

Followers– Track trends over time, demographics including industry and seniority data.

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