You probably don’t need me to tell you that social media can drive a ton of traffic to your site. But if you want to know just how much and how valuable that traffic is, you might need me to tell you about some social media analytics tools … which is good, because that’s exactly what this post is about.
These tools can help you better understand how much traffic and visibility your content generates via social media, which lets you refine and focus your social media marketing efforts.
To help you find the tools that are right for you, I’ll start off with some general purpose social media analytics tools and then dig into tools that are specific to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Ok – I fully admit that this one isn’t very sexy. That is, you’ve probably already heard of Google Analytics.
But the fact remains that if you want to track social media traffic from all the networks that you’re active on, Google Analytics is one of the best ways to do it.
As trendy as many of the network-specific social media analytics tools are, Google Analytics is still going to be your workhorse to actually analyze:
How much traffic your site gets from all social media networks
What the people who visit you from social media do when they’re on your site
There are all kinds of advanced reports you can set up to do this better – but If you’re just getting started (and haven’t completed the Google Analytics Academy, yet), your best bet is to use the reports under Acquisition → Social:
While you can always get more creative with custom dashboards and goals specific to your site later on, the reports in this section provide a solid foundation to monitor traffic from social media.
Pick this tool if … you have a website. Seriously, if you don’t have Google Analytics installed (or another similarly powerful analytics tool), you should go get that done before you continue reading this post.
It might be a bit of a stretch to classify UTM tags as one of the social media analytics tools. But I needed to get it on the list because it is one of the best ways to track traffic from a variety of different social media networks.
And it also builds on Google Analytics to offer more detailed functionality.
If you’re not already familiar, UTM tags allow you to pass extra information about a link to your analytics tool. They look something like this:
Everything that appears after the “question mark” just helps you track clicks to that URL – it doesn’t affect the actual page that you’re linking to.
Once you add UTM tags to the links that you share, you can view traffic and analytics reports for just traffic from that specific URL inside Google Analytics (or any other analytics tool that supports UTM tags).
That means you can segment any of your regular Google Analytics reports by traffic from each individual social media post, which is pretty dang cool!
For an easy way to generate UTM tags for your links (and an explanation of what each type of tag means), you can use this Campaign URL Builder tool (screenshotted above).
Pick this tool if … you want to track what visitors from individual social media posts actually do on your site and you’re already using a general web analytics tool that supports UTM tags (like Google Analytics).
Buffer is an all-purpose social media scheduling tool that also lets you view basic analytics for most of your social media content.
These analytics aren’t especially deep in comparison to many of the more specific social media analytics tools that I’ll cover in the following sections, but they are easily accessible for a quick glance at how your content is doing:
Pick this tool if … you want basic visibility and click tracking for posts on all your social networks. Plus, you get Buffer’s social media scheduling, too!
Bitly is a URL shortener…so why is it in a list of social media analytics tools? Because it’s also a super easy way to track how often the links that you share on social media are getting clicked on.
All you need to do is create an account and you can quickly spin up new shortened links as link while tracking each links clicks.
Pick this tool if … you just want an easy way to track how many people are clicking on the links that you share on social media. While you can accomplish something similar with UTM tags, Bitly will let you do it quicker and access click data faster.
For maximum results, combine Bitly with a UTM-tagged link for the benefits of UTM tags without the ugly UTM parameters showing!
2 Facebook analytics tools
Sometimes it seems like there are as many Facebook analytics tools as there are Facebook users, which means it can be difficult to narrow things down to a couple tools. For this section, I actually opted to keep things “in-house”. That is, both tools that I’ll recommend come from Facebook itself.
Because it comes straight from Facebook, they have plenty of data to share with you. In fact, many of the other Facebook analytics tool that you’ll come across basically just present the data from Facebook Insights in different ways.
And while there is definitely value in presenting data in a more usable way, there’s not necessarily any reason that you need to use those tools over the actual Facebook Insights tool.
Facebook Insights will give you a look at:
How many people your posts reach
How many clicks and engagements each post generates
While Facebook Page Insights is mostly concerned with what happens on Facebook, Facebook Pixel is concerned with what Facebook users do on your actual website after clicking an ad on Facebook.
Like Google Analytics, it’s a tracking code that you add to your website. Then, you can track conversions, create targeting audiences, and plenty more.
Pick this tool if … you’re running Facebook ads at any scale. Seriously – this one is like Google Analytics for Facebook. If you’re actively running Facebook ads, you should be using Facebook Pixel to track conversions and audiences.
2 Twitter analytics tools
These two tools can help you track both your own Tweets as well as how your content gets shared on Twitter as a whole.
The official Twitter Analytics tool gives you tons of helpful data about your own Tweets and Followers.
With it, you can quickly view:
How many impressions your Tweets get
The engagement rate for your Tweets
How many people click on a link in your Tweets
And if you’re interested in more than just traffic, you can also pop over to the Audiences section for a look at your Follower growth, as well as tons of information about the demographics of your followers:
Pick this tool if … you want to view stats about how often your Tweets get seen and clicked (and aren’t too fussed about what happened to that traffic after it left Twitter).
This tool gives you overall and pin-specific stats for how often your content gets:
You can view stats for both your actual Pinterest profile as well as your website, which helps you track how both are faring on Pinterest.
For example, with the official Pinterest Analytics tool, you can view the top-performing pins involving your website:
But the frustrating thing about Pinterest Analytics is that it doesn’t give you easy filtering options. That is, you can’t easily search for analytics on a specific pin. You can only browse through the pre-made lists.
Pick this tool if … you want a free way to be able to analyze helpful, but general, statistics for both your Pinterest account and your domain name.
If you were disappointed by the inability to filter results in the official Pinterest Analytics tool, Tailwind is the antidote to your disappointment.
That is, Tailwind puts Pinterest Analytics on steroids.
First off, it gives you actual filter options. For example, you can filter all pins from specific boards (including group boards) to find stats for specific pins:
Beyond that, you can also monitor general profile and domain stats. And one neat feature is that you can integrate Tailwind with your Google Analytics account for unified statistics.
The only downside? It’s not free like the official Pinterest Analytics tool. You’ll need to pay, starting at $119 per year per Pinterest account.
Pick this tool if … you’re willing to pay for deeper Pinterest analytics with more filter options. Plus, the Tailwind scheduler tool is worth it in its own right if you’re serious about optimizing for Pinterest.
Wrapping things up
There are a mind-bogglingly high number of social media analytics tools. And while some of these tools offer unique functionality that you specifically need, most of the time you can safely go with some of these tried-and-true social media analytics tools.
Beyond using Google Analytics and URL tracking as your analytics base, you can use network-specific tools to get a deeper look at each specific network.
At this point, most social networks offer their own quality analytics tool. But for more depth, you might also want to turn to some of the third-party tools I discussed.
No matter which tools you use, knowing more about how your content performs on social media can help you refine your marketing strategies and optimize where you focus your marketing efforts. Check out our guide, How to Track Social Media Analytics Like a Ninja.