How Do You Choose a Third-Party Social Analytics Platform?

By Mike Metzler

October 16, 2021

The first question in any software buying journey is: why? There are three main benefits to using a cross-platform social analytics solution:

Why do you need a third-party social analytics platform?

A social analytics platform saves you time. 

With today’s tools, no one should ever spend more time collecting data than analyzing it. Manual analytics reporting is incredibly cumbersome. It includes going into the back end of each of the social platforms, pulling the analytics, and combining those results into a spreadsheet, all before you even have a chance to analyze. Depending on the number of social networks you post on and platforms you manage, this can take anywhere from a few hours to becoming a full-time job.

A social analytics platform can improve your content.  

It’s a mistake to leave your content strategy up to “gut feelings” on what works. Truly understanding what type of content performs best, on which platform, for different demographics can be a game-changer for your social media strategy. Additionally, a competitive social media analysis tool that allows you to benchmark your account against others using the same social networks in your industry gives invaluable insights.

A social analytics platform can drive your revenue. 

Social media posts have become an important revenue generator for many brands, whether you’re making money through ads or selling branded content. Branded content analytics give you the ability to sell more efficiently and report on your branded content. For a holistic strategy, ideally, a platform can measure paid as well as organic content. To learn more about making the most of your branded content with every individual post, click here.

Understanding your main motivations in purchasing new social media analytics tools will be vital in evaluating the solution and determining what is best for your organization.

Conviva Analytics Overview Dashboard On A Computer Monitor

What social platforms do they include?

Once you’ve determined that you need a social analytics platform, the next step is to confirm which social media platforms it measures. Not every solution covers every platform, so it’s essential to be sure the service includes anyone you use today or might want to use in the future. Platforms that can be included in third-party analytics solutions include:

  1. Facebook
  2. Real-Time Facebook Live
  3. Twitter
  4. YouTube
  5. Instagram
  6. Instagram Stories
  7. Snapchat Organic
  8. Snapchat Discover
  9. TikTok

How are campaign reports handled?

Practical social media analytics tools feature campaign functionality at the core of their software platforms. Campaign reports allow you to tie different cross-platform posts into one report to see the true impact with total and average engagements, views, impressions, and other key metrics. Investigate the methods for creating campaigns within the software to determine its full functionality and ease of use. Some questions to ask while evaluating a campaign tool:

  • What key metrics are included in campaign reports?
  • What are social media platforms included in reports?
  • What is demographic information included in reports?
  • Do you have automated tagging?
  • Do you have scheduled exports?
  • Do you have excel and pdf exports?
  • Are reports updated automatically as new content gets posted?
  • Can campaigns include paid and organic content?
  • Can we include Instagram Insights and Stories in our campaign reports?
  • How do branded content reports differ from traditional reports?

For a greater understanding of how an effective social media analytics tool should handle their reporting, click here.

Do the analytics platforms have a partnership with the social platforms directly?

Icon Of Facebook And Conviva Leaders Shaking Hands

Third-party analytics services can have varying degrees of partnership with the platforms. These can range from official platform partnerships to no agreements with the social platforms at all.

For example, Conviva is an Official Facebook Media Measurement Partner. This means our customers get access to platform-validated metrics, rich competitive-intelligence industry data, and more robust social analytics than what is typically available through Facebook or Instagram’s standard analytics API.

Being a Measurement Partner means a company’s analytics are thoroughly vetted for accuracy. The company’s employees are knowledgeable, experienced, and successful at helping brands succeed in that specific social media channel.

At the other end of the spectrum, some solutions have no agreement at all and do what is referred to in the industry as “scraping.” Data scraping is a technique in which a computer program extracts publicly available data from human-readable output. Data scraping is usually against most social media channels’ terms of service, introduces significant errors and other issues, so beware before using any analytics service that relies on “scraping” instead of collecting data through an official API.

What are competitive analysis features included?

It’s hard to be the best within your industry, but it’s even harder to stay the best. Understanding what content performs well in your industry and your competitors should be a key focus for any marketing team. Be sure to evaluate what types of benchmarks, rankings, and competitive analysis tools the service you are considering offers.

Please take a look at an example of how social media performance is measured here at Conviva with our Social Insights Platform.

Computer Monitor Showing Conviva'S Social Insights Platform

In what areas are they using social media analytics?

It’s one thing to tell your marketing team to choose a social media analytics tool. However, many teams are unsure what parts of their social media marketing could profit from this type of analysis.  The following are some of the critical areas:

Demographic Insights

Understanding who your target audience is is critical when you consider that it all begins with your viewers. Once you’ve got that, you can build a successful marketing strategy that can help you foster your audience and turn them into consumers.

Engagement Insights

An analytics tool that continuously analyzes each social media channel you own and surfaces top content, making sure your viewers find the content engaging is key. Are your followers enjoying video content, or images more? Are they more likely to comment on a Tweet with a link attached? A social media analytics tool with engagement insights will be able to address all of this and more. With engagement insights, you learn more about your audience and ensure they’re getting the content they want to say. That way you keep your audience happy, engaged and itching for more content. 

For a better look at how social engagement can increase your viewership and lead to more customers, click here.

Advertising Insights

If you’re spending a lot on advertising, but you’ve not got the results to show for it, then it’s time to reinvestigate how that money can be better spent. You must make intelligent investments and guarantee that every dollar you spend on social media will mark a return on your investment. Platforms like Conviva Social Insights allow you to look at the performance of your Facebook and Instagram Ads alongside all of your organic content. Understanding how paid and organic content work together is an important factor when building your brand on social media. For more information on the connection between paid and organic content, visit our white paper here.

These are just a few of the social media analytics tools that a platform can offer. You need to do the research in advance and determine what insights are best for your company.

How granular is the video data?

Video is some of the most compelling social content out there. The unfortunate truth about third-party analytics solutions is that not all platforms offer the same metrics. Some platforms, like Conviva, were built to provide comprehensive video insights, in addition to social insights, while others focus on only providing publicly available metrics. Some questions to ask when evaluating a social video analytics solution:

  • On what social media platforms can you provide video analytics?
  • Can you track impressions, 3-second, and 30-second views, and completed views?
  • Do you track view or through conversion rate?
  • Do you offer real-time, second-by-second, live video analytics?
  • What viewing habit and demographic information is available for video content?
  • Can you provide average watch time across multiple platforms?
  • Can you separate organic vs. paid views on a boosted video?

The Conviva Difference

Selecting the proper social media analysis tool is an investment that can pay off in creating better content and engaging your audience. For any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to one of our social specialists at Conviva using the VivaBot in the bottom right corner of this page or submit a request here.