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

By Mike Metzler

November 16, 2020

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

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

Conviva Analytics Overview Dashboard On A Computer Monitor

  • It saves you time. With today’s tools, no one should ever spend more time aggregating data than analyzing it. Manual analytics reporting is incredibly cumbersome. It includes going into the back end of each social platform, pulling the analytics, and combining those results into a spreadsheet, all before you even have a chance to analyze. Depending on the number of accounts you manage and platforms you post on this can take anywhere from a few hours to becoming a full-time job.
  • It helps you make better 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 strategy. Additionally, a competitive analysis tool that allows you to benchmark your account against others in your industry gives invaluable insights.
  • It helps you drive revenue. Whether you’re making money through ads or selling branded content, social has become an important revenue generator for many brands. Branded content analytics give you the ability to more easily sell and report on your branded content. For a holistic strategy, ideally a platform has the ability to measure paid as well as organic content.

Understanding your main motivations in purchasing a new analytics tool will be key in how you evaluate the solution and determine what is best for your organization.

What social platforms do they include?

Once you’ve determined that you need a social analytics platform, the next step is confirm which platforms it measures. Not every solution covers every platform so it’s important to be sure the service includes any platform 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?

For social analytics tools, campaign functionality is at the core of the software. Campaign reports allow you to tie together different cross-platform posts into one report to see the true impact with total and average engagements, views, impressions, and other 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 metrics are included in campaign reports?
  • What platforms are included in reports?
  • What demographic information is 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 Stories in our campaign reports?
  • How do branded content reports differ from traditional reports?

Icon that shows the Social Insights product is tightly integrated with Facebook. Does the analytics platform have partnerships with the social platforms directly?

Third-party analytics services can have varying degrees of partnerships with the platforms 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/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, and the company’s employees are knowledgeable, experienced, and successful at helping brands succeed in social media.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are solutions that 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 platforms’ terms of service, introduces significant error and other issues so beware before using any analytics service that relies on “scraping” instead of collecting data through an official API.

Computer Monitor Showing Conviva's Social Insights Platform What competitive analysis features are 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 for your competitors should be a key focus for any social team. Be sure to evaluate what types of benchmarks, rankings, and competitive analysis tools are offered by the service you are evaluating.

How granular is the video data?

Example Of Conviva's Social Insights Dashboard & 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 offer comprehensive video insights while others focus on only providing publicly available metrics. Some questions to ask when evaluating a social video analytics solution:

  • What platforms can you provide video analytics on?
  • Can you track impressions, 3-second and 30-second views, and completed views?
  • Do you track view/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?

Selecting the right platform is an investment that can really 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.