Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
If you’re on Twitter, there’s a good chance you’re trying to get more followers, retweets, and favorites. Maybe you’re the social media marketer at a company. Maybe you’re trying to a develop a personal brand. Or you just want to get some free stuff.
Whatever the reason, you want to get more traction — and Twitter analytics can help you get it. Here’s why those analytics are so helpful, what you should look for, and how to find it.
How Twitter Analytics Can Help You
People define social media success in a number of ways. But on Twitter, success is usually measured by followers, retweets, and favorites. And if you understand what it is that your followers like, you can concentrate on what’s working.
For example, if you find that your tweets about smartphone photography are getting a lot of retweets, you could tweet about that more. Or you might see that more people interact with your tweets in the morning. You could tweet more during those times and see more engagement.
You can also get a better idea of who’s following you to see what they might be interested in. If you have a lot of followers from a specific country, for example, you could tailor your tweets to them.
In short, good Twitter analytics helps you better understand what’s working and what’s not. The more information you have, the better. And there are a lot of great free tools that can help you figure it out.
Know Your Tweets
The first place you should go for Twitter analytics is, unsurprisingly, Twitter. The analytics dashboard at analytics.twitter.com has some really good information that you can put to use. The first thing you’ll see is a 28-day summary of your tweets, impressions, profile visits, mentions, and followers.
Each stat is compared with the previous 28-day period, so you can see if your stats are improving. You’ll also see your top tweet and top mention for the current month. Both of these are very useful for figuring out what your audience is engaging with. You can scroll down to look back over the top tweets and mentions for previous months, too. Any patterns you see here can influence your Twitter strategy going forward.
Clicking over to the Tweets tab gives you even more detailed information on specific tweets. The engagement rate is an especially useful statistic. It’s simply the number of engagements (likes or retweets) divided by the number of impressions (how many times someone saw the tweet), but this gives you really useful information about what your followers are interested in seeing. High-engagement tweets are going to further your reach and influence.
These are rather basic Twitter analytics, but they’re extremely helpful.
Buffer is also a useful tool for seeing which tweets are getting the most traction. You’ll have to schedule your tweets through their platform to get this information, but scheduling social media posts is a great idea anyway.
Buffer will show you the potential reach of your post, as well as the clicks, likes, mentions, and retweets that it got. All of these are great measures of engagement.
Buffer’s Optimal Scheduling Tool is another great way of looking at how your tweets performed. It analyzes engagement at different times of the day and helps you set up a tweeting schedule around those times. If you’re posting at the right times, your tweets are more likely to be seen by your followers. Just enter the number of times you’d like to tweet per day, and Buffer will automatically schedule your tweets at the times when they’re most likely to be successful.
Understand Your Followers
The Audiences tab of Twitter’s Analytics dashboard is especially useful when you’re trying to understand who your followers are. The Lifestyle section, for example, shows the interests of your followers. As you can see below, most of my followers are interested in technology and business — so I could tailor my tweets to appeal to those interests.
Combining this information with that on tweets that have performed well will give you a really good idea of what’s likely to appeal to your audience.
If you want to find even more detailed information on the people who follow you, there are a few good choices. Followerwonk is a great place to start. Powered by Moz, Followerwonk is a freemium Twitter follower analysis app. To use it, just create a free Moz account. Once you have access, head to the Analyze tab, and enter your Twitter username in the box. Select “analyze their followers” in the dropdown and hit Do it.
Followerwonk will deliver a detailed breakdown of your followers. One of the most useful pieces of information is the graph below, which shows you when your followers are most active. If you’re looking to reach people with your tweets, use this as a guide to when you should tweet.
The bio word cloud is another good tool that shows you what your followers are interested in. Of course, this is a simple measure, but it’s much easier than going through each of your followers and trying to infer what they want to hear about.
At the bottom is a series of pie charts that show the breakdown of your followers by specific criteria. Social authority, follower counts, recency of last tweet, total tweets, and so on. The social authority breakdown is especially useful, as it shows which of your followers are the most influential. If you want to get your tweets in front of a lot of people, these are the followers you should be targeting.
SimplyMeasured is another tool you can use to get information on your followers. It displays many similar statistics, but also has some different breakdowns that you might find useful. For example, you can see your Klout score (which may or may not be useful) and the average Klout score of your followers compared to the worldwide average. Each user is also assigned a topic for their clout.
You can also see a list of your most influential followers with follower counts, Klout score, number of tweets, and — perhaps most interesting — the topics that they tweet about.
This is a lot of information, but you can put it all to good use when you’re trying to level up your social media presence. And there are other tools out there that will give you more information. Both FollowerWonk and SimplyMeasured have paid plans that give you even more details.
Hashtags are a big deal on Twitter. They can range from jokes to social campaigns, and they reach millions of people. If you’re trying to boost your social media presence, understanding the hashtags your followers are using — as well as the ones you’re using — can be a big help.
Unfortunately, the best hashtag-tracking tools require subscriptions. However, there are a few tools you can get basic data from for free, and Keyhole.co is one of them. Here, we’re looking at the hashtag #remotework.
You can get a snapshot of this hashtag over the past six days (approximately). More importantly, though, you can see who the top influencers are that are using this hashtag. You can see the top posts by retweets and likes or by Klout score of the user, both of which are good ways to see who’s talking about a topic you’re interested in.
Seeing the word cloud of related hashtags can also give you an idea of what else people are talking about. In our example, #digitalnomad is very popular, and #travel, #freelance, and #futureofwork are also getting used quite a bit.
You can also see the most influential users that are talking about your topic. You can sort them by engagement, Klout, or the frequency with which they tweet using your chosen hashtag.
Other hashtag-tracking services are available. But Keyhole, which is itself somewhat limited, offers more free stats than most of them. If you’re really serious about your Twitter game, paying for one of these services might be worth it. Otherwise, stick to basic hashtag search and the information you can get from Keyhole.
See Which Topics Are Buzzing
While you probably already have a good idea of what you’re going to be tweeting about, you can always optimize. Buzzsumo is a tool that helps you see what people are sharing on social networks. Just enter a topic, and you’ll see the top shared content. The free version will only show you the top 10 results and limit your searches per day, but it’s still extremely useful.
You can also sort by network to focus on Twitter shares. While many of the top shares will likely be there because they’re from popular sites, you may see some patterns that you can take advantage of in your own tweeting. If people are sharing a lot of things on a specific topic, you can be sure to include that topic in your posts. Not all of the results on Buzzsumo will be recent, though.
Trends24 focuses on what’s trending now. It’s a great place to see what people are talking about. Just head to their website, select your country from the dropdown list (or look at the worldwide results), and you’ll see what’s popular. Trends24 displays both hashtags and non-hashtagged topics, giving you a good picture of what’s popular at the moment.
You can even narrow it down by city or state to see what locals in your area are tweeting about.
Step Up Your Social Game With Twitter Analytics
Not everyone needs to use Twitter analytics. But if you want more engagement with your tweets, further reach, and a strong presence, they’re absolutely invaluable. Understanding which of your tweets are the most effective, getting a better idea of who your followers are, and seeing what people are talking about on Twitter will help make your tweets as valuable as possible.
Which Twitter analytics do you use? What types of things do you monitor? Let us know what we missed in the comments below!