Of all the social media networks, Twitter produces the largest volume of accessible data.
Every day, millions upon millions of tweets are posted in the form of advertising, customer complaints, political discussions, sports commentary and much more.
Twitter analytics cover a huge volume of data. The data have to be accurate, of course, but for social media analytics, Twitter offers volume that other networks struggle to match.
Naturally, this also makes analyzing the data a bit tricky—to do it well, you need good tools. Ideally, you get the most accuracy and most powerful analytics from a paid tool, but if you’re working for a smaller company or are trying to work out how social monitoring can benefit your business, free tools come in handy.
Let’s look at the top free Twitter analytics tools, along with views from industry experts. (Note: Many of these tools also have paid versions available.)
Twitonomy gives you your headline Twitter stats all on one page. It also gives averages, as well as useful stats such as retweets and mentions per tweet. You can see the times of day you tweet the most, as well as breakdowns of your most interactive followers. The recently introduced geolocation feature lets you know where your audience lives and works.
“Twitonomy App is by far one of the most valuable Twitter analytics tool I’ve ever used. … It gives you everything from mentions, replies, lists, most influential users, and even the time that you get the most engagement. The best part is it allows you to pull all of the data and put it into visual graphs. It analyzes your followers as well so that you can use the data to increase engagement.” —Jack Kosakowski (@JackKosakowski1), regional sales manager at@ActOnSoftware and social media advisor for Chill Puck.com
Twitter Analytics is Twitter’s own analysis tool, and one of the best things about getting data from the social network that produces them is that you can be pretty sure those data will be accurate. Twitter Analytics lets you see only data about profiles you own (so there’s no competitive intelligence here), but the breakdown into month-by-month top line stats helps you see exactly how you’re performing over time. You can also click on the “Tweets” tab to get a more in-depth view of how individual tweets have performed.
“Being a writer who spends every waking moment flitting between writing, researching and tweeting, it’s great to have such an easy and accessible tool. With Twitter being my biggest outlet for sharing content, it’s vital that I can see which posts are well-received and gain the most engagement so that I can more effectively alter my strategy regularly to meet the needs of my readers. With one click of a button you can see all the metrics you need, which is worth its weight in gold.” —Kerry Butters (@kesbutters), founder and CEO of markITwrite Digital
“Twitter Analytics gives you fantastic insight into your audience and the content they value most. It provides data on clicks, engagement [and] impressions and also offers demographic and interest data on your followers so you can get an excellent snapshot of who is connecting with you or your brand.” —Laura Click (@lauraclick), founder and CEO of Blue Kite Marketing
MentionMapp provides a different, more visual form of analysis than the other tools mentioned. Although there are numbers available, the real benefit is in being able to see both who is interacting with your tweets and who is interacting with the tweets of your top influencers. The effect is to create an influence map of both your own Twitter feed and those with whom you interact, which can help you optimize your Twitter activity. You can plug in any Twitter feed so you can get see the activity surrounding your competitors.
“Mentionmapp is an excellent network exploring tool to see how people are interacting and what hashtags they are using. Once logged [in], you can search for a specific Twitter user, and then you will see a highlighted map that shows a web on who they are engaging with and what hashtags they are using. This tool is a great asset when you want to find and follow social influencers in a specific industry. It can help you find a community around your product or service.” —Shane Barker (@shane_barker), digital strategist and social media consultant for shanebarker.com
We don’t usually include ourselves in these lists, but we received a comment about us from an influencer that we thought we’d share. Talkwalker is primarily a paid enterprise social media analytics platform, but we also have a free test version. We won’t talk too much about our tool here, but as a heads-up we’ve recently introduced a geolocation feature that’s available on both our free search and our paid platform.
“I’ve only recently started using Talkwalker, but I’ve been impressed thus far. Talkwalker gives you a lot of features for a free tool [Note: Talkwalker is primarily a paid tool that has a free test version.], and I love that you can look at different metrics such as sentiment, demographics, performance etc. I’ll be using the tool for researching other users as well as keeping an eye on my own Twitter account. I really like the visual layout as it provides a quick and easy way to check out various metrics without the need for working with complex data.” —Kerry Butters (@kesbutters), founder and CEO of markITwrite Digital
Foller.me is a handy analytics tool, particularly for those who work better with numbers and text rather than graphs or charts. Rather than offering the bar, line and pie charts that accompany most Twitter analytics tools, foller.me is more text based, with averages and statistics written out. As with Twitonomy, it lets you analyze the Twitter activity of any account—not just those you own—making it a handy tool for competitive intelligence.
“Foller.me is an exciting tool that will review a Twitter user’s profile and latest tweets and put them in ‘tag clouds’ so you review and see which are most popular. This extremely helpful when you are looking to grow your community and you want to find the influencers that might like your products or services. You can then engage and start a conversation know what that influencers like to talk about and when to engage them.” —Shane Barker (@shane_barker), digital strategist and social media consultant for shanebarker.com
Twitter is a valuable resource for all marketers, and the data available can help you understand the impact that your Twitter activity is having. Using these Twitter analytics tools you can make sure you’re never out of the loop.
Richard Sunley is part of the marketing and communications team at Talkwalker. A version of this article originally appeared on the Talkwalker blog.