All About Analytics

All About Analytics - #TwitterSmarter chat with Jim Katzaman - April 30, 2020

Analytics is the core functionality of online marketing. Or to be precise, it’s one of the core functionality of marketing. Though we often associate analytics with SEO, SEM, and website or blog statistics, analytics is a pretty important functionality in social media as well. That’s why we invited, Jim Katzaman, an avid user and Twitter maven, to share his views about understanding and making the most out of Twitter Analytics.

Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Jim Katzaman
Topic: All About Analytics
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: How does Twitter’s analytics work?

According to proper definition, Twitter analytics tells you exactly how the content you share on Twitter is helping your business grow.

Like the analytics section on most social channels, Twitter’s also has a central dashboard from where you can access numbers about tweets and links you’ve shared. You can analyze your profile’s growth using monthly summaries as well as daily and weekly statistics.

As our chat participant Lisa pointed out, your analytics is a great way to identify what’s working and what’s not. Because the dashboard includes information like impressions, likes, and retweets for every single tweet, you get a comprehensive picture of your performance. What’s more, you also get additional details like click through rates, top performing tweets, and top followers that you can use to formulate your strategy accordingly.

To find your Twitter Analytics, click here:

Q2: What’s the difference between impressions and tweet counts?

Impressions are based on a particular tweet you posted and how it’s been received by your audience. The number depends on how many interactions it can generate on a feed.

The tricky aspect of impressions is that people often think it’s the number of times a tweet was seen. But that’s not the case. As Avery reminded us, accurately speaking, impressions reflect the number of times your tweet appears on someone’s feed when they’re online. A lot of us scroll through tweets without even reading or noticing them—and impressions include all of those as well.

In other words, stats like link clicks, detail expands, replies, likes, and retweets are all results of an impression.

The number of tweets, on the other hand, shows how many tweets you’ve posted all time. This doesn’t include replies, but does include retweets and quote retweets.

Q3: What is the meaning of “impressions” as defined by Twitter analytics?

What’s interesting about impressions is that initially, it depends on the number of people logged into Twitter and are actively accessing their feed when you tweet.

However, as our guest pointed out, there’re so many other elements that can help increase your tweet’s impression. For instance, if someone retweets it, the tweet’s reach extends to that person’s followers. The same goes for quote retweets. If you’ve tagged other users in your tweet, then their followers will see it too. If any of the people you’ve tagged replies to your tweet, then the impressions get another push.

Recently, with Twitter’s related tweets algorithm, if a fair number of your followers like your tweet, their followers will see the tweet as well.

And of course, impressions go up every time someone searches for the hashtag you’ve used, and finds your tweet.

As Avery did for the previous question, Sab made the distinction quite clearly as well. Total impressions indicate the number of times your tweet was displayed on someone’s feed. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve seen it or engaged with it.

Sprout Social has a great article about impressions and why you should care about them. Check it out.

Q4: Why is it important to know your audience?

One of the best things about analyzing your performance is that you learn when exactly your audience is online. Knowing this can help you schedule tweets at strategic times, targeting various groups of your audience.

Take Jim for example. Until recently, he didn’t post any tweets outside of his regular day. Why would he? Who’d be reading tweets well after midnight? Well, turns out Jim had developed quite an audience in the Philippines and Africa.

Having learned that from his analytics, Jim now schedules tweets to go out before dawn, because that’s the day time for that specific audience. And because the tweets are timed so well, he gets a lot of impressions and engagements from those 2 am tweets as well.

That’s why it’s so important to know your audience. After all, as Joana told us, knowing who you’re talking to can help you identify the right content and an appropriate tone for your messages. Effective communication is the key to building a community.

Q5: Do other platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Medium have analytics?

Of course. But if you’re an individual user, you have to manually count the likes and engagements. If you write articles and posts on LinkedIn, you can still see the number of views on your posts, but you don’t get much more insight.

As our guest explained, Medium’s statistics can be quite confusing. It’s often unclear why your content has or hasn’t performed well.

On the flip side, however, as Christine pointed out Facebook’s page analytics is super thorough. And it’s not surprising either, with the amount of data they collect and the ads that show up on the platform. On Instagram, you get complete analytics only if you have either a Business or a Creator account.

Clearly, Twitter’s the only platform offering in-dept analytics for free.

Q6: On Twitter Analytics, why are the stats for tweets and impressions sometimes flat?

And now we enter a gray area. If you’ve been on Twitter for long and you’ve been observing your analytics, you might’ve noticed that sometimes your statistics don’t seem right. Though Twitter hasn’t officially given a reason, Jim explained what he experienced.

About a couple of years ago, tweets and their statistics started to disappear from the analytics dashboard.

However, not long afterwards, they all reappeared. According to Jim, this was about the same time they were updating their algorithm and transitioning from 140 to 280 characters. It’s possible that it could’ve been an issue on Twitter’s side during the changeover, but no one can tell for sure.

Madalyn also confirmed the phenomenon. She’s had the same experience a few times and every time, the analytics came back fine.

So the lesson from this question? If you open up your analytics today and see a flat line for your monthly stats, don’t panic. It’ll all come back in due course.

Q7: How often should you check your Twitter analytics?

Listen to Jim, y’all. He knows what he’s talking about when he says understand why you’re checking your analytics in the first place. If you’re a marketer, you may be looking for stats that validate your tweets, your campaigns, and even experiments you’re making.

If, like our guest, you’re checking analytics just because you’re curious, then make sure you learn something from it. Jim told us how he usually dives deep into his analytics, so much so that he always has analytics open, checking his tweets’ performance in real time.

If you need peace of mind, then go ahead and do what you must—even if it’s a bit obsessive in others’ view.

There’s no right answer to this question. Some of our community members don’t ever check their analytics. And even though they missing out on some important information, they still engage in real time, so much so that they know their community quite well. Some others, like Jim, check analytics all the time.

As our friend said, how often you check your analytics also depends on how frequently you tweet. Not everyone posts ten tweets a day, and similarly, not everyone has a thronging community of followers who engage on multiple tweets throughout the day.

Generally, if you’re a marketer or a business person managing your brand handle, it helps to check your analytics at least once every month. That way, you get a fairly decent view of how you’re doing.

Q8: What is a good engagement rate, and is it trustworthy?

Your engagement rate is the number of engagements on a tweet divided by its impressions.

Of course, some tweets—like videos, GIFs, and images—get more engagement than others. That said, an average of 2 percent engagement rate seems to be a good benchmark.

As for trustworthiness, you decide for yourself. As Jim illustrated, a tweet from a highly influential host of a Twitter chat got one like and no retweets. But it ended up getting 20,000 impressions.

In another situation, a tweet that had four retweets only made about 100 impressions.

As our friend shared with us, though a lot of articles and users would attest to varying engagement rates, what matters more is how genuine those engagements are. Image clicks, video plays, and tweet expansions are all engagements, but aside from these, link clicks, replies, quote retweets, and profile clicks are more quality engagements—they either extend your reach or establish a relationship.

Sure, numbers are enticing statistics, but don’t forget that we’re all playing the algorithm game on social media. It’s hard to pinpoint causes and cures for statistics.

Well, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading and for more insight from our chat with Jim, check out this Twitter Moment that Joana put together.

And if you’ve got some time next Thursday, join us at 1pm ET for our next #TwitterSmarter chat.


About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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