social channel analytics blog

How many Twitter followers do you have? How many Facebook fans does your page have?

At the beginning, these were the stats that we all wanted to know. Clearly, since then things have moved on and nowadays there are a wide variety of social media metrics that marketers, comms professionals and even customer service reps keep track of.

But in the time poor world of modern business, collating and analysing this data can be time-consuming, especially when you’re trying to extract data from different sources and it’s not always clear which metrics you need to be looking at.

So here is a guide to how social media analytics can help you get the most out of your social media channels. And as the football (soccer) season has just begun in Europe, we’re going to use the example of Adidas, one of the largest sports apparel brands in the world, to break it down. All analysis was done using our specialised Talkwalker IQ App for Social Channel Analytics.

Follower Numbers Still Matter

First off, although Twitter isn’t just about follower numbers (particularly if those followers are a) fake and b) inactive) it certainly helps to have a big audience to tweet to in terms of generating engagement around your Twitter activity. It’s, therefore, important to keep track of follower numbers and growth to make sure you know how big your audience is and what is causing spikes in growth.

adidas followers breakdown

(Breakdown of Adidas’ follower growth on Twitter shows big spike on July 29th)

Looking at Adidas’ Twitter feeds (14 main non-regional Twitter feeds) we see a huge jump in follower numbers on July 29th. By clicking on the spike we can quickly see the reason:

follower jump breakdown

Although we can’t always know the exact reason why somebody has started following a particular Twitter feed, if a certain tweet has generated a disproportionate amount of activity, we can make an educated guess that this tweet has had a big influence.

Using this data, Adidas can get a better idea of what type of content is attracting more followers to their social media accounts and adapt their content strategy accordingly.

Track Owned vs Earned Coverage

For PR professionals, in particular, understanding the correlation between owned coverage and earned coverage is key as it shows the impact that your own activity is having on your audience. By visualising these statistics both in chart form and in actual numbers, you can track ratios between owned and earned coverage and use this ratio as an indicator of social media performance.

owned earned adidas

(Adidas’ Twitter channels generate a lot of earned activity, particularly in the week starting July 27)

From the graph above we can see that for big brands like Adidas, the owned vs earned ratio skews heavily in favour of earned when all Twitter accounts are looked at together. In this case, looking at the concrete figures may be more useful. We can quickly see for example that Adidas got more “bang for their buck” in the week of July 27th as compared to August 10th

By focusing in on the specific spikes, we can see exactly which types of content are driving earned mentions and create performance targets using owned to earned ratios over time.

Using Metrics To Find Your Best Content

Getting a broad view of your numbers is a good way of tracking performance but to make tangible changes to your social media strategy you need a bit more information. The following metrics gives you insights into how you tweet and what kind of tweets are having an impact:

tweets breakdown adidas

From this, we can see clearly that posts with photos perform best for Adidas and Adidas seem to be taking note with just under 65% of their tweets including some kind of image. On the flip side, Adidas are still producing a relatively high quantity of pure text tweets which generally don’t perform as well.

In terms of the top performing individual tweets, we can see that Adidas’ Twitter accounts are seeing success across several different feeds and with quite varied content.

On the side of earned activity, we can clearly see that Adidas Neo Label’s strategy of using a celebrity with a huge social audience has paid off at least in terms of generating engagements:

top 10 audience tweets adidas

(Over the last month, Selena Gomez’s social activity for Adidas has made a big impact for the brand)

Using these insights, Adidas can determine what is and isn’t working for their social channels and optimize overall social media performance.

Benchmark Multiple Accounts To Refine Your Activities

The previous examples looked at the totality of Adidas’ main Twitter accounts to measure overall performance but for Adidas’ social media team, just as important will be looking at how their different social channels stack up against each other. The below graph gives an indication of which Twitter accounts are delivering the most earned activity on a day by day basis over the last month:

adidas multiple twitter feeds

(Adidas Neo, Adidas Originals and the Adidas official feed have been the top performers over the last 30 days)

We can see that whilst Adidas Neo were boosted at the beginning of the month by Selena Gomez’ activity, Adidas’ official feed performed stronger in the middle of the period and more recently, the Adidas originals feed – which largely tweets picture of retro Adidas footwear – has been going strong.

With this data, Adidas’s digital marketing team can see which of their accounts are generating the most activity and which need to up their game. By correlating these graphs with campaigns dates, Adidas can also see exactly which social campaigns made the greatest impact.

It’s Not Just About Twitter

The focus so far has been on Twitter accounts but Facebook is just as, if not more important for some brands. Comparisons with other brands can also be made to get a better idea of how you stack up against the competition.

For Adidas and Nike their Facebook pages dedicated to football (soccer) are one of their most popular, with the Adidas Soccer page followed by over 20 million people and the Nike Football page followed by over 40 million people. But does Nike’s big advantage in fan numbers translate to having a more active Facebook audience?

Adidas Nike FB comparison

(The Adidas Soccer Facebook page has significantly outperformed the Nike Football page this month)

The answer as you can see is a resounding no. Adidas outperform their larger competitor by far on almost every metric. Of course these statistics are only over the last month, but given that this month has coincided with the start of the European football season, the results would no doubt be encouraging for Adidas’s social team.

With social channels becoming one of, if not the key way for companies of all sizes to reach and interact with customers and prospects, being able to understand and measure performance on these channels is critical.

If you have any other tips for using social media metrics to boost your social media performance, let us know in the comments below.