Industry Insights

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What Digital Marketers Need to Know About Social Media Analytics

August 8, 2016

This post is contributed by Burtch Works’ web and digital analytics recruiting team.With the advent and subsequent explosion of social media platforms, the digital marketing world is continuing to expand. It is not too surprising, then, that many digital and web analytics professionals have taken notice of social media analytics and begun to wonder if this is something they should be adding to their skill set in order to remain competitive in web and digital. “What should I be learning about?” is one of the most common questions we hear from digital marketers.

A brief overview


Social media platforms have over two billion active users (Facebook alone has over 1.7 billion), and the numbers continue to climb for every demographic. The market for social media analytics alone, it’s estimated, will be worth $5.4 billion by 2020, and firms will spend 22.5% of their digital marketing budgets on social media in the next five years. We could go on and on with more incredible social media stats, but to keep it brief: this makes social media a prime marketing tool.Companies are now hiring entire teams to focus exclusively on social media marketing and analytics, which can include a Social Media Manager, Social Insights, Social Media Strategist, Social Media Web Analyst, Data Strategist, and numerous others. Most digital marketing and analytics teams are already folding social media into campaigns since it is such a huge exposure tool, but the tools and techniques to track and understand social conversations are still being developed.Since many of these tools track qualitative information and consumer sentiment, it is starting to blend the digital analytics and marketing research worlds as well. Social media can be a much faster and cheaper way to gather information than traditional survey research, but the full implications of social listening methods remain to be seen, especially for consumers who are not typically well-represented on social platforms.

Tools you should already know

  • Google Analytics – There are lots of free training options available, and the certification looks great on a resume!
  • Hootsuite/Sprinklr/Sprout Social – At least one social media management platform.
  • Social media campaign/analytics tools for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.

Tools that are popping up more

  • Brandwatch
  • Sysomos
  • Crimson Hexagon
  • Talkwalker
  • Netbase
  • Radian6
  • Simply Measured

Things to keep in mind

  1. The more the merrier – When it comes to tools, the more you are familiar with the easier it will be to translate your skills to a new position or role.
  2. Some experience is better than none – Having strong experience or a certification is obviously preferable, but even just knowing the basics on many tools is still a smart way to stay well-rounded.
  3. Look for free options – Many of these tools have free training options, so, if you have the clout within your current role, you could see if trying out a new tool is something you could do as a free experiment. This article from PCMag and this article from Keyhole have great outlines of many of the major social media management and analytics tools, as well as their features and pricing.
  4. Trends and tools evolve quickly – The “in” tools of today could very likely be the “out” tools of tomorrow, so it’s incredibly important to keep learning in order to keep your skills fresh and current.

While social media may never be your focus if you are a digital marketer (SEO, SEM, media buyer, email specialist, etc.) or web analytics guru (Adobe analytics, tagging, etc.) it’s always something to be aware of, especially since these fields are so integrated. At the very least, having a cursory knowledge of social media analytics and measurement will help you communicate better with the members of your social media team!Curious to see whether we have any roles that fit your experience, or looking to hire web and/or digital analytics experts for your team? Feel free to connect with us!

Learn more about the top 2019 trends in the digital and web analytics space – as well as their implications for professionals and employers – in the video below!