Best social media analytics tools 2017: Eight of the best tools for social media analytics | Social media analytics software
Organisations want to know what their customers want, how they respond to social campaigns and what they can do to attract potential customers.
Social media is a great platform for testing new products, engaging with consumers, gaining a competitive advantage and complementing ongoing marketing efforts.
Social media analytics can provide a wealth of data that - if used right - can build brands fast and open up revenue streams that otherwise wouldn't have been available.
We look at some of the top platforms on the market.
1. Best social media analytics software: Crimson Hexagon
Aimed at the enterprise, Crimson Hexagon offers detailed and segmented analytics via an easy to use, robust dashboard.
Based on machine learning algorithms, Crimson provides live social monitoring, keyword and hashtag comparisons and interactive graphs and charts to illustrate basic social metrics.
Generally costing between £1500 and £2000 per month, Crimson is definitely pitched at businesses running multiple social media campaigns across numerous accounts. Notably, Crimson has worked with Starbucks, Twitter, Microsoft and Greenpeace.
Data collected by Crimson can be isolated into topics, geography, social channel, volume, demographics, affiliates and top sites (to name a few), that can provide detailed insights into audience growth, engagement and trending topic analysis.
One drawback is that Crimson only provides social monitoring for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so businesses using other channels such as LinkedIn or Pinterest might want to consider a different monitoring tool.
2. Best social media analytics software: Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a popular social media management program that, unless you've been living under a rock, you'll have heard of.
This software as a service (SaaS) social analytics tool offers 'social listening' and in-depth analytics while also providing a suite to publish and schedule tweets or posts.
Its social media analytics insights include metrics, detailed reports, and a live data stream for numerous social channels and accounts.
Starting at £7.99 per month, Hootsuite Pro offers populated data streams for each social channel, page view analysis, engagement reports and click statistics. Hootsuite also provides support for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Wordpress, Instagram and Youtube.
Interestingly, Hootsuite has made all of its APIs open source, meaning that a variety of useful integrations are now available, from CRM systems to collaboration tools such as Yammer and Microsoft Dynamics.
3. Best social media analytics software: Lithium
Following a similar layout to Hootsuite, Lithium offers social media analytics, campaign planning, content and posting recommendations and a global content calendar.
With Lithium, users can identify key social 'influencers', which essentially points them in the direction of important people to engage with on their chosen social channel.
What's more, Lithium provides Buzz Tracking, which enables users to the 'buzz' volume of traffic on a certain topic in real-time, so a trending topic is never missed.
Lithium also offers a wide range of client-facing services looking at an organisation's social media strategy. These include a social media roadmap, business alignment and full assessment.
4. Best social media analytics software: Sprout Social
Sprout Social's offering is pretty unique. Like others it does provide social monitoring, in-depth reports and a live data stream, however, Sprout Social also offers Google Analytics integration, making it a powerful social media analytics tool.
The user interface is simple and well designed, displaying all major social channels, trending topics, engagement levels and social channel comparison.
One major drawback of Sprout Social is some Facebook and Twitter analytics reports suffer from a lag of up to 24 hours.
Sprout Social is probably best matched with SMBs as it offers a 30-day free trial and its starting prices range between $59 (£49) to $99 (£81) per month or from $249 (£205) for larger enterprises or agencies.
5. Best social media analytics software: Synthesio
Like Crimson Hexagon, Synthesio offers 'social media intelligence for the enterprise', including social 'listening' and analysis, which aim to draw realistic ROI conclusions.
With no limit on users, data storage and keyword searches, this social analytics tool is ideal for scaling businesses and enterprises running multiple campaigns over various social channels.
Similar to Crimson Hexagon, Synthesio is one of the more expensive social media platforms listed. What's more, Synthesio does not offer social publishing like most other tools listed, so for organisations wanting to post on various social media channels a supplementary social media manager might be a good option.
6. Best social media analytics software: Buffer
Perhaps thought of as more of a social publishing manager, Buffer also offers detailed analytics about social posts across popular social media channels.
While more fitting for small to medium sized businesses, Buffer does provide post publishing, filtering and individual post analytics. Users can categorise posts by number of clicks, comments, likes and shares.
Compared to others listed, Buffer might seem small and relatively young, and for the most part this is true. Organisations looking for in-depth analytics and insight reports should look to bigger (and more expensive) platforms. For those starting to analyse their social campaigns are only using social media on a small scale, Buffer should be one to consider, although it probably won't be sufficient for large enterprises.
7. Best social media analytics software: Brand24
Brand24 is a solid option for small and medium-sized businesses but lacks the customisation and advanced features that larger companies often require. It's available in a $99 (£81) per month premium package for five users and a $399 (£328) max version for 10 users.
Users gain instant access to real-time social mentions analysed by influence score and sentiment and can respond to feedback both negative and positive at the earliest possible moment.
Results can be grouped into specific topics, keywords and word-clouds projects, while alerts and results can be shared across teams to support greater collaboration.
It has a user-friendly design and covers a wide scope of social media platforms. Integration is another strength. It includes an open application programming interface (API), mobile apps, and the recent addition of a partnership with Slack.
8. Best social media analytics software: Zoho Social
Zoho Social targets its management software at growing businesses. It earns high marks for its clear interface, functional simplicity and is excellent value for the depth of features it provides.
A single dashboard provides an interface to manage multiple social networks, schedule unlimited posts, monitor keywords and collaborate with colleagues.
The platform provides analytics for the big five social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. However, companies keen to harness the influence of sites such as Pinterest and YouTube may prefer to look elsewhere.
The Zoho Social pricing plans are a bold challenge to its rivals. It offers standard and professional options in both monthly and a discounted yearly plans. The former costs €10 (£9) per month and €100 (£87) per annum for two users and one brand, and the latter €50 (£44) and €500 (£436) respectively for five users and three brands.
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