Image Credit: Jason Howie

Image Credit: Jason Howie

Two announcements hit the social media analytics world in the last couple of days: The shutdown of Topsy, which was acquired by Apple in 2013 and the acquisition of Respondly by social scheduling tool Buffer.

Both these events impact brand analytics and are heating up the competitive scenarios in a crowded social analytics world.

As digital marketing trends continue to push the envelope further, marketers are raising the bar on campaigns and content. Correspondingly, expenditure on marketing analytics is expected to rise by 60 per cent in 2016 and beyond.

So, what does it mean for the average marketer? Which tools and tactics must they adopt?

Why marketing/brand analytics is needed?

As digital marketers, we’ve come a long way since measuring mere likes and fans. Here are a few reasons why marketing or brand analytics is key:

Find the RoI (return of investment) of social content: The CMO of today’s brands wants to understand the RoI of social content. As growth hackers, we need to understand the type of content that’s doing well for us as brands.

Get competitor information: We also need to know what kind of social content our competitors are generating, so that we can emulate success stories.

Improve decision-making: Social analytics tools map that gap between real-time ideas and performance. We’re able to see what the ideas are worth and improvise constantly. McKinsey data has revealed that marketing analytics that offer improved decision-making abilities have allowed companies to save 15-20 percent on spending. Overall this means US$200 billion in savings.

What challenges do marketers still face?

The biggest problem with most analytics is the fact that they don’t represent a single view.

The diversity of social media platforms and digital marketing channels has meant that there’s a proliferation of data points and metrics that can be measured.

Big Data is great, only that it is often hard to deal with a bulk of it. I’ve worked in companies where marketers would invest a couple of days, if not more, on mere spreadsheets and data analysis. While it’s important, it takes way too much time away from idea generation and implementation. Automation is required and so are the tools that make the process easy, especially in a small business scenario.

Also Read: 11 best practices to boost your startup’s growth on Twitter

Which tools are key in the 2016 marketing analytics world?

Facebook and Twitter come with their own native analytics tools for each profile and page. But information on keywords, trends and hashtags is often solved by external nifty tools. With the proliferation of tools all over the social world, picking out a few is a task in itself.

The competition is stiffening and while everyone has their personal favorites, here are my go-to top three tool sets:

For real-time keyword searches, influencers and alerts: Keyhole.co

Keyhole analytics

The reason I like it the most is that it allows me to search for hashtags and keywords across Twitter and Instagram. And I really find that nifty. The data is represented in easy to understand charts and dashboards which saves time and is easy to share further.

It’s also possible to basically analyse a brand campaign, a Twitter hashtag chat or a brand hashtag directly and in real-time. It also helps to keep track of mentions — also allowing for selecting the alerts that are important and from a certain type of profiles (for example, only with X number of followers), cutting down the noise. In terms of what I used Topsy for, Keyhole basically fits that sweet-spot.

For trending content and competitor site analysis: BuzzSumo.com

BuzzSumo analytics

I like this tool for checking out trending content which can be curated further on social channels. It also allows me to put in a competitor’s site link and then analyse what content works for them.

The depth is really phenomenal, allowing me to check the backlinks of the most-shared content from the competitor’s site. There’s also a good domain level analysis or comparison that you can gather in easy to view charts possible through BuzzSumo.

Also Read: 10 ways to outrank your competitors on Google Singapore

For social media analytics across channels: HootSuite/Buffer/SproutSocial

Buffer analytics

Depending on what platform you choose, all the social scheduling tools including HootSuite, Buffer, SproutSocial allow you to add various social channels to your dashboard. They also naturally share analytics of your content. Buffer allows you to ‘re-buffer’ your top performing content and push it back into the scheduling queue.

And now, with the new Respondly acquisition, which is slated to be rebranded ‘Respond’, Buffer is adding a customer service and brand mention tool to its portfolio. That’ll be interesting for current users who may try it out alongside the other Buffer products.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, please send us an email at writers[at]e27[dot]co