When it comes to social advertising, some networks offer a great rate for impressions or clicks, powerful targeting options over what you would see with Google AdWords, and the promise of promoting your brand or brand message to a larger audience. You may even get the chance to do some A/B testing to see which ads are working best so you can stop particular variations based on performance.
While all of these things are great, what you will really want to know in the end is how your ads performed as a whole in regards to generating clicks, leads, and engagement for your brand. To find these things out, you will have to rely on the advertising analytics provided by each network. The data you can get from directly from the social networks’ analytics platform can help you decide whether to continue using their social advertising for future campaigns.
Here’s a look at what you can expect from 3 of the biggest and how to best leverage each to get the most out of your spend.
Facebook allows you to set up multiple types of advertising and offers analytics for each type including the following:
Promoted Posts are the simplest form of Facebook advertising. If your page has more than 400 likes, you can promote status updates on your page’s wall by posting them and then clicking the Promote link beneath them. This will help counteract the Facebook algorithm changes that have prevented all of your page’s fans from seeing your updates, and ensure that more of your fans (as well as their friends) see your page’s updates.
Throughout your promotion, and once the promotion is complete, you can click on the same link beneath your status update to see quick stats about how the promotion is going.
Here you can see the amount of activity that has resulted from your promoted post campaign including the amount of engagement for the post itself, plus additional likes for your page as a result of the promoted post. The budget allotments vary based on the number of fans you have and the exposure you want.
You will also see analytics about your promoted post campaigns in the main ad manager section of your Facebook profile which will show you an overview of how much your have spent per promoted post.
You can click on each campaign to see additional details with a breakdown of how the ad performed with your fans, and friends of fans.
You can also look into your page’s Facebook Insights to compare the performance of posts you have promoted vs. ones you have not. The ones that were promoted are noted with the dot instead of the megaphone icon.
You can click on the number underneath the Reach column to see a breakdown of reach from paid promotion vs. organic and viral reach. As a point of reference, this page has 1,200 fans. So as you can see, promoted posts can help your updates go beyond just your own fan count in terms of exposure. Just be sure to always select the audience option “People who like your page and their friends” when setting up your promoted post.
To promote your Facebook application for more users, Facebook event for more RSVP’s, Facebook page for more likes, or updates on your Facebook wall for more engagement, try using Sponsored Stories. You can set up sponsored stories through the traditional ad interface. The difference is that you enter your Facebook page instead of an outside URL as the ad target.
Unlike promoted posts, you can use sponsored stories to reach people beyond your page’s fans, and their friends. You can also take advantage of the advanced targeting options offered through the main ad creator. This should help you increase likes to your page, and engagement with your stories.
Throughout the duration of your ad, and after its run is completed, you can view analytics for your sponsored stories in the ad manager. The example below shows a sponsored stories ad to increase likes for a page.
Here you can see the reach, clicks on the ad, and social actions taken based on the ad. Clicks can represent likes to your page, installations of your application, or RSVPs to your events page. You can then click on the name of each ad listed for your campaign to see how the ad looks on Facebook, and to get an additional breakdown of actions taken on your ad.
You can also see how many people liked your page directly from the sponsored story itself by going into your page Insights and looking under the Likes section for the same date range as your sponsored stories ad was active.
Of course, anyone who went directly to your page from the ad would count as an on-page like from the Insights point of view, so the Ads and Sponsored Stories number will specify the number of people who clicked Like next to the sponsored story itself in the news feed or right sidebar.
Using sponsored stories to promote an update on your wall will provide similar analytics to those promoting your page in your ad manager as shown below.
You can use this data to determine what types of ads work best, as well as what stories on your Facebook page gain the most traction with a Facebook audience. Out of all of the social media networks, Facebook offers the most complete analytics.
Twitter is new to the social advertising arena. If you haven’t already received an invitation, you can sign up to try their new analytics on the Start Advertising page. Once you have received your invitation, you can try your hand at Promoted Tweets (to promote status updates), Promoted Accounts (to get more followers), or Promoted Trends (for companies with high advertising budgets to promote a trend).
Within the Twitter Business help pages, you can see an introduction to Advertiser Analytics, which looks pretty exciting, starting with the dashboard shown below.
Here, you can see data for a Promoted Tweets campaign including impressions, clicks, retweets, replies, and overall engagement. You can also find out more about your followers in the Followers Dashboard.
In this section, you can find out where your followers are located, their main interests, and people who your followers are most likely to also be following.
Great insights, right? Unfortunately, they do not seem to be available to everyone just yet (despite the fact that the Advertiser Analytics page says they should be available to all advertisers). Instead, advertisers with a smaller budget will likely see this:
Detailed statistics under Promoted Account and Promoted Tweets only include a graph of paid vs. unpaid followers and statistics (impressions, click rate, clicks, and spend amount) per tweet that you have promoted. Companies with larger advertising budgets have access to more insights and analytics, but so far, they’re not available to those with smaller budgets.
In the meantime, you can track some analytics through other programs. TwitterCounter, for example, can help you see your overall following trends for up to six months at no cost. Simply Measured also offers a free analysis of your followers (up to the last 10,000) in exchange for a tweet. Their analysis includes the top keywords your latest followers are interested in, top time zones followers are located in, and top followers who have the most followers.
If you want additional information about engagement tweets you promoted, simply visit the tweet on your profile and click Expand to see details about favorites and retweets.
I’m also a fan of Buffer for seeing analytics per tweet that go beyond what you’ll get on Twitter itself. With Buffer, you can also see clicks and potential reach of the tweet as a whole, and the reach from those who retweeted it to their followers.
LinkedIn is the top social network for professionals, and thus the best network to advertise on if you are targeting a business audience. The LinkedIn Ads page shows that you can target 175 million professionals including 7.9 million decision makers, 4.2 million business executives, and 1.5 million small business owners. Not to mention you can really target your ads to people with a specific job title, or who work in a specific company / industry.
But LinkedIn’s advertising analytics only include impressions, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), and total dollars spent.
If you create multiple ads for one campaign, you can click on the campaign to see statistics for each ad variation to determine which is the most successful. If you notice a few variations with low CTR, be sure to remove them so that your highest CTR ads will be the ones displayed.
Not many companies offer third-party analytics for LinkedIn. One company that does is Jumplead. When you install their tracking code on your website, Jumplead will analyze your visitors from social networks like LinkedIn, and instead of just showing you that you received ten visitors from LinkedIn, it will show you the companies those visitors belong to. If you use this in conjunction with your advertising, you can learn more about the people who actually click through to your website.
If you use LinkedIn Ads to promote your company page, you can also use the page insights provided to tell you more about the engagement with your page and people who have become followers.
While LinkedIn offers great targeting options for their advertising platform, they do not offer the best insights and analytics just yet. But, as they continue to make improvements to their network, they are likely to continue making improvements to their analytics as well.
Have you used social advertising to promote your website or social profiles to boost followers or engagement? What do you like or dislike about the different analytics each network has to offer, and have you found alternatives? Please share in the comments!