Working With Twitter Analytics, Or, How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Data

Welcome to the wonderful world of Twitter Analytics! It’s a place where fancy stats fill seemingly endless rows and columns of Excel Spreadsheets and funny terms like “Detail Expands” run rampant. It’s truly an astounding place.

Okay, enough of the mythical-world lingo and hyperbole. Twitter Analytics is a great resource for small businesses, associations and other organizations that want to figure out how Twitter is helping them. The platform gives anybody with a Twitter account access to reams of data. We’re here to help you sort out what’s what and how the numbers can be translated into an action plan for your marketing strategy.

First Thing’s First

Before you go charging into the forest of numbers with reckless abandon, you need to know one important thing; you need to know your goals.

Knowing what you and your organization want to achieve with Twitter is critical to parsing the data and making meaningful connections.

For example, if your association wants to drive traffic to its website because that’s where people are most likely to sign up as members, it’s probably more advantageous to focus on the flow of Twitter users to your links and profile page. If you run a food truck and want as many people as possible to know where you are, you will most likely want to know how many people are seeing your tweets.

Knowing your goals will help turn a mish mash of numbers into something you can actually use to make the most out of your Twitter efforts.

The Basics

Retweets, Favourites, Replies and URL Clicks

These four categories make up your most basic engagement stats on Twitter. These elements are the most in-your-face form of interaction as you can see and keep track of them even without Twitter Analytics using your Twitter account or simple programs like

The numbers tied to these interactions can tell you a few things about how your efforts are paying off. The more Twitter users that interact with your content using these forms of engagement, the more value they are getting from your organization. When someone retweets your link or favourites a tweet, it means they found value in it. These interactions also help your content get shared, specifically retweets and mentions. If you see a growing number of these interactions from your Twitter account, it means your organization is interacting with more people, its reaching more people and its increasing in value.

Another stat you can gather from these numbers is the cost-per-interaction. Add up the number of retweets, favourites, replies and URL clicks and divide it by the amount of money spent on gaining these interactions. The result is the amount of money your spent to get one interaction. When this number decreases, the return on investment increases.

The Next Level


Impressions are the number of Twitter users who have seen your tweet. These are the people who have laid eyes on your content, but haven’t necessarily interacted with it in any way. This doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention to what it says; it could mean they just scanned it quickly or it could mean they saw a tweets about a sale you’re having and made a mental note to go check it out after work.

The real value of tracking impressions is to know how large your reach is on Twitter. If you’re using Twitter to get people involved in your cause or to buy your product, you want a lot of people to see your marketing and you want to see a steady climb in the number of impressions you receive. If you’re only focused on reaching a specific set of people, impressions are not as important if you’ve achieved your reach.

Calculating your cost-per-impression can tell you how much bang for your buck you’re getting. It follows the same formula as cost-per-interaction (total divided by cost). This will tell you if it’s costing you less to reach a larger audience than it did a month ago and will help you determine whether to tweak your Twitter strategy.

Average Engagement Rate

Your Twitter account’s average engagement rate is the result of dividing the number of engagement by the number of impressions you received. This will give you a more in-depth look at how effective your efforts are in attracting involvement and adding value to people’s day.

A few things to note: On a Twitter Analytics spreadsheet, engagement rate is posted as a decimal, such as 0.0211345. This can actually be seen as a percentage. In this example, the engagement rate can be rounded to 2.1%. This means that out of the number of people who say your tweet, 2.1% of them engaged with it. Engagement is defined by Twitter Analytics as a variety of elements which include retweets, favourites, replies, URL clicks, hashtag clicks, profile views, detail expands and follows.

The great thing about finding your average engagement rate or even the engagement rate for individual tweets, is that it can tell you how many people are actually acting when see your content. One of the biggest questions is about finding social media return on investment is, how do we know the people who are seeing out stuff are actually investing in it? Engagement rate helps you determine if people are taking the next steps in investing time and money in your organization. First they see it (impressions) and then they are exploring it (engagement rate). The more time they spend exploring your content, the more chance there is that they spend money on your organization.

The View From The Top

Hashtag Clicks

If you use Twitter, you know all about hashtags. Twitter Analytics allows you to track a small, but powerful, part of how your hashtags are working to help your organization.

Twitter Analytics tells you how many people clicked on a hashtag that you tweeted out. This can be especially helpful to organization that create their own hashtags for events or initiatives. For example, if you are an association that has created a hashtag for its annual conference, you can track how many times your hashtag was clicked on from your Twitter account before, during and after the event. If you are a small business that has started a hashtag that encourages people to share stories about their experience with your product, you can track your account’s success in promoting this hashtag using Twitter Analytics.

The value of knowing the number of hashtag clicks is knowing if your special events marketingon Twitter is being effective. It allows you to see if you need to improve your efforts to build an online advocacy program for your association or you should try something different the next time your small clothing store has a sale.

User Profile Clicks

User profile clicks calculate the number of times Twitter users clicked on your main profile from a specific tweet. Finding the total user profile clicks allows you to see whether your tweets are making Twitter users interested in your organization as a whole.

The value of determining user profile clicks is much the same as engagement rate. When people go to your profile, they can find out much more information about your organization. They can see your cover photo, which gives them a taste of what your all about. They can see a description of your services, your tweet history and, most importantly, can follow the link to your website. The possibilities for that person to discover more about your organization and invest in it are endless.

Tracking user profile clicks gives you a view on which tweets are encouraging people to take the next step and explore your organization further. This can be especially advantageous for organizations who are looking for new customers or that want to attract people to their website. For example, if you are a small business with an online Etsy store, a tweet that takes someone to your profile may mean they click on the link to your Etsy shop and from there, it may mean a sale.

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