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Key Differences between Social Media Listening & Analytics

by Tilo Kmieckowiak on October 26, 2017

The terms “social media listening” and “social media analytics” are often mixed up or used synonymously. However, for setting up a successful social media strategy, it is essential for businesses to differentiate between the terms and use both approaches simultaneously. Social media listening and social media analytics comprise different methods and applications, we will explain how to combine both profitably.

We have recently started to work with the social media listening provider mention in order to educate the market. Together we have created a comprehensive guide that can lead you towards an optimal social media strategy by using both listening and analytics. 

What is Social Media Listening and Social Media Analytics?

Social Media Listening is based on keyword search and it means capturing unstructured data from Social Media channels, websites, blogs, press pages, forums etc. The information has to be edited for example through topic assignment, tagging in order to be able to draw conclusions.

Social Media Analytics in contrast is based on the access of historical data. It gathers all structured data from selected profiles and pages and deals with specific KPIs as likes, shares, retweets or interactions that can be obtained from the platform.

Listening, which is frequently also being referred to as monitoring, is important for finding key influencers. It als concretely measures the conversation volume in owned and earned media as well as the reach. Analytics however sheds light on the performance of your own channels and activities in social media. Competitive analytics helps you to optimize your social media strategy by tracking and benchmarking your social media channels against competitors.

social media analytics

Social Media Listening

Crawlers search based on complex queries through online-sources and make it possible to look on the entire web for publicly available mentions, links and target groups - from tweets, Facebook - and Instagram posts to news and blog articles. The queries are written by using keywords that are logically linked by ‘Boolean’ operators. While using a listening tool, you can discover every post and interaction that is important for your brand. You benefit from gaining market insights through deriving strategies from trends.

Once some data has been gathered with a listening tool like mention, there are different options available for analyzing it:

  • Sentiment analysis: This shows you the number of responses that were positive or negative. You’ll quickly know whether a product or campaign is well-received, or is proving unpopular.
  • Influencer scores: These tell you how influential the person who posted a comment is. Find powerful people willing to help spread your brand on social media.
  • Competitive analysis: Compare your brand against your biggest rivals to see who dominates the conversation, has the best sentiment, and has the broadest reach.
  • Language and location tracking: You’ll know where people post their comments from, and the languages they use. This lets you find new markets you’d otherwise never have thought of. 

Social Media Analytics

A social media analytics tool has a different approach. Via APIs, the tool picks up all data from the social networks and other platforms that are important for you, stores them in a database and visualizes them through metrics for an optimal evaluation. Content will be reviewed and adjusted on success and illustrated via these metrics. Also metrics which suit for your social media reports are an important component in analytics because they make KPIs visible. Social Media Analytics helps to create benchmarks with your competition and to figure out how active your channels are compared to your competitors’ channels. It gives information and insights about the interaction rates, followers, post types, response times and many other measures. With them you can easily adjust and optimize your social media performance.

In short, here are some key advantages of social media analytics using a tool like quintly. You can:

  • get easy access to quantitative data from all major social networks.
  • analyze all important social media numbers deeply.
  • draw valuable conclusions from your data and that of your competitors.

Listening & Analytics

Combine both approaches for a complete social media strategy

To sum things up, listening crawls the web in order to identify who is talking about your brand in which way and provides valuable information who is important in your industry. The fact that it constantly monitors this, helps you to prevent crises and makes sure that you can react to complaints and critique promptly. Through this, you are not only able to avoid a negative tone of voice but you are able to satisfy users and customers with fast responses.

Social media analytics gathers data from different networks in one place in order to centralize your performance measurement. Tools like quintly enable you to benchmark profiles, which involves tracking your and your competitors’ pages and adjusting your strategy accordingly. Automated reports visualize data and support your data-driven decision making.

Analytics Listening

In order to gain an optimal overview of your market, your customers, influencers, important topics and retain all the key channels and their figures in mind, using a combination of both, listening and analytics, is essential for a complete strategy. Without listening you will never know who talks about you and without analytics you tap in the dark by not knowing which posts performed best. Only using both approaches together results in a holistic, successful and sustainable social media strategy.

We have recently held a webinar together with mention. It introduces both social media analytics and listening and gives some hands-on examples on how combine them for an optimal social media measurement. If you have any questions, we are just one tweet away!

Listening & Analytics


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