Archive for the ‘Help’ Category
You already know TweetReach reports are great for measuring the reach of hashtags and Twitter accounts, but how about an individual tweet? What if you want to analyze the reach of a tweet (and any retweets of or replies to that tweet)? Our reports can do that, too! In fact, that’s where our name comes from and one of the original problems we set out to solve more than three years ago. Tweet. Reach. TweetReach.
There are a few options for measuring the reach of a tweet. You can paste the entire text of the tweet into the search box. Since Twitter works best with shorter search queries that’s ideal if you have a shorter tweet. And if you have a longer tweet, you can select a few unique words or a phrase from the tweet to search for.
Let’s try it with this tweet from @Disney.
Since this is a pretty short tweet, we can search for the full tweet text (minus the URL to keep it simple): disney #DisneyFact: An estimated one million bubbles were drawn in the making of The Little Mermaid. We also included the original Twitter handle, minus the @ sign, to be sure we’re catching all attributed retweets of the original tweet. Here’s the TweetReach report for this query:
This report includes 108 total tweets, which includes the original tweet. So that’s 107 retweets. However, you can see that the original tweet only has 73 actual retweets, according to the Most Retweeted Tweets section. What’s going on?
This is where it gets a little messy. Some people will retweet a tweet with Twitter’s official RT button (we call this a new-style or automated retweet). Some will copy and paste the tweet and add “RT @username” to retweet (old-style or manual retweet). Some will modify the original tweet by adding their own commentary or abbreviating the text (modified retweet or MT). Some will simply quote the tweet without adding any RT language (quoted RT). Twitter typically only associates that first type (new-style RTs) with an original tweet to count them as retweets.
But in a TweetReach report, if a tweet starts with “RT @username”, regardless of how that retweet was generated (new-style or old-style), it will count as an official retweet. But if there’s anything in front of that retweet, such as commentary or other characters, then it will not count as a retweet, but it will show up in a report for that tweet. So that’s why the above report only shows 73 actual retweets of the original tweet, but there are 108 total tweets in the report. One of those tweets is the original tweet, 73 are official retweets, and the 34 remaining tweets are modified or quoted retweets. So the full reach of this @Disney Little Mermaid tweet and all its various retweets is 1,322,791.
A few more examples:
Search for: SFGiants amazing pic bradmangin melky cabrera 7th inning
Search for: wired “Hot New Characters Will Invigorate Game of Thrones”
Search for: tweetreachapp measure share of voice on twitter four steps
Tips for measuring the reach of a tweet:
- Keep search queries short
- Include handles without the @ sign
- Put exact phrases in quotation marks
- Select unique words for your query
- Leave out URLs to keep it simple
PS – Have you ever tried our TweetReach Labs Retweet Rings tool? It’s a fun, animated visualizer to see how retweets spread.
If you’re using social media, you should be measuring it. But don’t measure just for the sake of having metrics. Instead, measure your social activities so that you can learn what’s successful, what isn’t, and how you can improve.
In this post we will help you get started with social media measurement for your organization by addressing these questions:
- How do you know if your social media activities are effective?
- How do you decide what metrics you should be monitoring?
- How do you calculate those metrics?
- How do you interpret the numbers once you have them?
The Two Types of Social Media Measurement
The two types of social media measurement are:
- Ongoing Analytics – Ongoing monitoring that tracks activity over time
- Campaign-Focused Metrics – Campaign or event analytics with a clear beginning and end
Ongoing analytics are necessary for keeping up with the overall pulse of general conversation about your brand and company. Once your brand tracking is set up, you can just let it run and check in regularly to see how everything is going.
Campaign-focused metrics, on the other hand, help you understand the impact of targeted marketing initiatives and will vary from campaign to campaign, depending on your goals for each. An effective social media measurement program will likely include both ongoing and campaign-specific measurement.
Let’s Start With An Example
Let’s say you work at a large consumer products company and are about to launch a new diaper brand. To accompany the big advertising and marketing push, you want to sponsor a one-hour Twitter party where parents and caregivers can discuss raising children, focused on issues around diapering and potty training.
You’ve picked out a unique hashtag, contracted with an influential Twitterer who will pose questions and lead the conversation. You’re ready to go. But now you need to make sure you’re measuring this conversation so you can learn – and later tell your boss – how effective the chat was.
Step 1: Determine Your Social Goals
Before you jump into measuring every single tweet, photo and Facebook comment posted about your brand, first think about your goals with social media. What are you trying to accomplish or gain through these social channels? And which channels are most relevant to those goals?
The first step in your measurement plan should be to generate a list of what you’re trying to achieve from your social media efforts. Social media can serve a variety of purposes, from broadcasting news and information, to answering customer questions and engaging with a community. What is your company trying to accomplish?
You’ve probably already started interacting on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram, depending on the type of information and the format of the content you’re sharing. You’ve probably also considered the audience you want to reach and the tools they’re using. So the next step is to think about what you want your audience to do with your content on these channels. Are you trying to get them to read, share, reply, click, purchase, engage? List out all your business goals for social media.
For our Twitter chat example, our goals are probably two-fold:
- First, we want to spread awareness of the new product to potential customers
- Second, we want to get to know the parenting community on Twitter, particularly the influencers in that community
Step 2: Create Metrics To Measure These Goals
The next step is to match your goals to actual metrics and behaviors you can measure. For example, if you’re trying to measure engagement, then what is the practical form of engagement you want to track? Is it retweets or reposts? Replies or comments? Clicks? Here are a few suggestions of behaviors to measure, based on a few common social media goals…
- If you want to measure awareness, then use metrics like volume, reach, exposure, and amplification. How far is your message spreading?
- If you want to measure engagement, then look for metrics around retweets, comments, replies, and participants. How many people are participating, how often are they participating, and in what forms are they participating?
- If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, then track URL shares, clicks and conversions. Are people moving through social media to your external site and what do they do once they’re on your site?
- If your goal is to find advocates and fans, then track contributors and influence. Who is participating and what kind of impact do they have?
- If your goal is to increase your brand’s share of voice, then track your volume relative to your closest competitors. How much of the overall conversation around your industry or product category is about your brand?
For our hypothetical Twitter chat, our first goal is awareness, so we want to measure:
- The tweet volume and reach of our Twitter chat
- How many unique people tweeted with our hashtag
We’re also interesting in getting to know this community, so we want to know more about the participants, including:
- Any influence metrics we can find (like follower counts and Klout scores)
- Relevant demographic information about them (gender, location, etc…)
Step 3: Measure
After you’ve listed the metrics you want to focus on, now you need to find tools that actually capture these metrics, and then start measuring. In some cases, social media channels themselves provide some form of analytics, in some cases you will need to use third party tools, and in some cases you can build your own using APIs.
If you’re not sure which tools to use for which channels, ask around or do a quick Google search and you’ll find tons of options. SocDir is a useful and comprehensive source with a list of more than 300 social media metrics tools.
Many social analytics tools work in real-time, so if you can plan ahead and set up tracking before your campaign begins (and well before your report is due), it will be much easier to access the data you need later.
On Twitter, for example, accessing tweets that are more than a few days old is very expensive, difficult, and far less reliable than collecting and archiving them in real time. When possible, set up your measurement tools before your campaign begins.
The measurement part of this may take some time, so let the tools do their work. Make sure they’re tracking the social posts you’re interested in, do what you can to filter out spam, and then come back in a few days for steps 4 and 5.
Step 4: Monitor And Report
The fourth step is to report your results. Use your initial findings to set a baseline or benchmark for future measurement, and share these early figures with your important stakeholders. Two important questions to nail down are:
- How do your numbers compare to what you expected?
- How do they compare to your competitors’ or related products and campaigns?
One of the great parts of social media analytics is that you can easily run reports about your competitors to see how they’re doing.
This is a also a good time to consider your schedule for regular reporting. Depending on your (and your organization’s) schedule, monthly or quarterly reporting may work best, but weekly reporting may work well for others. No matter the schedule, make sure you’re checking in regularly on your metrics. Don’t let your effort up to this point go to waste! And let your metrics accumulate over time; you’ll see how valuable this data will become after a few months have passed and you have older data to compare to your new data.
In your reports, be sure you highlight the important numbers:
- Include benchmarks or other contextual information so that your stakeholders can quickly understand what all the figures mean
- Consider including visualizations of your data; graphs can help communicate your results quickly and clearly to your audience
- Keep your graphs simple and clean
If you’re interested in reading more about data visualization, I highly recommend the work of Stephen Few; he has some excellent tips and examples.
Going back to our Twitter chat example, we’ll want to prepare a brief report to share internally. We don’t have baseline metrics yet to compare these to, but we probably started with a general idea of what we wanted to achieve with the chat.
As you recall, our goals were increasing awareness of the new product and getting to know community influencers for future interactions. Let’s say our chat generated 750 tweets from 200 unique contributors and a reach of 500,000. Several participants had Klout scores over 60 and tweeted multiple times.
So, even though this was our first chat, these are very respectable initial numbers. Half a million Twitter accounts were exposed to tweets with our hashtag, and we now have a list of 200 people who were talking about diapers, some of them very influential. We can build on this foundation in future initiatives, nurture relationships with these participants and continue to increase awareness of our new product.
Step 5: Adjust And Repeat
The final step is to carefully review your measurement program. How are these metrics doing? Are you missing anything? Was anything superfluous or unnecessary? Figure out what you can improve, make changes, and then measure some more. Check back in with the goals you set initially and make sure your new metrics actually help you address those goals.
In the case of our Twitter chat, we now realize that we also want to measure engagement around our chat hashtag. We’ve decided it’s important to know how many of our host’s tweets were retweeted and replied to, so we can understand what participants found most interesting. We can add this in and include it in our reporting next time.
If you’re participating in social media, you really need to understand how you’re doing. Is your content having the impact you want? Are you meeting your company’s goals with social media? This is why monitoring and measuring your social media activities is so crucial – you need reliable and consistent analytics that help you track your success on channels like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
So your company is now officially participating in social media. You’ve set up a Twitter account, a Facebook page, even a few Pinterest boards. You respond to customer questions, follow fans, post important news, and thank your advocates for their support.
Beyond that, what are you doing to track and monitor these social interactions? If you’re engaging in social media, then you should be measuring those activities. How else will you know how you’re doing? The good news is it’s easier than you think to measure your social media efforts.
Here are five simple, but oh-so-useful social media metrics you should be measuring right now.
The first – and easiest – social media metric to measure is volume. What is the size of the conversation about your brand or your campaign? Volume is a great initial indicator of interest. People tend to talk about things they either love or hate, but they rarely talk about things they simply don’t care about at all.
While volume can seem like a simple counting metric, there’s more to it than just counting tweets and wall posts. It’s important to measure the number of messages about your brand, as well as the number of people talking about your brand, and track how both of those numbers change over time. For example, Facebook Insights has a useful metric (cleverly called “people talking about this”) that measures how many unique people have posted something to their walls about your brand page.
Learn when volume is higher – are there days or times when more people seem to be talking about your brand? You can use this information to focus more of your own posts during these times to get more engagement, which we’ll talk about in a minute.
Reach measures the spread of a social media conversation. On its own, reach can help you understand the context for your content. How far is your content disseminating and how big is the audience for your message? Reach is a measure of potential audience size.
And of course, a large audience is good, but reach alone does not tell you everything. Reach becomes very powerful when compared to other engagement metrics. Use reach as the denominator in your social media measurement equations.
Pick important action or engagement numbers like clicks, retweets, or replies (more on this in a second) and divide them by reach to calculate an engagement percentage. Of the possible audience for your campaign, how many people participated? Reach helps contextualize other engagement metrics.
Speaking of engagement metrics, this is one of the most important areas to measure in social media. How are people participating in the conversation about your brand? What are they doing to spread your content and engage with the topic?
In most social media settings, content can be both shared and replied to. Twitter retweets (RTs) and Facebook shares and posts are helpful to know who is spreading your content, while comments, replies and likes are helpful to see who is replying to your content. Think carefully about your goals with social media. Are you focused more on generating interaction (replies, comments) or on spreading a message (retweets and posts)? Be sure you’re using metrics that reflect what’s important to your brand right now.
And are there types of content that generate engagement? Start paying attention to what messages generate the most replies and RTs. It might surprise you what people interact with; it’s not always what you expect.
Who is talking about your brand and what kind of impact do they have? Influence is probably the most controversial social media metric; there are myriad tools that measure social influence, and they all do it in different ways. But one thing they all agree on is that audience size does not necessarily relate to influence. Just because someone has a lot of friends or followers, that does not mean they can encourage those followers to actually do anything.
Based on past actions, we can make assumptions about how influential someone might be in the future. This type of potential influence is useful to decide who to reach out to when you’re preparing for a campaign. Tools like Klout and PeerIndex assign people an influence score. Tools like these measure online social capital and the (potential) ability to influence others.
Kinetic influence, on the other hand, will help you understand who is participating in and driving conversation about your brand and your campaigns, and who gets others to participate in these specific conversations. You can find your brand advocates by focusing on people whose messages are amplified by others, and not just who has the most followers.
5. Share of Voice
Finally, to really understand how well you’re doing on social media, you should consider a share of voice metric. How does the conversation about your brand compare to conversations about your competitors? Determine what percentage of the overall conversation about your industry is focused on your brand compared to your main competitors. And learn from your competitors’ successes; since so many of these social media conversations are public, you can measure your competitors’ impact just as easily as you can measure your own.
Consistency and preparation are essential to effective social media measurement. Pick your favorite metrics and start tracking them now. Use the same formulas and tools to calculate these numbers every week or month. Track your numbers over time and pay attention to how they change. If you see anything that looks higher or lower than what you typically expect, investigate it. By measuring – and paying attention to – these five social media metrics, you’ll be able to better understand the impact and effectiveness of your social media activity.
There’s one question our support team gets asked more often than anything else – how far back can TweetReach reports go? And it’s no wonder we get this question all the time; it can be pretty damn confusing. How long are tweets available? Why aren’t they available for a week or more? Why does this seem to change from one day to the next?
First, a bit about how TweetReach reports work. Our snapshot reports – both the 50-tweet free report and the full $20 report – are generated from Twitter’s Search API. You type in a search query, which can consist of one or more hashtags, keywords, usernames, URLs, and so on, and then we run that search through Twitter’s Search API to find all matching tweets. So our snapshot reports are dependent upon the tweets accessible through Twitter’s Search API.
It probably goes without saying that Twitter handles a lot of data. A lot. Twitter currently processes around 200 million new tweets a day, resulting in more than 350 billion tweet deliveries every single day. By our (very rough) estimation, there have been something like 1.75 trillion unique tweets posted in the past 2.5 years. Without getting too technical, let’s just say that it’s pretty hard to keep a service of this magnitude running. Because of this scale, Twitter can’t possibly keep trillions of historical tweets accessible to anyone at any time. Which is why when you go to Twitter Search or run a TweetReach report, you’re probably only going to find a few days worth of tweets. It’s just too hard to keep any more reliably and consistently available.
One of the things we love about Twitter – or at least that we have long since learned to live with – is that it can be a bit unpredictable. It’s a huge application with hundreds of millions of accounts; there will be occasional fail whales and things are probably going to change from one day to the next. One thing we know for sure is that it will continue to get harder and harder for Twitter to make older tweets available through search. The good news is that we’ve been doing this for a long time and have a number of ways to deal with these inevitable changes.
- Every day at TweetReach, we look at hundreds of reports to understand how far back search is going on that day, and we post current search conditions on our helpdesk so you can always be up-to-date.
- We are experts at constructing search queries so we can get the most and best possible data from Twitter.
- We built our Tracker to monitor and archive your tweets so that you don’t lose them after a few days.
- We’re here to help you figure out how to find the tweets you need. When in doubt about a search or a report, ask us!
This brings us back to the most frequently asked of our FAQs – how far back can a TweetReach report go? The simplest answer is that our one-time snapshot reports – both the free and the full $20 versions – go back as far as Twitter’s Search API does. And right now, the Twitter Search API goes back a few days (the exact number varies, so check here for current conditions). The more in-depth answer is that, if we know about your event, campaign, or promotion in advance, we can use our TweetReach Pro service to track and save your tweets for weeks, months or even years. TweetReach Pro comes with Trackers, which connect to Twitter’s real-time Streaming API instead of their historical Search API. This means we can actually save your tweets on our own servers the moment they’re posted to Twitter, and then you can access them later because we’re not dependent on Twitter keeping those tweets available.
So, if you’re confused about your search results or curious about what tweets you can retroactively access, let us help you. Seriously, we’re here if you have any questions – just ask!
Photo credit: Search. by Jeffrey Beall
Twitter supports a number of advanced search operators and filters that allow you to customize your search query and find exactly the tweets you’re looking for. Here are a few of our favorite Twitter search operators and how to use them (with tons of examples).
Find one keyword OR another
First, Twitter does not require an AND or + operator to search for multiple keywords. So don’t include them. Just type together multiple keywords into your query and Twitter will return tweets that include of those terms. For example:
However, sometimes you might want to find tweets that include one keyword or another keyword. Use the OR operator to separate those terms and your report will include tweets that mention one or the other.
You can also chain together multiple keywords to create a more complex query. The OR operator will attach to the word that immediately precedes it, very much like order of operations in algebra. For example, the following query will find tweets that mention social media metrics or social media analytics, because the OR links to the metrics and analytics terms.
There are several ways to learn more about the reach of tweets from a particular Twitter account, depending on the type of information you’re looking for.
- Tweets to, from and about an account - tweetreachapp
Run a report for a username but do not include the @symbol. This will return all mentions of that Twitter account (including retweets and replies), as well as all tweets from that Twitter account. This is the most comprehensive set of reach stats for a specific Twitter account.
- Tweets to and about an account – @tweetreachapp
Run a report for a username and include the @symbol. This will return all mentions of an account, but not any tweets from that account. This report will let you know how many people are talking about a certain Twitter account, and the ways they’re talking about it (including all retweets, replies, and mentions).
- Tweets to an account – to:tweetreachapp
Run a report using the to: operator and a username. Do not use the @ symbol. This report will return only direct replies to that account (where the username is the first word in the tweet). This reports is useful for learning more about how people talk to that account.
- Tweets from an account – from:tweetreachapp
Run a report using the from: operator and a username. Do not use the @ symbol. This report will return only tweets from that account. This reports is useful for measuring the reach of an individual Twitter account, and for learning more about the kinds of tweets that account is posting.
You can filter your search results to a particular time period by adding the since: and until: operators to your search query. Use these date filters to narrow down your results. And since you can access up to 1500 tweets per query, if you run a report for each day of a campaign using date filters, you can find more total tweets. For example:
social media since:2011-09-24
You can use one or both filters in a query. These dates correspond to around 12:00 a.m. UTC, so since filter dates will include tweets from that date, but until filter dates will include tweets up until that date. And no matter what, snapshot reports can only go back about a week, so you still can’t use these filters to access tweets older than a week.
You can exclude certain keywords from your search by adding a minus sign (-) before the keyword. This will filter out all tweets that include that keyword. This is particularly useful if your company/brand/client/product has has a common name and want to exclude mentions of others with that name.
These are some of our favorite filters and operators, but here’s the full list of advanced search operators if you’re interested in more. One word of advice – Twitter handles fairly simple queries really well, but tends to break with longer and more complex queries. We recommend that you only add in a few advanced operators per query and try to limit the total number of keywords and characters in a search query. Keep it under 5-8 words and 60 characters and you should be fine. And definitely run free TweetReach reports to test out your more complex queries and see what kinds of tweets they find.
If you ever have any questions about search queries and how to get exactly the data you need from Twitter, just ask us! We’re big Twitter search nerds and can help you figure out even the trickiest search queries.
If you’re new to TweetReach Pro, check out this short video about how to get your first Tracker set up. And there’s more information about setting up a Tracker on our helpdesk.
Most of the TweetReach team will be attending the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas over the next few days. So please allow us a little extra time to return your calls and emails on the following dates:
Thursday, March 10 – Tuesday, March 15
On these days, our support staff will return all non-urgent requests within 24-36 hours and urgent requests as soon as possible. As always, there are several ways to get your questions answered:
- Email us at support [at] unionmetrics [dot] com (recommended)
- Check our FAQs and helpdesk
- Call us at 888-834-8113
- Submit a ZenDesk ticket
- Find us on Twitter
We currently offer two TweetReach reporting formats – the individual snapshot report and the Tracker. One of our most frequently asked questions is when it’s appropriate to run an individual report and when it’s best to set up a Tracker. Depending on the type of data you’re analyzing, one of these two formats will better serve your needs. To decide if you need to set up a Tracker or run a snapshot report, just answer three quick questions about the tweets you’re measuring.
1. When are/were the tweets posted?
a) Recently posted
b) Will be posted in the future
If you answered a, you should run a report now. Twitter only keeps tweets accessible for about a week, so if your tweets are older than that, we can’t retrieve them for analysis. Don’t lose them!
If you answered b, move on to question 2.
2. How many tweets do you expect?
a) Fewer than 1,500 tweets
b) More than 1,500 tweets
If you answered a, then you can run a snapshot report after your event has occurred. The snapshot report uses the Twitter Search API, which searches through the most recent seven days worth of tweets. So run that report after, but within one week of, the time period you wish to measure. If you need to measure more than a week’s worth of tweets, see question 3. A snapshot report can include up to 1,500 tweets. If you have 50 or fewer tweets, your report will be free. If it’s between 51 and 1,500 tweets, it’s $20.
If you answered b, you’ll need to set up a Tracker, which can track more than 1,500 tweets. Set up your Tracker before your event begins, or as soon as you can, so we capture as many tweets as possible. The Tracker uses Twitter’s Streaming API, so it captures tweets in real time, as they are posted to Twitter.
3. What is the time period for your analysis?
a) 0-7 days
b) A week or longer
If you answered a, you can run a snapshot report or a Tracker, depending on your answers to questions 1 & 2.
If you answered b, you need to set up a Tracker before your event begins, or as soon as you can. Trackers run in real time, so they will find all new tweets as they are posted to Twitter, but they cannot retrieve old tweets.
In sum: if you answered a to all three questions, run a snapshot report. If you answered b to all three questions, set up a Tracker. For other a/b combinations, check the chart below.
*A few disclaimers about these particular combinations… Snapshot reports include up to 1,500 tweets from the past week, so if you have more than 1,500 tweets or data older than 7 days, we won’t be able to find all of your tweets for analysis. You can run an individual snapshot report anytime at tweetreach.com. Trackers monitor tweets in real time, so they will find all new tweets as they come in, with no limits on number of tweets or length of time. But Trackers cannot go back in time to include old tweets. You need a TweetReach Pro subscription to run a Tracker.
We’ve created a set of help forums to explain how TweetReach works.
There are resources to help you get started with TweetReach, answers to some of our more frequently asked questions, in-depth explanations of TweetReach and the report components, and new feature announcements.
If you have other questions that aren’t answered in the help forums, just let us know! Leave a comment here or in the forums.