Hootsuite has just rolled out a beta version of new analytics. The new analytics are integrated inside your Hootsuite interface, and you can view them or go back to the old Hootsuite reports. We're big believers that analytics backed decision making is essential for successful marketing. I'm always researching analytics tools, and analytics capabilities built into social media management tools, and we use Hootsuite for community management. I was really excited to see this, so in this article I'm going to show you Hootsuite's new analytics. I'll tell you about the good things, the things I'd like to see added, the costs, and the unknowns.
Old Hootsuite Reports
I've been hard on Hootsuite analytics in reviews and other articles because I don't like the analytics they've traditionally offered. I felt their reports weren't dynamic enough and didn't go deep enough to allow me to find the insights I was looking for. Also, I haven't been a huge fan of needing to pay for additional reports (you get a few reports, and then have to pay for points to get more). Beyond that, many people didn't like Hootsuite's old analytics reports because... well they looked old.
The old reports in Hootsuite weren't dynamic, fresh, or good looking like the reports in Sprout Social or other tools. I like reports that pop just like the next person, but for me, it's all about the data. I like analytics that, preferably, show me the insights I'm looking for, or at least let me find them.
Hootsuite's New Beta Analytics
Hootsuite's been giving itself a makeover of late. Fresh off of having updated their streams interface to look better, now they've updated their analytics - and they are gorgeous.
The Overview analytics provide a small dashboard to track the most common analytics including:
- And Ow.ly Traffic (posts published from Hootsuite).
In the dashboard and the reports, the current stats are shown with a comparison to previous numbers - a calendar control on the top right of the page lets you choose the time period you wish to see stats for. The dashboard and the reports show you the change in the displayed metric over the time period selected.
Below the dashboard are reports for the same four metrics, plus reaction sentiment. The graphs provide a more tactical view allowing you to see interactions on your accounts day-by-day. The graphics are interactive. You can hover over lines, bars, and peaks in the graph to see stats for that day. Below the Reactions by Sentiment graph, is a list of recent posts that you can sort by interaction type (such as retweets, replies, quotes, likes, etc.). This allows you to see which content has gotten the most engagement.
You can track the same metrics, with fans replacing followers, and posts replacing tweets, for Facebook.
Boards: More Depth and Better Reporting at a Price
At the top of the analytics page, next to overview, you can select Boards and you'll be notified that you need to pay for this feature.
As the dialog boxes say, boards is a dashboard and report building tool. It's designed to track posts by user engagement, reach, clicks and referrals to get a deeper understanding of your fans and followers. Hootsuite also says you can use boards to deliver social media presentations. The cost of Boards it $40 per month if upgrading from Hootsuite Pro on the annual plan, or $60 per month if you're paying monthly.
As you can see, the first thing you need to do is create a board.
Creating boards is extremely easy. You can build boards using templates or add widgets on your own to create custom boards. In fact, you can create multiple boards from templates in seconds.
The boards are quite nice - they show you metrics next to interactive graphs, all organized and displayed nicely, making information easy to find and understand.
All boards are customizable, something Hootsuite tells you the first time you open a board.
You can add new metrics and the top right portion of a board page, and the right slide out pane lets you customize current widgets.
You can also filter the data that's displayed and share the board with members of your team.
Boards looks good, and certainly more hands-on time is required to see how flexible and customizable they are.
Some things missing
This is definitely a beta product. I don't care at this point because I love being able to play with these tools, but there were some issues, and what looked like some omissions.
For example, the date selector worked one day, then the next it didn't. Also, in Boards, there was no way that I found to export data or graphs, nor was there a built-in reporting tool. Without that, I'm not sure how you can use the tool to create social media reports. The only way to share the data is currently with other team members on your Hootsuite account.
What I'm more concerned about is the fact that the beta version of these new analytics only shows analytics for Twitter and Facebook. Right now, the biggest thing missing is support for social networks beyond those two. Hootsuite would seriously benefit from providing the same analytics for LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+.
I'd also like to see some more content specific metrics, and provide drill-down capabilities. While Facebook boards will show you reach numbers, Hootsuite could also show you potential reach for tweets by adding tweeters and retweeters followers in a metric. This helps you see which content is being shared by influencers. I'd also like to be able to drill-down on graphs and open the posts published on a given day. When you see a spike in your engagement metrics, the first thing you want to know is what generated that - it would be nice if you could open a list of, or even open tweets and posts from graphs. I'd also like to see the post and tweet lists have active hyperlinks. When browsing the list for tweets and posts that have received the most engagement, it'd be nice to be able to open hyperlinks and see the content the generated the interaction.
A Missed Opportunity: No Response or Social Service Analytics
We use Buffer and Hootsuite as our two primary social media management tools. We use Buffer to post, monitor, and optimize content. We use Hootsuite to monitor our streams and interact with our social community. We're not the only people who do this. Many teams use Hootsuite specifically for stream monitoring and community management. I was struck by the fact that Hootsuite's analytics didn't have social response, interaction, and service metrics. Hootsuite should consider adding response and social service metrics to their analytics. That's a feature, I believe, many current Hootsuite users would pay for. A short list of some of the response and social service metrics I'd like to see are the following:
- Inbound volume.
- Response volume.
- Percentage of inquiries responded to.
- First response time.
- Average response time
So, after the first look, Hootsuite's new analytics is off to a great start. The reports look great, and boards is a flexible tool that could potentially be an awesome tool if reporting and data export are added, and if Hootsuite includes other major platforms like LinkedIn, and Instagram in their analytics and boards features. In terms of pricing, in its current form, the pricing is steep at $480-$720 a year, but we have to wait and see what's included when the product is released.
Another thing that's needed is a trial for boards. This isn't one currently. Hootsuite was flexible and told me I could pay for it, and get a refund if I didn't want it. Be aware, if you're in the middle of an annual agreement, you'll have to pay the annual fee to try it. You can't switch to monthly in the middle of your annual contract to go month-to-month for analytics.
It's also unclear how Hootsuite will implement these new Analytics - will the current, old-style reporting continue to be available in addition to the new? Currently I don't think they can get rid of the old reports because those reports cover other networks besides Twitter and Facebook.
In summary: It's beta, it looks like a great start and it's worth a look.
Over to you
I encourage you to take a look at the new analytics in Hootsuite. Let me know what you think of them in the comments.