Twitter’s Audience Insights Analytics Tool: The Big Leap Forward

Warning: The following article was written by a massive data analytics geek. Proceed at your own risk. 

For as long as I can remember I’ve had an insatiable thirst to understand the world around me. I always want to know the whole story. For awhile I actually thought about going into journalism so that I could be first on the scene to get everyone’s accounts. Social media, therefore, is a perfect match for me. I can piece together an understanding of how people relate to the world around them and what they care about by looking at what they share (and what they choose not to share). Data analytics provide me with the tools to get at these stories which is why I get absurdly excited when I come across a new way to access more data. This is why the updates in the Twitter Follower Analytics tool- “Audience Insights- has sent me clear over the moon.

Previously Twitter broke down your followers according to geography, most common interests, who else they follow and gender. For other tools a more indepth look at your audience focuses on when they tweet, who they tweet with, etc. All very content driven. Other than basic demographic markers such as location and gender (neither of which are required), we have to rely on content to paint a picture of who our audience is and what they care about. That’s why social listening is so important. How else are you going to figure this out?

At least that’s what I would have told you yesterday. Before Twitter made its Great Leap Forward. And no I’m not exaggerating. Just look at this analysis of my audience:

Overall Audience Analysis

(Now let’s be clear- we have yet to hear the basis for these findings such as sample size, what “match rate” means, or even how this data got calculated. But I do know the reputation of Twitter Analytics as well as some of the individuals who work there and I feel confident that these are genuine insights and as such are a massive advance in social strategy.)

This is an insane amount of detail. I really like the ability to compare my audience against the entire Twitter audience. When doing a strategy it’s important for me to put myself outside of my highly technical world. Just look at the difference between my followers and the overall Twitter population when it comes to Marketing as an interest- 81%. That’s huge. Compare that, however, to Business News and General Info- 52% difference. That means that if I’m looking to increase my external following it would behoove me to think about tweeting some more general business stuff as oppossed to purely niche marketing studies. That’s highly valuable information.

But the data that I think is the most groundbreaking is the Consumer Behavior tab:

Twitter Consumer Behavior

This is a total treasure trove of information. (Once again I’m dying to know how they’re calculating all of this. I also want to know what they mean by “Ethnic Explorers” and the rest of those categories.) This data is available in reports but in “the average user is more likely to do X than Y”. Having it in a quantifiable form is a major breakthrough. In particular this is going to be amazing for Influencer Marketing by allowing us to craft highly individualized strategies based on what a person’s audience is actually interested rather than what you hypothesize they’re interested in- or what the person themselves believe their audience to be interested in.

Of course this assumes that we’ll be able to get this level of analysis for other people’s accounts rather than simply our own and whether Twitter will release this level of data to their analytics partners and that’s a big IF. But regardless I believe that by giving us this additional level of data today Twitter has demonstrated what the future of social strategy can and will be.

And for a data geek it’s a beautiful and exciting thing.

Have you checked out your Twitter Audience Insights yet? What do you think? Did anything surprise you? Tweet me @suzimcc! 

A Social Strategist’s Guide to Free Social Analytics Platforms

It seems that I’m constantly searching for a good list of free analytic tools. As a freelance social strategist I’m often dependent on the “lite” versions of fancy platforms. In some ways I think this is a bit of a boon. Social media analytics are still quite fuzzy. Be honest- do you actually know what “reach” means? Using the free versions of tools means that I have to access multiple platforms to get the full picture as opposed to relying on a one-stop platform. It’s always useful to compare and contrast what the different visualizations show. It makes you think through what the numbers actually mean as opposed to getting swept away by the pretty pictures. Or at least that’s how I justify this to myself!

There are some great products out there. The paid versions are incredibly powerful and most will act as one stop shops for your analytics.  Many of these platforms have corresponding free version that often specializes in a certain type of analytic. By using several of these tools together you can create your own powerful analytic platform without spending a dime.


This tool allows you to search for a url, twitter handle, phrase, or hashtag to get an over all picture of user interaction with it. I like to use this tool to gauge the influencer level. The free version provides only a general snapshot but I find it to be a good jumping off point. It also generates some easy to explain analytics which are great for basic presentations. I find the url, phrase, and hashtag search features to be less useful. In the free version tweet reach plays around with the sample size in a way that can be misleading and if you’re looking to do some in-depth analytics you might as well look elsewhere.



This is a very simple yet very cool hashtag research tool. Tools like allow you to track hashtags but you first need to know what you’re looking for and that’s what provides. It also provides you a list of the top 5 influencers in that given hashtag as well as an overall look at the hashtag’s popularity (be careful of sample size for this analytic).

In this example I’m searching for hashtags related to #cognitivecomputing. I can also see the most recent tweets using this hashtag. That’s a great way to double-check the reliability sing With hashtag trackers there’s always the danger that spambots have taken over.



A great tool for account acceleration both for yourself and your clients. The free version is really all you will need. The only feature of the paid version that’s nice is the ability to keep track of when you followed or unfollower a user. But you can get a general idea of this by going chronologically through your “following” list. Followers who have similar interests to you are much more likely to follow-back. Tweepi also allows you to see the likelihood that a persona will actually follow you back. This can be very helpful particularly when you’re getting an account started. A high level influencer will probably not follow someone who only has 60 followers.

Tweepi 1

Tweepi 2


A very powerful tool to track the overall health of your social media presence. You can get one stop stats for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google +, WordPress, and many many more. But be forewarned, this is one of those platforms where the free version is meant to tantalize you towards the paid version. I’ve found this incredibly useful for tracking the results of account acceleration.


Simply Measured

This is a great example of a free version of a powerful analytics platform that can absolutely stand alone. In particular it’s useful to analyze your twitter audience. It generates great charts that you can export directly to powerpoint. You can also download the entire dataset to an excel spreadsheet. A note of caution– the analysis is based on a sampling of 1,000 of your followers to make sure you treat the data accordingly.

simply measured

Spider by oneQube

This is a forerunner of the next generation of social listening tools. Their goal is to harmonize listening with interaction. You can put together a detailed project based on link-targeting, hashtags, keywords, mentions, geolocating, influencer status, gender, biography, number of followers, basically you name it and they’ve got it.
All tweets matching your criteria will be put together in your report. You can even have Spider email you whenever a tweet is added to your project so you can immediately respond. They’ve added a new feature allowing you to export the matching profiles into a twitter list.

Spider combines realtime listening with realtime response. For fun I put together a report looking for mentions of the IBM Food Truck at SXSW. I added a geographical filter to only give me results coming from Austin. Just take a minute to think of all that can be done with that type of tailored info generated immediately in realtime. Very very cool. Spider is available for  a  7 day trial.


What are your go-to free social media analytic tools? Comment below or tweet them to me @suzimcc