Wondering which of your social media tactics are working? Want to better focus your time, effort, and budget? You need a social media analytics tool.

In this article, I’ll cover some of the best free social media analytics tools available, along with some paid options (for the true nerds who want to dive deep on the data and see real returns).

Then you’ll be ready to learn which social media metrics are important to track.

Not ready to start looking for analytics tools? Get a primer on what social media analytics even is.


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Why you need social media analytics tools

Social media analytics tools help you create performance reports to share with your team, stakeholders, and boss — to figure out what’s working and what’s not. They should also provide the historical data you need to assess your social media marketing strategy on both macro and micro levels.

Social media analytics tools can help you answer questions like:

  • Is it worth it for my business to keep posting on Pinterest?
  • What were our top posts on LinkedIn this year?
  • Should we post more on Instagram next month?
  • Which network drove the most brand awareness for our product launch?
  • What kind of posts do my followers like to comment on?

… and many more.

Watch this video to see how the Hootsuite team uses social media analytics every day:

13 of the best social media analytics tools for 2024

1. Hootsuite Analytics

Key benefits: Performance data from every social network in one place with easy-to-understand reports

Paid or free? Paid tool

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate

Best for: Business owners who run their own social media, social media managers at small-to-medium sized businesses, marketing teams

Most social media management platforms have built-in analytics tools. I hope you’ll forgive me for saying Hootsuite’s reporting capabilities are my favorite. But it’s the tool I know and love best.

viewing social media analytics on multiple networks in Hootsuite

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Imagine Twitter analytics, Instagram analytics, Facebook analytics, TikTok analytics, Pinterest analytics, and LinkedIn analytics all in one place. Hootsuite Analytics offers a complete picture of all your social media efforts, so you don’t have to check each platform individually.

It saves time by making it easy to compare results across networks.

Social media post metrics:

  • Clicks
  • Comments
  • Reach
  • Engagement rate
  • Impressions
  • Shares
  • Saves
  • Video views
  • Video reach
  • And more

Profile metrics:

  • Follower growth over time
  • Negative feedback rate
  • Profile visits
  • Reactions
  • Overall engagement rate
  • And more

Best time to post recommendations

Ever spend a bunch of time writing and designing a social post only to have it fall completely flat? There could be a lot of reasons for that. But one of the most common reasons this happens is posting at the wrong time. A.k.a. Posting when your target audiences are not online or not interested in engaging with you.

This is why our Best Time to Publish tool is one of the most popular features of Hootsuite Analytics. It looks at your unique historical social media data and recommends the most optimal times to post based on three different goals:

  1. Engagement
  2. Impressions
  3. Link clicks
Best Time to Publish - Facebook Heatmap

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Most social media analytics tools will only recommend posting times based on engagement. Or they’ll use data from universal benchmarks, instead of your unique performance history.

Other cool things you can do with Hootsuite Analytics:

  • Customize report templates for only the metrics you care about
  • Do easy competitor analysis
  • Track the productivity of your social team (response times, and resolution time for assigned posts, mentions, and comments)
  • Monitor mentions, comments, and tags related to your business to avoid PR disasters before they happen

On top of all of that, Hootsuite won the 2022 MarTech Breakthrough Award for Best Overall Social Media Management Platform!

And, according to reviews at least, the social media analytics tools were a big part of that win:

“Makes social media so much easier!

The ease of scheduling posts is amazing. The analytics for reporting are incredible. You can create you own personalized reports.”

– Melissa R. Social Media Manager

Competitive analysis

Hootsuite Analytics does Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter competitive analysis for you. You can track up to 20 competitors per network, and get a clear view of your strengths and weaknesses — plus actionable insights on the top posts, hashtags, and content formats in your niche.

Follow these 4 simple steps to track competitors with Hootsuite:

  1. Sign in to your Hootsuite account and pick Analytics from the main menu on the left side of the dashboard.
  2. Then, click on Competitive analysis in the Benchmarking section.
  3. At the top of the page, use the dropdown list of your social media profiles to select the one you want to compare to competitors. 
  4. Then, pick the competitors you want to measure your performance against. To do that, go into the second dropdown list and check the boxes next to the competitors you want to view. To add competitors, click Manage competitors at the bottom of the dropdown box. 
Social media competitor analysis in Hootsuite Analytics: Selecting a competitor

Then, type the name of a competitor into the search bar and select the correct profile from the dropdown list. Depending on your Hootsuite plan, you can add between 2 and 20 social accounts per network (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) to your watchlist.

Social media competitor analysis in Hootsuite Analytics: Adding a new competitor

And that’s it! Now you can browse several competitive reports, including:

Overview, where you can see the number of posts you and your competitors posted in the selected timeframe (that can be adjusted in the top right corner of the dashboard) as well as every account’s posting frequency, average engagement, number of followers, and audience growth rate.

Social media competitor analysis in Hootsuite Analytics: Overview report

Post performance, where you can review your and your competitors’ top posts and sort results by likes, comments, and engagement — and quickly fetch inspiration for what to publish next.

Performance by post type, where you can find out what types of posts — photos, videos, carousels, or Reels — are most popular with each brand’s audience. Results can be sorted to show which post types get the most likes, comments, or engagement.

Social media competitor analysis in Hootsuite Analytics: Performance by post type, pie charts

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Post performance (by comments, likes, or estimated engagement), where you can see how you and your competitors did every day within the specified timeframe — all in one easy-to-read graph. You can drill down results by post type, or stick to the overall view.

Social media competitor analysis in Hootsuite Analytics: Overall post performance by comments graph

Trending hashtags… which speaks for itself.

Social media competitor analysis in Hootsuite Analytics: Trending hashtags report

Post length, where you can find out how many characters and hashtags, on average, your competitors use in their posts.

Social media competitor analysis in Hootsuite Analytics: Post length report

Learn more about competitive analysis in Hootsuite Analytics.

Industry benchmarking

Need help setting realistic goals? Or maybe you’re not a fan of manually collecting data for audits and SWOT analyses?

With Hootsuite’s social media benchmarking, you can find out how others in your industry are doing on social and compare your results with just a few clicks. 

To get industry benchmarks, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Hootsuite dashboard and head to Analytics.
  2. In the menu on the left side of the screen, scroll to Benchmarking and click Industry.
  3. Pick an industry that best describes your business. 
Selecting an industry in Hootsuite Analytics Industry Benchmarking

That’s it! Now you can see how your results compare to average performance stats within your industry. You can set up custom timeframes, switch between networks — Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok — and look up benchmarks for the following metrics:

  • Profile impressions
  • Profile reach
  • Followers
  • Audience growth rate
  • Engagement rate
  • Video plays
  • Posting frequency
  • Clicks
  • Shares

… and more.

Industry benchmarking in Hootsuite Analytics; Two graphs comparing post engagement rate and post like numbers.

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You will also find tips and resources to improve your social media content performance right in the summary section:

Industry benchmarking in Hootsuite Analytics: Performance summary with dedicated resources for improvement

And, if you need to present your results to your team, boss, or other stakeholders, you can easily download your comparison report as a PDF file. 

Hootsuite Analytics is included in the Hootsuite Professional plan, which you can try for free for 30 days.

Learn more in this video or sign up for a Hootsuite Analytics free trial.


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2. Google Analytics

Key benefit: See how much traffic and leads flow to your website from your social media channels

Paid or free: Free tool

Skill level: all skill levels

Best for: all social media professionals should be familiar with Google Analytics, but especially those who work for a web-based business

You’ve probably heard of Google Analytics already. That’s because it’s one of the best free tools to use to learn about your website visitors. And if you’re a social marketer who likes to drive traffic to your website, then it’s an invaluable resource to have in your back pocket.

While it’s not a social media reporting tool per se, you can use it to set up reports that will help you:

  • See which social media platforms give you the most traffic
  • See what content drives the most leads and traffic on which social networks
  • Get to know your audience with demographic data
  • Calculate the ROI of your social media campaigns
Google Analytics dashboard showing sources of traffic for a blog post

With these data points, you’ll be able to get the most out of your social media campaigns and effectively strategize for the future. No social media strategy is complete without Google analytics.

Learn more: How to use Google Analytics to track social media success

3. Sprout Social

Key benefits: In-depth reporting across social networks

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate

Best for: Marketing teams at larger organizations

Sprout Social is another top contender in the battle of social media management tools, and it may be worth your consideration. Offering scheduling and analytics for all the major social media platforms, Sprout can help you plan and execute your Instagram — and wider social media — strategy.

scheduling a social media post using sprout social

Source: Sprout Social

Like Hootsuite, Sprout offers a full-featured analytics dashboard, which provides details on both your paid and organic posts and helps you decide when to publish content for the best results. You can also easily white-label and download reports from the Sprout dashboard.

Sprout is quite a bit more expensive than Hootsuite, but Hootsuite offers more features and integrations. Compare Hootsuite and Sprout to see which one works best for you.

4. Buffer

Key benefits: Simple solutions for basic Instagram performance tracking, free plan

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate

Best for: Business owners who run their own social media, solo social media managers at small-to-medium-sized businesses, agencies

Buffer is another social media scheduler that comes with tools to help you build your presence on social media. It allows you to schedule posts to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Mastodon.

buffer is a social media scheduling tool with analytics that display the best day to post, the best type of post, and the best post frequency for your account

Source: Buffer

But when it comes to analytics, Buffer is relatively light on features. It doesn’t offer analytics for all platforms and doesn’t come with social listening features, paid content tracking, or competitive benchmarking. However, Buffer’s user-friendly dashboard is simple and straightforward, making it great for social media managers who just want to get in, schedule, and get out.

Be sure to read our guide to Hootsuite vs. Buffer for more on how these platforms compare.

5. Later

Key benefits: Simple and user-friendly solutions for basic performance tracking

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate

Best for: Business owners who run their own social media, solo social media managers at small-to-medium-sized businesses

Later is a social media management platform similar to Hootsuite (you can compare Later and Hootsuite here). It comes with a variety of features, from analytics to scheduling tools, but it really shines through as a platform for smaller brands and creators who like to visualize and preview social media content before they post.

Later social media tool

Source: Later

While Later can also help you measure the performance of your social media content and optimize posting times, the platform lacks some more advanced analytics features like competitive analysis and industry benchmarking.

6. RivalIQ

Key benefit: Fully customizable reporting that can draw data from all major social media networks.

Paid or free: Paid tool

Skill level: intermediate

Best for: social media managers

RivalIQ was designed to let social media managers be data scientists, without the pesky certification. RivalIQ delivers on-demand analytical data, alerts, and custom reports from major social media platforms.

Easily conduct a competitive analysis or a complete social media audit with RivalIQ’s in-depth reporting. Better still, you can actually present your findings directly to your director, stakeholders, and marketing team with fully-customizable charts, graphics, and dashboards.

But RivalIQ isn’t just for finding the big picture! Comprehensive social post analytics lets you see exactly which posts work for each platform and identify why they work. Know exactly whether it was the hashtags, time of day, post type, or which network’s audience led to success. Then take that knowledge and double down for more success!

Social Media Analytics Tools example: Rival IQ screenshot

Pro tip:  Getting owned by the competition? With RivalIQ you can find all the same info above, but from their social media accounts. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em (then beat ’em at their own game)!

Learn more: Try a demo or start your free trial with RivalIQ

7. Hootsuite Insights powered by Brandwatch

Key benefits: Analyze brand sentiment and customer demographics in real time, alongside all your other social media performance data

Free or paid: Paid tool

Skill level: Intermediate to advanced

Best for: Social media professionals, PR and communications teams, small to large social media teams

Hootsuite Insights is a powerful enterprise-level social listening tool that doubles as an analytics tool.

It goes beyond Hootsuite Analytics, tracking your earned social mentions so you can measure social sentiment and improve customer experience.

Brand sentiment dashboard in Hootsuite Insights showing spike in negative sentiment

It also analyzes data about your audience demographics like gender, location, and language. You can compare demographics across networks, or look at the aggregate picture of your audience for all networks combined.

This is a tool that really tells you a lot about your audience — and how they feel about you. It can tell you whether a spike in mentions is a victory or a disaster. And it can help you capitalize or avoid either one, respectively.

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8. Brandwatch

Key benefits: Track and analyze data from more than 95 million sources, including blogs, forums, and review sites, as well as social networks

Free or paid: Paid tool

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate

Best for: PR and communications teams, social media marketers who focus on engagement and brand monitoring

Brandwatch is a powerful tool with five easy-to-use social media analytics report templates:

  • Summary: A high-level view of social conversations about your brand, competitors, or keywords.
  • Trends: A report on the conversations and accounts influencing a specific topic or hashtag, including mentions per hour or minute.
  • Reputation: A checkup on sentiment trends you might need to monitor or address.
  • Influencers: A report to help you identify influencer marketing opportunities relevant to your brand and analyze their activity.
  • Competitor comparison: Benchmarking social media data for conversation volume, sentiment, and share of voice.

Learn more: You can add Brandwatch to your Hootsuite dashboard 

9. Talkwalker

Key benefits: Monitor conversations from more than 150 million sources to analyze engagement, potential reach, comments, sentiment, and emotions

Free or paid: Paid tool

Skill level: intermediate to advanced

Best for: social media managers, PR and communications teams, brand monitors, product marketers, researchers

Talkwalker offers analytics related to social conversations beyond your owned social properties, including:

  • Mentions
  • Brand sentiment
  • Important influencers
  • Author lists

You can filter by region, demographics, device, type of content, and more.

Talkwalker is especially useful to spot activity peaks in conversations about your brand. This can help you determine the best times for your brand to post on social media.

Learn more: You can add Talkwalker to your Hootsuite dashboard

10. Keyhole

Key benefits: In-depth automated social media reports and dashboards for all platforms

Free or paid: Paid tool

Skill level: intermediate to advanced

Best for: Enterprise-level businesses and organizations

Keyhole lets you report on everything: social media campaigns, brand mentions and interactions, hashtag impact, and even influencer campaign results. But that’s not all!

You can drill down into your impressions, reach, share of voice, and even analyze your competitor’s social media strategies.

Social media analytics tools example: Keyhole

If you’re utilizing influencer marketing as part of your strategy, Keyhole has reporting capabilities that will let you identify the ideal influencers to work with.

Best of all? Keyhole allows you to effectively never work in a spreadsheet again. Nice!

11. Channelview Insights

Key benefits: Analyze the YouTube performance of multiple channels

Free or paid: Paid tool (free for Hootsuite Enterprise users)

Skill level: all skill levels

Best for: YouTube marketers and creators, social media managers who run a YouTube channel alongside other social channels

The Channelview Insights App adds YouTube analytics to the Hootsuite dashboard.

With this integration, you can analyze your YouTube video and channel performance alongside all your other social media channels. You can also schedule automatic, regular reports.

Easily see the following metrics in one place:

  • Views, engagement, subscription activity
  • Video traffic sources
  • Audience insights for demographics, geography, acquisition and more
Channelview Insights showing YouTube analytics traffic sources piechart

12. Mentionlytics

Key benefit: Track mentions, keywords, and sentiment across multiple languages on social channels and elsewhere on the web.

Free or paid: Paid tool

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate

Best for: PR and communications teams, brand monitoring teams, product marketers, researchers at small to medium-sized businesses.

Want to get a big picture view of what’s being said about your brand on the internet? Mentionlytics is a great entry into the world of social media monitoring — especially if you run a global business in more than one language.

Mentionlytics "Top Website Mentioners" chart

Other things you can do with Mentionlytics:

  • Sentiment analysis
  • Find top influencers that follow you
  • Filter results by keywords
  • Reply to mentions directly

13. Panoramiq Insights

Key benefit: tracks Instagram analytics, including Instagram Story analytics

Free or paid: Paid (or free for Hootsuite Enterprise users)

Skill level: All skill levels

Best for: Instagram marketers

Alert all the Instagram marketers. Panoramiq Insights is perfect for Hootsuite free users or pro users who want to get deeper insights on their Stories in particular. (Just download the app from our App Library).

Instagram Analytics in Panoramiq Insights

Among other things, Panoramiq Insights lets you:

  • Analyze follower demographics, including age, gender, country, city and language
  • Monitor Instagram account activity (for up to two accounts), including views and new followers
  • Find your best posts with view and engagement analytics
  • Measure Story views and interactions

Free social media analytics report template

We’ve created a free social media analytics template you can use to collect data about your performance on the various social networks. It’s a great place to start if you aren’t ready to invest in a tool that will automatically collect data for you. Simply download it, make a copy, and start customizing it with your own data.

social media analytics report template

Bonus: Get a free social media analytics report template that shows you the most important metrics to track for each network.

For more information on how to share your analytics data effectively, check out our post on how to create a smart and simple social media report.

FAQs about social media analytics

What is meant by social media analytics?

Social media analytics is the collection and analysis of performance data that helps you measure the success of your social media strategy. It includes tracking metrics like engagement, reach, likes, and many more across all your social channels.

Which social media analytics tool is the best?

Hootsuite Analytics is one of the best social media analytics tools on the market. It helps social media managers, marketers, and business owners track metrics from all major networks (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube) in one easy-to-use dashboard. Hootsuite users can also generate beautiful custom results with just a few clicks.

What are the benefits of social media analytics?

Social media analytics tells you if your tactics and social strategies are working, and helps you better focus your time, effort, and budgets to reach the best results.

What is the best way to track social media analytics?

Most social media networks have free built-in analytics tools — but the easiest way to track social media analytics from multiple accounts and networks in one place is to use a social media management tool like Hootsuite.

Track your social media performance and maximize your budget with Hootsuite. Publish your posts and analyze the results in the same, easy-to-use dashboard. Try it free today.

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