How to Evaluate Buffer’s Analytical Insights

By James T. Cains

In addition to providing data on your individual social media posts, Buffer also provides insights into your overall social media efforts — aptly named Insights. With these types of analytics, you can see trends over time to better understand the growth of your social media efforts. To view Insights, log in to your Buffer account, view your dashboard, and click the Analytics tab at the top. Then choose the appropriate subtab for Insights.

Buffer shows you a little different data, depending on which social media account you’re viewing. On the left, select the social media account for which you want to view your Insights data.

For Twitter and Pinterest, Buffer shows you the growth of your total number of followers and new followers over the past seven days (see Figure 1). This is especially helpful at the beginning of a promotional campaign, when you might expect to gain the most followers. Obviously, people tend to follow when they like what you say or when they have a strong interest in what you’re promoting, so this is a good barometer for the success of your efforts. Unfortunately, for Facebook and LinkedIn, Buffer doesn’t include the same kind of data about friends and connections.

For all of your social media channels, you can view user activity on your posts for the past seven days, broken down by clicks, likes, retweets, favorites, and so on, depending on the channel (see Figure 1). This kind of data shows you the trend of what your followers, friends, and connections are doing with your posts over that period of time. With this, you can pinpoint which efforts are successful by seeing which days you get the most user activity; the reverse is true, as well. So you’ll want to pay attention to what messaging is working best and focus on that, while avoiding what isn’t working.

Figure 1: Get insights into your Buffer posts.

Figure 1: Get insights into your Buffer posts.

Source: buffer.com

Below that, you see a summary of your own activity trend — that is, how much you’ve published (see Figure 2). You can use this to explain to your stakeholders how much you’ve put into your efforts and coordinate with the user activity to determine what’s successful and what needs improvement. Remember, a high quantity of posts doesn’t guarantee success; it comes down to quality. If you’re sending out a ton of posts, but you’re not getting much in the way of user activity, then you probably need to focus more on the quality of your posts.

Figure 2: View your own posting trend in Buffer.

Figure 2: View your own posting trend in Buffer.

Source: buffer.com

The last bit of data in the Insights area lists your top posts for the past thirty days. This is really valuable because you don’t have to do the work of finding your successful posts to evaluate what you did right. Buffer lists those for you. So you can see for yourself what worked and emulate that in future posts. For example, you might see that most of your top posts have images, which is a big clue that your follower, friends, and connections prefer to see a visual of what you’re promoting!