Untangling Common Terms in Social Media Analytics & Intelligence

By Henley Worthen · December 09, 2022

Untangling Common Terms in Social Media Analytics & Intelligence

There’s no denying that marketers rely heavily on insights to help strategize, plan, and track their social performance– but with so many terms and buzzwords pointing to a hodgepodge of data, finding clarity is difficult.

As your friendly social video intelligence partner, we at Tubular decided it was high time to break it down, get things straight, and define the most commonly used terms across the social media community: Data, Measurement, Reports, Analytics, Insights, and Intelligence.

Let’s start small and build up, shall we? 

1. Data: Raw sets of numbers or facts

Many people use this term broadly to describe well-thought-out reports and meaningful insights. However, data is just a raw, unorganized set of numbers or facts that requires interpretation.

Here’s an example: 

Every month Tubular processes data from social platforms such as:

  • 220M videos
  • 5T views
  • 400B engagements (which is a combination of actions such as likes, follows, and shares)

2. Measurement: Data that has been quantified

In other words, measurements put data into context

You can’t report, analyze or draw insights from something that isn’t measured, to begin with. Therefore, think of measurement as a process that takes data points and begins to organize them for future reporting and analysis for the business.

Here’s an example: 

Let’s build on the data points above. Even those seemingly straightforward data points have to be standardized, weighted, and/or interpreted in order to be useful. For example, what counts as a view? Is it one second? Five seconds? There is no universal standard across platforms. 

The number of views is a data point, but without context, it doesn’t mean anything. A view could count for two seconds or two minutes. To process and quantify views, we put data points into the context of minutes watched. This is why Tubular developed a standardized Quality Views measurement. Quality Views is a measurement of views lasting at least 30 seconds OR views to completion for videos shorter than 30 seconds. With this measurement, we can also calculate the number of minutes viewers spent watching a creator’s content. 

3. Reports: Organized, defined measurements that shed understanding on past performance

At Tubular, we view this as a stake in the ground to understand historical measurements. 

Here’s an example: 

Sarah, the Director of Social Media at a leading sports apparel brand, checks a report showing audience overlap across two top creators in her category. She notices that creator A has a 25% overlap while creator B has a 10% overlap. This report showing historical audience overlap enables Sarah to launch a campaign with creator A to drive conversions and a separate campaign with creator B to drive awareness and expand her audience. 

4. Analytics: Contextual understandings gained through combined and patterned datasets used to answer tough questions or find forward-glancing solutions

While reports help you look at your past performance, analytics help you solve tomorrow’s problems. Analytics is the process of connecting multiple measurements to reach conclusions used for problem-solving. 

Here’s an example: 

To build on our last example, Sarah the Director of Social Media at a sports apparel brand, used past audience overlap reports to choose influencer partnerships. Now she is asked to project which campaign will drive the most traffic to their website. To do this, she continued to look at how those creators drove past traffic to the website and then made logical assumptions on how the future campaigns would fuel more traffic. After reviewing multiple variables, she presented a business case that creator A would drive more traffic than creator B because the stronger audience overlap meant there was more familiarity with the brand. 

5. Insights: New perceptions and actionable takeaways gleaned from analytics

Insights and analytics are partners in crime. Once you have data configured into measurements, you interpret them through analysis to reach insights. Insights allow us to take action based on a new understanding or discovery. 

Here’s an example:  

An analysis of different niche video topics lets us reach a comparative view of content performance within a general category. The graph below shows performance within the Travel category. We can see that Caribbean Travel is outperforming the more saturated topics like Beaches and National Parks. Ski Resorts is also performing relatively well and could offer marketers room for growth opportunities. 

This gives insights to marketers and content creators who want to reach audiences quickly and easily. Leaning into niche topics where viewership is high and the supply of video is low means they are more likely to be seen. 

6. Intelligence: The combination of insights to build a story that enables marketers to make visionary decisions

Intelligence is what you can gain from insights that continually deepen your understanding of a landscape. Because all the moving pieces make more sense in the context of one another, you’re better able to problem-solve and anticipate what’s next.

Here’s an example: 

At Tubular, we are constantly analyzing data and pulling out meaningful insights. This in-depth understanding of the social video universe gives us foresight into what’s next. 

Here’s what we predict for 2023: 

  • Creators will play more integral roles in businesses as stakeholders, marketing consultants, and consumer intelligence experts.
  • Social trends will continue to turn over faster. Right now we’re looking at about a two week climb until viewership peaks, so predictive insights are crucial.
  • Philanthropic campaigns around social causes attract massive audiences across many categories.
  • Consumer interest in AR & VR will continue to rise considering the 38% growth in this content in 2022.
  • Search on social will take over search engines as more people look to Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for answers.

Find out more about what’s to come in: Navigating Social Video in 2023: What you need to thrive


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