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SOCIAL CONTENT ANALYSIS
How to figure out what’s working and what isn’t
Pop Quiz


Do you know the answers to these questions about your brand’s content across social
channels?
 What call-to-action keywords do your Facebook fans respond to most?
 Are fans more likely to retweet content about a buy one get one free promo or a 50% off
  sale?
 To maximize engagement, should your Instagram photos be extreme close-ups or should
  you use a tool like PicStitch to splice different photos together?
Answers



 Industry reports are great, but aren’t specific to your brand
     I’ve seen some clients with data that is nearly an exact opposite of suggested “best practices”
 Insights can make you more effective and efficient as a content marketer
 You can calculate them yourself with MS Excel, Pivot Tables and a little elbow grease. I’ll
  show you how
Method

Using an example from Facebook posts
Collecting and Organizing the Data


 Download your page’s post‐level data from Facebook Insights for the past six months
    I recommend going back two weeks, then pulling the previous six months
 Create a new spreadsheet and splice together the data that matters most to you for your
  goals. Some basics to begin with:
    Reach
    Impressions
    Engagement Rate (Engaged Users/Reach)
    Negative Feedback Rate (Lifetime Negative Feedback/Reach)
Editing Columns

 Delete columns with information you’re not interested in, add columns for Engagement
  Rate and Negative Feedback Rate, change column headers and delete descriptions –
  whatever makes the most sense to you
Formatting Dates and Times

 Add four additional columns to the right of the Posted column. Title them Day of week,
  Date, Time and Rounded
     Use the following formulas to calculate the first value in each column (replace CELL with the
      correct cell info)
          Day of week: =TEXT(CELL,”dddd”)
          Date: =INT(CELL)
          Time: =MOD(CELL,1)
          Rounded: = ROUND(CELL/(1/24),0)*(1/24)

     You’ll probably have to format each of the columns to get them to display correctly. Just select
      the column, right click and choose Format Cells
     If it all looks good, drag the formula down to fill the rest of the cells
Formatting Dates and Times

 The four new columns should look something like this:
Calculating Post Length


 Add a column to the right of the Post Message column and title it Characters
     In the first row, type =LEN(CELL) where CELL is the appropriate cell
     If that gives a character count, drag the formula down to the rest of the cells
 Add another column to the right of the Characters column and title it Post Length
     Use a LOOKUP table to define ranges. If you’re not familiar with the LOOKUP function, here’s an
      explanation. You can also use the example on the next slide and substitute your own numbers
Calculating Post Length




Use a LOOKUP table to define
ranges for post length. Going
smaller than intervals of 10
probably won’t give any
actionable insights, so don’t
go overboard
Adding Labels

 Add a few columns for things you want to track (campaign name, purpose of post,
  topic, call to action style, etc.)
 Think of these columns as buckets. You need to have enough content to fill all of the
  buckets, so try not to get too granular
Bonus Points: Adding Web Analytics


 If you’re using UTM tags in the links you share on social sites, hopefully they’re pulling in
  conversion and/or goal data for each post (whether you’re an e-commerce site or not). If
  you have it, take the time to add it into your spreadsheet. Tedious, but extremely helpful
  (you’ll see an example later in the deck). I recommend adding:
     Unique Visits
     Conversion Rate or Goal Completion Rate




    Not sure why or how to track conversions or goals? Here’s a great article to get you started.
Building Pivot Tables

Now, you can create Pivot Tables to help you “bubble up” what’s working and what isn’t.
From your spreadsheet:
 Click Insert>Pivot Table
 Highlight the source data (should be everything on your spreadsheet, except for the
  LOOKUP table) and choose to have the table placed in a new spreadsheet
 Drag and drop items from the fields list to areas in the table builder (screenshot on next
  slide)
 Play around with different ways of mashing up the data. It’s always a good idea to add a
  “Count of…” column that counts some unique identifier for each post (in this example, it’s
  Post ID), so you can make sure you’re not working with really small or skewed fields
Building Pivot Tables

• If you’re not sure what the data “looks” like, you can toss it into a PivotChart and see if
  that helps
Sample Applications

How to pull insights from the data to improve your content
Discover Effective CTA Styles and Words

   If the goal is engagement, explicit calls to action are more effective than implicit CTA’s
   Using the phrase “let us know in the comments” generates more engagement than “like if.”
   Implicit CTA’s with the words “when” and “how” typically drive more engagement
   Using “like if” and “share if” result in 7x more negative reactions from fans (hiding content, unliking the page, etc.)
      Applying the insight: Use more explicit calls to action, but use “like/share if” CTA’s with caution. Ask more questions using the words
       “when” and “how”
Test The Rule of Thirds

   We can see that curated content is posted less frequently, but has a higher engagement rate
   When the brand posts content about the fans, they comment and convert at a higher rate. Specifically, posts about
    guest bloggers get higher click rates and conversion rates
   Posts about home‐related topics and travel are highly shareable and engaging content
   Posts about toys generate an abnormally high amount of negative feedback
      Applying the insight: Post more curated content to increase engagement rate (and EdgeRank). Working in more guest blogger
       content will help drive sales and creating more posts about home and travel ‐related topics can help drive engagement. Consider
       reducing or eliminating posts about toys to reduce negative feedback (which hurts EdgeRank)
Find Topics That Resonate With Your Fans

   Posts about the animal shelter charity effort got far more engagement than the posts about the Earth Day efforts
   People are more likely to click on posts about productivity, but are less likely to share those posts
      Applying the insight: In the future, look to do more partnerships with animal ‐focused charities. You may want to try posting
       non‐charity content with animals in it to see if just adding animals increases engagement. Continue posting on productivity and
       organization, but consider doing a survey of fans/readers to see why they aren’t sharing the productivity articles. Is it because they
       don’t find them useful? Or possibly because they don’t want to share productivity “secrets” with others (co ‐workers, competitors,
       etc.)?
Choose the Best Content for Each Goal

Let’s assume that the purpose of our presence on Facebook is to do four things: build brand awareness, engage with
fans, drive online sales and establish ourselves as a thought leader in the industry
   For sales, a link is the best converting content. To help us build our brand, we want as many eyes as possible on our
    content and photos get the most impressions. The best content types to engage our fans are photos and video
      Applying the insight: Use the best content type for each goal more frequently, but continue to post alternate content types to see
       if there is a shift in the most effective content type (Ex. 50% of sales posts should be a link and the other 50% should be a mix of
       photo and video)
Application on Additional
                Platforms

  Utilizing the labeling strategy across social and web properties
Twitter
                                              Do links get more RT’s than comments?
                                              What’s the optimal tweet length?
                                              Do tweets with hashtags get more engagement?
Take it Anywhere                              Do links with vague descriptions get more clicks?


                                           Instagram
You can take this labeling strategy
and apply it across platforms. Get            Do close‐up shots do better than PicStitch shots?
Twitter data (from tools like Sprout          Do posts with hashtags get more engagement?
Social, Hootsuite), Instagram stats           Do photos of people do better than product shots?
(from tools like Statigram, Ink360),
Pinterest data (from tools like Pinerly,      Do photos of text get more engagement than regular photos?
Curalate) and figure out which
questions are most important to you,
                                           Pinterest
then add labels to your content to
help you answer the questions.                Do photos of clothes on models get more engagement than
                                               product shots?
                                              Do photos from Instagram do as well as photos from our website?
Here are a few examples of questions          Do photos with price info convert at a higher or lower rate than
you could answer with content labels:          photos without price info?
                                              Do small infographics get repined as frequently as large ones?
Words of Caution

 Obstacles to avoid and questions to ask
Potential Problems

 Beware of small data sets. If you’re trying to determine which content type is most
  effective for curated content and you only have a few posts of each type, it’s really easy
  to get skewed data. Below is an example of how one post can throw an entire table off.
     Ideally, you’d have more posts of each type so you’re not relying on such a small data set. You
      could also use the median instead of the average to prevent skewed data in your pivot table.
      Unfortunately, Excel doesn’t offer Median as one of the standard calculations in Pivot Tables, so
      you’ll need to hack one together using arrays.
Check Yourself

 Define your questions, then review the numbers. If you’re even remotely mathematically
  inclined (or just really love Excel), you can absolutely cripple yourself with the possibilities and
  different ways of looking at things, so be very specific in what you’re looking for
 Data is important, but so are your instincts. If you know that posting about current political
  events always generates high engagement, but creates a hostile environment on your page,
  go with your gut and scale back on the political content
 Correlation does not imply causation. Looking at data and crunching numbers can be pretty
  cool, but as with any “experiment,” it’s important to remember that LOTS of factors can
  influence if and how people interact with your content. Always look for underlying stories or
  factors that may have influenced the numbers
     I like to review the insights I find and pretend like I’m someone from a competing company whose single
      goal is to poke holes in my theory – ask (and answer) the hard questions. You’ll be better for it
 Test, refine, repeat. What worked a few months ago might not still work today. Make sure you’re
  looking at your data by date (in addition to label) and always testing new theories
     A good ratio to shoot for is 80% content you know “works” and 20% “test” content to help you find new
      insights
Author:

Go forth and create
                                          Courtney Livingston
good content.                             Digital Marketing Strategist
                                          courtneylivingston.com

       And if you have any questions or
       suggestions, please reach out!

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Social Content Analysis: Figuring Out What Works and What Doesn't

  • 1. SOCIAL CONTENT ANALYSIS How to figure out what’s working and what isn’t
  • 2. Pop Quiz Do you know the answers to these questions about your brand’s content across social channels?  What call-to-action keywords do your Facebook fans respond to most?  Are fans more likely to retweet content about a buy one get one free promo or a 50% off sale?  To maximize engagement, should your Instagram photos be extreme close-ups or should you use a tool like PicStitch to splice different photos together?
  • 3. Answers  Industry reports are great, but aren’t specific to your brand  I’ve seen some clients with data that is nearly an exact opposite of suggested “best practices”  Insights can make you more effective and efficient as a content marketer  You can calculate them yourself with MS Excel, Pivot Tables and a little elbow grease. I’ll show you how
  • 4. Method Using an example from Facebook posts
  • 5. Collecting and Organizing the Data  Download your page’s post‐level data from Facebook Insights for the past six months  I recommend going back two weeks, then pulling the previous six months  Create a new spreadsheet and splice together the data that matters most to you for your goals. Some basics to begin with:  Reach  Impressions  Engagement Rate (Engaged Users/Reach)  Negative Feedback Rate (Lifetime Negative Feedback/Reach)
  • 6. Editing Columns  Delete columns with information you’re not interested in, add columns for Engagement Rate and Negative Feedback Rate, change column headers and delete descriptions – whatever makes the most sense to you
  • 7. Formatting Dates and Times  Add four additional columns to the right of the Posted column. Title them Day of week, Date, Time and Rounded  Use the following formulas to calculate the first value in each column (replace CELL with the correct cell info)  Day of week: =TEXT(CELL,”dddd”)  Date: =INT(CELL)  Time: =MOD(CELL,1)  Rounded: = ROUND(CELL/(1/24),0)*(1/24)  You’ll probably have to format each of the columns to get them to display correctly. Just select the column, right click and choose Format Cells  If it all looks good, drag the formula down to fill the rest of the cells
  • 8. Formatting Dates and Times  The four new columns should look something like this:
  • 9. Calculating Post Length  Add a column to the right of the Post Message column and title it Characters  In the first row, type =LEN(CELL) where CELL is the appropriate cell  If that gives a character count, drag the formula down to the rest of the cells  Add another column to the right of the Characters column and title it Post Length  Use a LOOKUP table to define ranges. If you’re not familiar with the LOOKUP function, here’s an explanation. You can also use the example on the next slide and substitute your own numbers
  • 10. Calculating Post Length Use a LOOKUP table to define ranges for post length. Going smaller than intervals of 10 probably won’t give any actionable insights, so don’t go overboard
  • 11. Adding Labels  Add a few columns for things you want to track (campaign name, purpose of post, topic, call to action style, etc.)  Think of these columns as buckets. You need to have enough content to fill all of the buckets, so try not to get too granular
  • 12. Bonus Points: Adding Web Analytics  If you’re using UTM tags in the links you share on social sites, hopefully they’re pulling in conversion and/or goal data for each post (whether you’re an e-commerce site or not). If you have it, take the time to add it into your spreadsheet. Tedious, but extremely helpful (you’ll see an example later in the deck). I recommend adding:  Unique Visits  Conversion Rate or Goal Completion Rate Not sure why or how to track conversions or goals? Here’s a great article to get you started.
  • 13. Building Pivot Tables Now, you can create Pivot Tables to help you “bubble up” what’s working and what isn’t. From your spreadsheet:  Click Insert>Pivot Table  Highlight the source data (should be everything on your spreadsheet, except for the LOOKUP table) and choose to have the table placed in a new spreadsheet  Drag and drop items from the fields list to areas in the table builder (screenshot on next slide)  Play around with different ways of mashing up the data. It’s always a good idea to add a “Count of…” column that counts some unique identifier for each post (in this example, it’s Post ID), so you can make sure you’re not working with really small or skewed fields
  • 14.
  • 15. Building Pivot Tables • If you’re not sure what the data “looks” like, you can toss it into a PivotChart and see if that helps
  • 16. Sample Applications How to pull insights from the data to improve your content
  • 17. Discover Effective CTA Styles and Words  If the goal is engagement, explicit calls to action are more effective than implicit CTA’s  Using the phrase “let us know in the comments” generates more engagement than “like if.”  Implicit CTA’s with the words “when” and “how” typically drive more engagement  Using “like if” and “share if” result in 7x more negative reactions from fans (hiding content, unliking the page, etc.)  Applying the insight: Use more explicit calls to action, but use “like/share if” CTA’s with caution. Ask more questions using the words “when” and “how”
  • 18. Test The Rule of Thirds  We can see that curated content is posted less frequently, but has a higher engagement rate  When the brand posts content about the fans, they comment and convert at a higher rate. Specifically, posts about guest bloggers get higher click rates and conversion rates  Posts about home‐related topics and travel are highly shareable and engaging content  Posts about toys generate an abnormally high amount of negative feedback  Applying the insight: Post more curated content to increase engagement rate (and EdgeRank). Working in more guest blogger content will help drive sales and creating more posts about home and travel ‐related topics can help drive engagement. Consider reducing or eliminating posts about toys to reduce negative feedback (which hurts EdgeRank)
  • 19. Find Topics That Resonate With Your Fans  Posts about the animal shelter charity effort got far more engagement than the posts about the Earth Day efforts  People are more likely to click on posts about productivity, but are less likely to share those posts  Applying the insight: In the future, look to do more partnerships with animal ‐focused charities. You may want to try posting non‐charity content with animals in it to see if just adding animals increases engagement. Continue posting on productivity and organization, but consider doing a survey of fans/readers to see why they aren’t sharing the productivity articles. Is it because they don’t find them useful? Or possibly because they don’t want to share productivity “secrets” with others (co ‐workers, competitors, etc.)?
  • 20. Choose the Best Content for Each Goal Let’s assume that the purpose of our presence on Facebook is to do four things: build brand awareness, engage with fans, drive online sales and establish ourselves as a thought leader in the industry  For sales, a link is the best converting content. To help us build our brand, we want as many eyes as possible on our content and photos get the most impressions. The best content types to engage our fans are photos and video  Applying the insight: Use the best content type for each goal more frequently, but continue to post alternate content types to see if there is a shift in the most effective content type (Ex. 50% of sales posts should be a link and the other 50% should be a mix of photo and video)
  • 21. Application on Additional Platforms Utilizing the labeling strategy across social and web properties
  • 22. Twitter  Do links get more RT’s than comments?  What’s the optimal tweet length?  Do tweets with hashtags get more engagement? Take it Anywhere  Do links with vague descriptions get more clicks? Instagram You can take this labeling strategy and apply it across platforms. Get  Do close‐up shots do better than PicStitch shots? Twitter data (from tools like Sprout  Do posts with hashtags get more engagement? Social, Hootsuite), Instagram stats  Do photos of people do better than product shots? (from tools like Statigram, Ink360), Pinterest data (from tools like Pinerly,  Do photos of text get more engagement than regular photos? Curalate) and figure out which questions are most important to you, Pinterest then add labels to your content to help you answer the questions.  Do photos of clothes on models get more engagement than product shots?  Do photos from Instagram do as well as photos from our website? Here are a few examples of questions  Do photos with price info convert at a higher or lower rate than you could answer with content labels: photos without price info?  Do small infographics get repined as frequently as large ones?
  • 23. Words of Caution Obstacles to avoid and questions to ask
  • 24. Potential Problems  Beware of small data sets. If you’re trying to determine which content type is most effective for curated content and you only have a few posts of each type, it’s really easy to get skewed data. Below is an example of how one post can throw an entire table off.  Ideally, you’d have more posts of each type so you’re not relying on such a small data set. You could also use the median instead of the average to prevent skewed data in your pivot table. Unfortunately, Excel doesn’t offer Median as one of the standard calculations in Pivot Tables, so you’ll need to hack one together using arrays.
  • 25. Check Yourself  Define your questions, then review the numbers. If you’re even remotely mathematically inclined (or just really love Excel), you can absolutely cripple yourself with the possibilities and different ways of looking at things, so be very specific in what you’re looking for  Data is important, but so are your instincts. If you know that posting about current political events always generates high engagement, but creates a hostile environment on your page, go with your gut and scale back on the political content  Correlation does not imply causation. Looking at data and crunching numbers can be pretty cool, but as with any “experiment,” it’s important to remember that LOTS of factors can influence if and how people interact with your content. Always look for underlying stories or factors that may have influenced the numbers  I like to review the insights I find and pretend like I’m someone from a competing company whose single goal is to poke holes in my theory – ask (and answer) the hard questions. You’ll be better for it  Test, refine, repeat. What worked a few months ago might not still work today. Make sure you’re looking at your data by date (in addition to label) and always testing new theories  A good ratio to shoot for is 80% content you know “works” and 20% “test” content to help you find new insights
  • 26. Author: Go forth and create Courtney Livingston good content. Digital Marketing Strategist courtneylivingston.com And if you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out!