Twitter Analytics Making You Blue? There’s Hope!

Today I ran some quick, basic, random queries through my social analytics platform of choice, looking at October 1-30. I pulled the volume breakdown by channel, and you can see the results below. It doesn’t take an experienced Data Scientist to see one theme really quickly: most of that volume comes from Twitter. 

Thanks to what happened in October, your social analytics could be off by 70-85% now in November. Trick or…tweet?

Twitter Analytics Making You Blue? There's Hope!

Social analytics as a practice has recognized this problem for many years. While many social networks have downgraded or outright eliminated their data APIs, Twitter has (so far) continued to make their platform’s “full firehose” of data available to 3rd parties. In fact, Data Licensing and other similar sources yielded Twitter $571.8 million – 11% of their total revenue – in FY2021. Twitter’s very nature feeds into this ecosystem, as most posts are visible to the public already, and its user experience leans heavily towards easily-searchable text rather than images or video. Microblogging posts are also short, fast, and frequent leading to some inflated impact on volume – in these metrics, a 2,000 character blog post counts the same as a 280 character tweet. 

Elon Musk is only a few days in as “Chief Twit,” but changes are already coming fast. Changes to Twitter’s home page for logged-out users were pushed through immediately, and their “blue check” verification system could be tied to a $20 per month paid subscription. And, despite Musk tweeting that there will be a “content moderation council,” use of a certain racist slur increased over 500% in the 12-hour period after the sale closed.  

Despite the chaos, these changes shouldn’t make you throw out social analytics entirely. While other channels besides Twitter provide differing levels of data, what you can get is still valuable for hearing the voice of your customers. Here are some important considerations for dealing with our new Twitterverse:

  • You need to understand how your social analytics platform of choice connects with every platform that isn’t Twitter – what data they receive, how much that represents the overall user base, and how that data is accessed. Most “quick search” functions within social analytics pull from a limited set of channels, and while that usually includes Twitter, other channels may not be fully represented.
  • No decisions should be made by volume alone. No matter what your query, the results should be reviewed channel-by-channel. Aspects like sentiment will vary across each platform, and should be reviewed separately. What makes Twitter mad shouldn’t throw off your entire analysis.
  • Benchmarks need to be created now, and changes against them need to be tracked continuously. When the land is shifting under your feet, you need to know how far you’re moving before you can measure where you’re going. Twitter will inherently change, and other platforms will change in response – those macro shifts will dictate impacts on micro analyses.

Things may not improve on Twitter overnight, but that doesn’t mean your entire digital strategy and analytics need to be thrown out the window. Take some time to review the bigger picture across all of your social media platforms, review your upcoming digital plans, and stay connected to what’s happening so you aren’t shocked when the changes roll in. Looking for a team keep you up-to-date on what’s going on? Reach out, we’re here to help!