We continued out exploration of analytics tools for social media with YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram, the most commonly used platforms nowadays by digital media communicators. Similar with our previous lecture on Facebook and Twitter analytics and tools, we focused during the lecture on two elements:

    1. everything that we can measure on the platforms chosen without a log-in or access to analytics
    2. tools that can help monitoring and evaluating activity on those platforms


Currently YouTube’s traditional reporting information is made per video and includes number of views, number of likes and dislikes, number of comments, number of subscribers and the number of videos in the same channel. This data can provide information about the popularity and visibility of the video as well as information about the reactions to the video content if considering the video comments. Also on the video page, there is a time graph displaying the evolution of views volume accessible by clicking on the reported number of total views, a particularly useful feature when monitoring content and considering reach.

For channel owners, the YouTube analytics tool is complex and provides opportunities for in-depth analysis of data. Since Google’s purchase of YouTube in 2006, its influence on the monitoring and reporting of YouTube’s analytics has been increasingly visible. More recently, YouTube’s analytics includes both “views reports” and “engagement reports”. Of particular interest are the traffic sources, playback locations and audience retention metrics. While the traffic sources data can be linked with sharing activities on other platforms  (such as sharing a link on Twitter or Facebook), the playback locations helps complement that data by indicating whether the content was viewed directly on YouTube or on a different platform as embedded content (this can be linked with Google Analytics – revisit the Google Analytics Fundamentals videos for more info). Finally, the audience retention metric indicates how much of the video content is viewed (this is particularly important to identify whether the content length is appropriate and when viewers lose interest in the video). This a particularly important metric, more important and insightful than the volume-based metrics looking only at reporting number of views.

Also important metrics are those related to engagement: likes, dislikes, annotations, comments – all these indicate the mood, tone, and manner in which the content is received and reacted to including the meaning is given to it by its viewers.

YouTube metrics that matter

Depending on your objectives, there will be different metrics that will be relevant. However, in general, it is not just the mere number of favorites or subscribers, or comments that should matter for you but rather:

  • the fluctuation of subscribers (how to win/lose subscribers; correlate this data with the content you post)
  • the likes/dislikes ratio
  • the sentiment of comments (ratio of positive/negative)
  • subscribers, favorites and shares compared (these are good signs of interest and loyalty)
  • video view retention (are your viewers watching the videos in their entirety and if not, what are the most/least viewed parts of the videos)

To read about metrics that matter and how you can optimize YouTube, check out ZOGDitigal’s blog and Carla Marshall’s post.

A further webinar on measuring success on YouTube can be found below:


LinkedIn is a professional network and provides some of the most multi-dimensional metrics due to its 3 layers of interaction: personal, groups and company pages. Each comes with specific metrics to follow.

Personal profile metrics

While for personal profiles one might look into the number of connections of a person, number of endorsements and recommendations, a user can also see the number of times their profile was viewed in a week as well as the number of times their name was shown in searches within LinkedIn.

Group metrics

In terms of groups, the metrics available to be seen include number of posts, number of discussions, number of comments/discussion, number of comments/post, number of shares, sentiment of comments and much more. Recently, LinkedIn has launched an analytics tool for groups (read Hubspot’s article for more details) which provide information on demographics (this includes seniority level, function, location and industry), growth and activity (including jobs, promotions, comments and discussions).

Again, depending on the objectives of the group, one might be able to determine its success by combining some of the analytics. For instance, if engagement is the objective, then it is the ratio of discussions to the number of comments that matters the most. If this could be supported with data from the number of shares and the sentiment of the comments.

Company page metrics

LinkedIn also enables companies and organizations to create their own pages and share their own content. This has good potential for corporate communications, corporate social responsibility and human resources departments as it enables companies to showcase themselves and their talent while also looking for new staff and links.

The page metrics displayed include number of views, number of shares, number of followers, number of likes, number of comments providing information both about the popularity, visibility and reach of the page as well as about the tone and sentiment of the users/followers’ reactions to the content posted.


Pinterest is by default a very visual medium however its reporting of data and terms used are very similar with those of Twitter. This includes followers and following, number of pins and repins, number of boards, likes and comments among others. A high number of repins and shares could be considered a sign of increased popularity of an item or board. On the other hand, a high number of followers might show a high interest into someone’s bookmarking activity.

A walk-through of the analytics available for business accounts available in the video below. An alternative to the business analytics option of Pinterest (available only to paying accounts) is Tailwind.

Of particular interest are its virality, engagement score and engagement rates metrics that focus on the interaction with the content rather than the just reporting the volume of activity related to an account. These scores are aggregated for the entire content but can also be provided per item (pin) enabling you to identify the differences in reaction to the content you post and therefore enable you to adjust your content strategy based on the insight thus gained.

For more Pinterest analytics tools please check Mallon’s post.

Pinterest Web Analytics Walkthrough from Pinterest on Vimeo.


Instagram is also a very visual medium but, unlike Pinterest, it relies on the generation of original content by its users. Since it has been bought by Facebook in April 2012, Instagram’s layout and reported metrics displayed more commonalities with its new owner: posts, likes, comments. Unlike Pinterest however, Instagram does not currently have its own analytics platform, making monitoring trends as well as one own’s content more difficult.

Statigram however covers that need providing data about love rate (follower engagement and number of likes), talk rate (comments related) and spread rate (this could be associated with reach as it reports the number of likes received by an account from people who do not follow it).

What metrics matter overall

While most of the platforms have by now their own analytics tools, the metrics reported depend very much on the goals and objectives associated with the campaigns. However, as the analytics and monitoring tools become more sophisticated, the metrics that matter look more at how people use and react the content that is shared and they share rather than the mere volume. Therefore, pay more attention to engagement, conversions and patterns of behavior that indicate support, opposition or lack of interest in what you communicate.


About Ana ADI

Professor of Public Relations/Corporate Communications @ http://www.quadriga.eu | Researcher | PR & Social Media Consultant | Fulbrighter

2 responses »

  1. […] Originally posted here: YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest metrics – lecture 16 […]

  2. […] YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest metrics – DCSBU […]

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