Understanding Twitter Analytics in Three Easy Steps Because Four Steps would be Awkward.

Have you ever stumbled upon the statistics for your Twitter site and wondered, what the heck is all this supposed to mean? Impressions?  Engagements?  Here’s the skinny on getting a beginning understanding of Twitter analytics.

If you’re on Twitter, you can’t escape the constant pressure to PROMOTE your tweets.  Before I start spending money, though, I want to understand the essentials of what’s going on now.   Twitter analytics are free to you and available with the click of mouse right on your Twitter account.  Let’s start there.

Step One. Finding the Twitter Analytics Box

Open your profile and look at the little box that says Twitter Activity.  (You can click on your name on your Twitter homepage to open your profile).

When the profile opens, you’ll see your Tweet Activity on the right.  It looks something like this:

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Impressions are the number of times the Twitter algorithm has tossed your tweet into the timelines of your followers or in the results of someone’s search.  Twitter would like you to believe that this is how many times these tweets have been read.  But do YOU read every tweet that appears in YOUR timeline?  Probably not. 🙂  Impressions are the number of opportunities your tweets have had to BE read.  The more followers you have (who are active that day), the more opportunities Twitter has for delivering those tweets into their timeline. 

Step Two:  Looking at the Engagement Statistics

Click on the View your top Tweets link in that little box. 

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You’ll get a slightly longer period, with the average number of impressions each day.  Why are they called “earned”, you may ask.   Twitter has to divide its algorithmic time among 350,000 tweets per minute.  Your tweet has to have a certain weight in the algorithm before it gets delivered widely — and your followers have to be active in order to receive the tweet. Depending on how busy Twitter is, how much you tweet, and how many followers you have, all of your followers MAY NOT receive all of your tweets.  This is a good thing, if you follow spammy people.

So what does this mean? 

If all of my 193 followers were online every single day during this period, and Twitter gave the 100% of my 100 tweets during this period, then my impression rate would have been 193*100 or 19,300.  So 11,100 is pretty close to 19,300 — but you can see that it’s not a perfect score. 🙂  It’s respectable, though,


Engagements are “everything” all piled into one bag: retweets, the times someone clicked a link in your post, the number of times people LIKED your tweets, and the number of replies you got, averaged over the number of impressions.  So this graph (that you’ll see on the right of the list of tweets you made) shows you these statistics.  So, for every tweet I made, I got a little over 1 engagement activity (retweet, like, or reply).   My engagement rate is sort of okay for a small, brand new account.

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Understanding Top Tweet Statistics

Then there is the Top Tweet engagement statistics BY TWEET.  Here are my top five:

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So, using your newfound understanding, you can see that the first tweet — a retweet — got seen by 1225 (usually this happens over the course of several days.  That is, Twitter deemed it worthy to keep throwing it into my followers timelines.  The engagement rate is the number of impressions divided by the number of engagements.  But what kind of “engagements” — retweets, likes, replies, what?

Step 3: Digging into the Individual Tweet Engagement Stats

Do you see the little link under each Tweet that says, “View Tweet Activity”?  If you click that link, then you get a box that looks like this:

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This one got five retweets, two likes, and 1 “detail expands.”  This was a retweet, so one person expanded the retweet link to see the actual tweet.  Sometimes it happens that the retweet doesn’t immediately expands so that the person can see the picture.

And now ANALYZE!

Notice that #bloggerstribe is a hashtag that’s working for me.  Mentioning retweeting types like @FemBloggers and @FemaleBloggerRT seems to have been quite helpful.

But now for the BONUS STEP!

Step 4: The Audience Analytics Tab

Yes, this is the bonus step.   At the top of the Analytics Screen, you’ll see that there are tabs.  You might miss this, as it is small and easy to miss.  You see Home, Tweets with an Underline and then AUDIENCE.

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Click on the Audience tab.

Click there and you’ll get a bit of breakdown of your audience like so:

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Most of the people following me have indicated an interest in entrepreneurship–this is probably based on the interests they chose when they initially signed up for Twitter–but that is my total guess. Entreprenuership and marketing might be hashtags I should be using. Hmm. This is good stuff.

I have mostly women in my followers.

The top “current audience size is 196 and that hasn’t been a change in 30 days?  That’s faulty.  The account is barely four weeks old, and has grown from a followership of zero to what it is now.

So there you have it.  There’s more in the audience screen (it gives you more breakdown by country and then by region).  But that’s enough to get me started more confidently in figuring out how I might use Twitter to grow my audience– how to give my followers more of what they seem to want.    Hope this was helpful.  ~ Lola



A good post I used in making this post came from Quora: What does Twitter Impression mean? “Your Tweets earned 3,247 impressions over the last week” Is this good or bad?

Author: Lola

Recovering academic, real-life, honest to cornflakes anthropologist (Ph.D. and fieldwork and everything), tech-head and social media researcher.

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