Testing the Social Media Engagement Management Tool Sprout Social – Part 2


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Social Sprout social media management platformIn March I posted about my exercise of evaluating the social media engagement tool Sprout Social. In this second post on the topic, I’m focusing on some of the reports generated by Sprout Social.

By the way, these posts are not intended as a comprehensive review: more by way of sharing my exploration of the tool.

Also, the information and comments are still based on using the basic Pro version. I’m hoping to make the time in the next couple of days to check out the other offerings – Small Biz, Deluxe and Premium.

Group Trends

Sprout Social Group Trends graphic

The first graphic on the dashboard home page gives an overview of trends in my activity/engagement on Twitter and Facebook. Actually it’s a group report but when this screenshot was taken mine was a group of one. I’ve since added a company Twitter account and will be interested to see how that changes the results.

A distinction I did not notice at first was that whereas the Group Trends graphic shows numbers of new Facebook fans (zero right now for this new page of mine!), other reports on the dashboard reference Facebook impressions rather than fans, as is explained further below.

Audience Demographics

The next graphic image on the home page of my Sprout Social dashboard, was Audience Demographics, where a graph showed at a glance some basic demographics of my Twitter followers and “impressions” for my main Facebook page. (The page is relatively new and has a lot fewer “likes” than there are friends at my longer-standing Facebook profile.)

Actually, for all the time I had this trial account, the content on the right side was not available on the home page, being obscured by the ‘still gathering data” box, as shown in the screenshot below.
Sprout Social Audience Demographics home page graphic
But at the same time the figures were available from the Group Report tab on the left sidebar.

Sprout Social audience demographics

Something that took me a while to notice, not because of lack of labeling but just from my own “speed reading”, that the figures for Facebook are not for numbers of “fans” (those *liking* my page) but for those to whom “impressions” could be attributed.

My understanding of Facebook “impressions” (or to be more precise, “post impressions”) is, contrary to what I’d thought, *not* the total number of times a post had been seen on Facebook but, according to leading Facebook expert Mari Smith “the total number of times your post was *rendered* in the stream (fans’ News Feeds + your page wall + social plugins)”.

The graphic above shows very clearly the relative proportions of male and female Twitter followers and of those responsible for the Facebook impressions, and the distribution across age groups from 18 to 65+ for Twitter and from 13 to 55+ for Facebook.

My results, as in the screenshot above, show a fairly even male/female distribution across both platforms, with a narrower gap for Facebook M/F 52/48 per cent than for Twitter M/F 57/43 per cent.

I found the age distribution results pretty encouraging. (Note that, although in the image above you can see the numeric percentages for Facebook but not for Twitter, in the image that comes up in your report online you can see the specific numbers by mousing over each bar.)

Because, allowing for the difference between Twitter follower and Facebook impression data, some quick extrapolation and aggregation shows me that my “audience” is predominantly from 24 to 55. For Twitter, that’s 84.5% and for the Facebook figures it’s equally 70% for men and women. That all works well for me in terms of who I’m focused on in my marketing.

By the same token, if I had found a big discrepancy between the stats and my strategic objectives – e.g. if there had been little or no sign of the 35-44 age group – I would have needed to do some deeper analysis and take appropriate remedial action on my Twitter and/or Facebook activity.


More detailed statistics are available from the report tabs.

The Twitter report includes:

  • General stats
  • Key indicators, such as engagement and influence
  • Follower demographics by age range and gender
  • Publishing – performance of outbound content

The Facebook Pages report includes:

  • Page impressions by date
  • Impressions breakdown by type, e.g. organic, viral or paid
  • Impressions by age and gender
  • Sharing – how people share and type of share
  • Sharing by age and gender
  • Your Content, including a content breakdown and effectiveness per item
Although I can get some of the content analysis from Facebook Insights, the Sprout Social details and layouts are not identical with those in Insights. For example, Insights shows me Reach and “People Talking About This” on a daily and weekly basis, and Sprout Social shows me Reach, People Talking About This and Engagement.

Again with the Content Breakdown, there is similar information in Insights, but I find the presentation in Sprout Social more geared to challenging me on how well or otherwise I may be going with my engagement strategy implementation.Sprout Social content breakdown screenshot

More Coming Soon

So far, I am enjoying using Sprout Social. In another post or posts I will look at other features, especially Scheduler and Discovery.

As mentioned above, I’m hoping also to have a look at the other types of account than the basic Pro I’ve been using.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Des Walsh
Des Walsh is an executive leadership coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn expert. He is passionate about sharing his understanding of the benefits of social media in a way that makes good sense for business.


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