Use Tableau Public for free social media analytics you won’t find anywhere else

There are tons of free tools out there that allow you to plug in your social media profiles and spit out a plethora of social media analytics without sharing the data behind it. What’s the time frame? How many posts was it based off of? Etc.

Tableau Public was one of those gems I found that wasn’t necessarily intended to be a social media analytics tool, but works quite well in that capacity. More specifically, I’ve found it to be invaluable when assessing the best time and day of the week to post and the performance of hashtags and keywords. Below, I’ll share step-by-step how to do each.

The great thing about Tableau Public is that you can upload any Excel document into the free app for analysis. For the sake of this post, I’ve uploaded my exported Twitter analytics.

Find the best time to post

In the left hand column, find the dimension associated with your posts’ time stamps. On Twitter, this is simply named “Time,” though it comprises both date and time.

Click on the dimension and change its data type to “Date & time.”

Social Media Analytics Tableau Time

Tableau already recognizes which spreadsheet columns are Dimensions (i.e. text, time, date etc.) and which are Measures (metrics). Now, you can compare any metrics by their performance by year, month, day of the week, hour of the day or the actual date. For the sake of this example, let’s find out which day of the week is the best for retweets.

First, drag the “Time” dimension and the “Retweets” measure to the columns and rows bar on the top of the screen. Click on “Time” and select “Weekday” from the “More” option.” Then, just choose how you’d like your data to be displayed from the graph selection bar.

Social Media Analytics Weekday

In just a few clicks, I’ve found out that I received the most retweets on Sunday in the last 28 days. You can repeat the process with hour of the day, month, year, replies, clicks, total engagements, etc. Or, instead of total retweets, you can click on the measure name to change the calculation to average or median.

Determine how your keywords or hashtags are performing

If there’s a keyword or hashtag you use frequently, either for a campaign or otherwise, you can use Tableau to see how it’s performing in terms of clicks, reach and engagement.

Even if you don’t have a particular keyword in mind, chances are there are words and phrases you use consistently without even realizing it. To find these words, copy and paste the tweet text column into’s Text Analyzer to find out which words and phrases appear the most in your posts.

Now that you have a keyword, hashtag or phrase to analyze, you’ll filter the text column in Tableau to only include those keywords. Just drag the “Tweet Text” Dimension to the Filters bar. Under the drop down arrow, select “Filter.” Click over to “Wildcard,” select “Contains” and enter your keyword or phrase.

Social Media Analytics Keyword Filter

Then, add whatever Measures you want to the Rows bar. However, note that it’s important here that you don’t put anything in the Columns bar, otherwise you’ll get a list of all your tweets and their metrics rather than just the overall totals.

Select the first option on the graph selection tool and you’ll get a spreadsheet of how each of your measures has performed against your keyword.

Social Media Analytics Keyword Spreadsheet

For a quick comparison, just change your Measures calculations from Sum to Average and clear your filter to see if your keyword performs better or worse than the rest of your posts.

What generic tools have you found useful for social media analytics? Tell us in the comments below!

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