Five free tools for analysing hashtags

How popular is your brand? Are people talking about an event you are running? Are people really interested in that new reality TV show? Hashtag analysis tools can help you build up a picture of how people are talking about a particular subject.

In this post I describe five tools that are (at the time of writing) genuinely free: these are not tools that you get free for a month, say; so you should be able to keep on using them. If you know of others then do let me know and I will update this post.

The tools described can:

  • Measure sentiment
  • Identify popular words used
  • Identify related hashtags
  • Track the popularity of different hashtags over time
  • Identify how frequently different hashtags are re-tweeted
  • Identify the potential reach of hashtags
  • Suggest some illustrations that people use when tweeting on different hashtags

At the time of writing the Great British Bake Off reality TV show has just reached its final so I have used this an an example. Apologies if you don’t like the programme. (I find it strangely addictive, like Battenberg cake.)

Five great free hashtag analysis tools

Social mention is always a great place to start your analysis. This impressive free tool allows you to type in a keyword and delivers a wealth of information including sentiment, keywords, and hashtags. It also identifies sources so you can see whether flickr is more important than youtube for a certain word. The advanced search option is very useful at cutting down irrelevant mentions.

social mention screen shot is a really lovely free tool that allows you to examine the hashtags that are linked to another hashtag (i.e. the two hashtags regularly appear in the same tweets). This is a great way of understanding how topics are related in social media.

In the image below I have searched for “GBBO” (appears in the red circle); the top ten linked terms are in the blue circles. I have chosen one of those, “bakeoff”; this now appears in yellow and I can see the terms that relate to it; I can see that it shares a number of terms (baking, bakeoffinnuendo, and greatbritishbakeoff) with GBBO.

screenshot from showing how hash tags are related

The tool also has shows recent tweets and has data on languages and on the top “influencers” for the topic. And if you sign up to the beta version you will also be able to see a popularity graph over time where you can compare the popularity of several hashtags.

Topsy is a very useful tool where you can see the number of tweets for up to three hashtags over one month period. In the chart below you can see very clearly the weekly peaks when the Great British Bake Off TV show is aired and the massive spike around the final.

screenshot from

This tool is very useful for comparing a brand with a competitor brand or looking at which hashtag is the best one to use in future.

Hashtracking is another useful tool that shows you how many times a particular hash tag has been retweeted. The free tool will only look at the last 1500 tweets but that seems to be a good sample.

So for instance I can see that about 60% of tweets with #gbbo were retweets while only 20% of tweets with #bakeoff were retweets and #greatbritishbakeoff scored 30% for retweets. This could be a useful indicator of what tags are best for generating engagement.

screenshot from

The tool also shows you a simple measure of exposure in terms of reach and “timeline delivery” (total followers of retweeters).

Twubs is really a tool for managing twitter chats but it comes with a nice picture feed which could be useful for analysis and for illustrating reports.

screenshot from


As with all hashtag analysis, care must be taken. No one owns a particular hashtag. So if the Great British Bake Off is on TV at the same time as the Great Basin Bird Observatory is having a conference then the results for #GBBO may not represent purely people tweeting about BakeOff.

Nonetheless, with due diligence, all of these tools are useful ways of analysing the popularity of a particular topic in social media.


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