Comparing your Sprout Reports
Each Sprout report plays a unique role in the social data story you tell. Sometimes, you might notice that two of your Sprout reports, like Profile Performance and Post Performance, have different totals for the same metrics in the same time period. That can be confusing if you're expecting to see the same data.
The good news? These differences are expected for some reports in Sprout as the reports pull from separate data sets to provide distinct insights into your performance.
This article helps explain how Sprout calculates and displays reporting metrics so you can confidently tell the full story of your social data.
Want to learn more about how and when to use each Sprout report? Check out our Insights article.
Reporting Period vs. Lifetime
Sprout's reports typically display information based on the Reporting Period or Lifetime. Understanding the difference between these two can help you better analyze the health of your brand on social.
The Reporting Period (or profile-level data) displays information about results that took place during the selected date range. This applies to profile-level metrics, like those you find in the Profile Performance Report or individual profile reports (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest).
Lifetime (or post-level data) displays information based on posts published during the selected timeframe. These metrics reflect lifetime performance. Reports that rely on the Lifetime filter are the Post Performance Report, the Tag Performance Report and the YouTube Videos Report.
Let's say a Facebook post is published on Monday. By the end of the week on Sunday, it has 344 reactions. If you filtered to the reporting period for that entire week, the incremental distribution of reactions for each day that add up to 344 reactions.
The following screenshot shows the hypothetical progression of reactions on each day:
Based on the above image, if you narrowed the Reporting Period to Monday and Tuesday of that week, the total reactions that would appear in Sprout are 157, or 86 + 71.
Now if you were to measure the same post through the lens of Lifetime in Sprout, you always see the lifetime activity of the post. In this case, you see 344 total reactions for the post published on Monday.
The Reporting Period vs. Lifetime is the most common reason your Sprout reports may not directly match one another. But there are other factors to consider as to why some metrics don't match, including:
- Organic vs. Paid data: Depending on the data Sprout receives from the native network, some metrics may be organic-only for Lifetime but Organic + Paid for the Reporting Period. Review the breakdown with this article.
- Time zone: The time zone the report displays data in.
- You can check the top-right corner of the report to see what time zone is used.
- Backfill: How far back Sprout can backfill each report's data. Some networks have different backfill limitations for Reporting vs. Lifetime. You can find a breakdown with this article.
- Update frequency: How often each report requests and updates data from a network.
- Disconnection: If a profile becomes disconnected from Sprout that disconnection impacts data collection. This most often happens on both reports, but it's possible for the disconnection to affect reports differently.