There’s a lot of people out there interested in tracking their success on social media accounts, especially those overseeing businesses and brands.

Knowing how many people are following you on Twitter and how quickly that following is growing, plus the level of interaction you are having with them can provide a business with valuable insights onto how its marketing message is resonating, or how well its service department is meeting customer expectations. That’s part of the reason that the market for social media reporting and listening software has become a hot place, with firms like HootSuite and NextPrinciples charging good money specifically for insights into Twitter analytics.

The other part of the reason that software is so expensive has to do with the fact there’s apparently no way to glean analytics from the Web service. Unlike Facebook Pages, for example, which gives administrators an Insights panel to monitor and track page growth and engagement, Twitter offers no such feature. Or so we thought – it turns out it’s just a little more hidden. But thanks to Matt Owen over at Econsultancy, the path to accessing Twitter analytics for free is made clear.

It turns out that it’s possible to set up a Twitter Advertising account and set up your budget so that you don’t actually spend any money. “If, like me, you don’t actually want to spend money at this point, put £1/$1 in all of these boxes,” Owen writes. You’ll still need to put a credit card on file with Twitter, though.

After following Owen’s tutorial you’ll see the Twitter Ads option in your settings drop down menu on Twitter, where you can access analytics that include click-through rates, account growth, and information about your followers.

If you are interested in spending some money and getting started with a Twitter Advertising campaign, Owens also drops a lot of good tips on how to save money and be successful.