Archives for analytics

Twitter Analytics are (Almost) Here

Article first published as Twitter Gets Analytical on Technorati.

Twitter Traffic TracksIf you use Twitter for business then you are painfully aware of one fatal flaw…tracking your Twitter traffic. Want to know your Twitter ROI? Love to dig into analytics? Want to know the details of your traffic sources? Well, Twitter has just made this challenge a little less challenging. They are now offering their own web analytics,

The problem with tracking traffic from Twitter has been:

Problem: Incorrect traffic source referrals

Have you looked at your analytics and seen traffic from unknown source, mobile device, or some third party app that you don’t recognize? Until very recently Twitter was not reporting their traffic as referral traffic. This prevented you from know exactly how much traffic was truly coming from Twitter or a Twitter manager.

Obvious (but not total) Solution: Link Shortners

These are great. A link shortener does seem like a solution to the tracking problem. However, it is not a total solution. Most link shorteners do offer analytics. If you only use the shortened link on Twitter, then any clicks on that link will be from Twitter. But that only tracks the links you post and retweeted by your followers. But if someone else is tweeting links to your site, you are still not able to account for that referral traffic.

 

Twitter offers its own link shortener, T.co. However this has not offered any benefit beyond providing a shorter link.  That was changed with a recent update that would automatically wrap any link longer than 20 characters in the t.co shortener. This big benefit to this was that it allows referral traffic to show up in your analytics as a t.co. Though it does not solve all the referral traffic issues, it does offer a significant improvement.

The new analytics being released will finally offer an answer to the question, how much traffic do I get from Twitter. The new tool promises to not only show you how much traffic you are getting from Twitter but effectiveness of your website Twitter integration and how your site is being shared across Twitter.

Right now the tools is only being offered to a select few, but roll outs to the general public will be starting in the next week. They are also going to release a website API for developers.

Will the new analytics, in conjunction with T.co, solve the traffic tracking problem? Time will tell.

 

Tracking Twitter Traffic

Twitter AnalyticsDespite the obvious enjoyment of the alliteration in tracking twitter traffic. It is a common question that people have. How do you track twitter traffic.  Well the short answer is you can’t, or at least not completely. The longer answer is, yes there are tools to use and Twitter just made it a lot easier.

Shortners

The easiest way to track traffic from your Twitter account is to use a shortner.  Bit.ly, Goo.gl, Ow.ly are a few of the common link shortners that will also give you analytics. Personally I prefer bit.ly. I like the analytics they give. They let you know where you traffic is coming from and how many unique people are clicking your links. If you are fastidious, you can even check what time of day people were clicking if you look at the past 24 hours. Goo.gl has obvious benefits as far as SEO (though bit.ly is run through google analytics, and also receives SEO benefit), though I am not as fond of their reporting system.  Ow.ly is great for those of you who use Hootsuite to manage your Twitter accounts.

When you use a shortened link in your tweets, and someone clicks that link, it is very easy to track it through the analytics of the shortner. However, this does not account for all twitter traffic. You will also get traffic from your profile, from other people tweeting your links and from brand recognition.

Direct Traffic

This is the traffic that is going directly to your website. This could be from the link on your profile, or if you are putting your direct link in your tweets. This could also be from people typing in your URL directly into their browser.

Making it Easier

The bigger problem with tracking twitter traffic is through your analytics. When you are looking at your analytics though a site like Google Analyitics or Statscounter the traffic from Twitter was not always being credited from Twitter depending on the the device being used. For instance if someone when to your site from twitter, but they were using a mobile device, your analytics would likely report that it was coming from a mobile device and not Twitter, even though it was coming from both. Or worse, you would not show a Twitter referal at all, it would show up as direct traffic.

Twitter is now shortening all links that are 20 characters or more with their t.co link shortner.  This is meant to help with tracking traffic. It will also allow the analytics providers to properly attribute their traffic sources.

 

Though this newly integrated Twitter shortner is meant to help track twitter traffic, it is in part part of Twitters ongoing efforts to replace the need for third party apps.  Though it is unlikely that t.co will replace bit.ly anytime soon. For one, the true analytics of t.co is only available to a small selection of developers and not available to the public. So the only way to view link analytics is through your website analytics provider. For many marketers that is simply not enough.

On the plus side, in your analytics you should be able to see what t.co is directing traffic to your site. This means that you can track your site traffic down to a specific tweet, and that is a huge plus for marketers.

So now we just have to wait for the release of the full t.co analytics to see if they will get rid of the need for third party shortners.

Twitter Traffic Times Three

Twitter BirdsI love alliteration! Twitter traffic times three is not how to get three times the amount of traffic. Rather it is the three type of traffic coming from Twitter that you are generating. Understanding the source of your traffic will help you understand the power of Twitter to your marketing and branding.

1. Link

Link traffic are the clicks you receive on the links you put in your posts. When you tweet out a link and someone clicks on it, that is considered one of the most valuable kinds of clicks. From a sales point of view it is considered a “qualified lead”. It is qualified because the person who clicked on it is already interested in what you are tweeting about. By clicking the link in the tweet, they are saying they are also interested in the link. Now it is your job to convert the lead.

This is also the easiest link to track because you can use a link shortner which will allow you to get thorough analytics.

2. Profile

In your profile you have your website. Because this is your profile and part of your branding you want to make sure this is your dot com and not a shortened link. People will be able to click this link and go directly to your main website. This will be harder to track. If you are using a website analytics tool like Google analytics or Statscounter you will be able to see the traffic coming in from twitter, but you will have to go into your analytics to identify the source of your traffic, as opposed to the url shortner analytics that will show you the traffic from a specific link.

3. Direct Traffic

This is the traffic that is untrackable. Direct traffic is when someone types your URL directly into their web browser. It is also when someone knows your brand name and finds your URL by searching for it in Google.  In your analytics it may come up as a google search or just direct traffic.

The engagement you do in Twitter will increase your brand awareness. Many people will go to your website because of your Twitter efforts, but because it is direct traffic you will not specifically know that it is a result of your social media efforts.  This kind of traffic is extremely valuable and not at all quantifiable. So we cherish it and get frustrated with its enigmatic essence.

Top 3 Online Tools You Need to Track Your Social Media Growth

Tracking your Social Media

Do you know how to track your social media?

Social media is becoming increasingly important as a way for businesses to connect with buyers, prospects, and the market. As social media grows, it will become critical for businesses to brand themselves and build relationships as part of the sales and marketing process. Social media marketing can be a great way for brands to start conversations with their users, but it can also be a time suck. It’s very important for businesses to understand what it is that they want to track and how social media fits into their overall business strategy.

Facebook Insight

Facebook Insights is an excellent free analytics tool built right into Facebook that allows you to track trends among your fans and see how they are interacting with your page. Insights is split into two main sections: users and interactions.

Users give you lots of basic demographic information about your fans, as well as show top referrers to your page.

Interactions can be a real goldmine, offering deep analytics into the updates you’ve made to your page and how users have interacted with it.

You can see which content has been most popular and which tanked, which helps understand what fans like to see on your page. Site owners with Like buttons on their sites can use Insights to see how many people saw the button, clicked on it, and how they got to the page.

Social Mention

Social Mention is a real-time search engine for social media. It’s a great tool for tracking buzz about your firm, product, or launch through Twitter, Facebook, forums, blogs, and other social media sites. A widget shows statistics over time like number of retweets, unique authors, as well as twists like the relative passion of the sentiment about your brand. Social media stats are broken down by content type, so you can see where the most attention is coming from. You can also sign up for emails to alert you whenever a keyword comes up in social content.

Bit.ly

Not only is bit.ly the world’s most popular url shortening tool, it is also an excellent way to use analytics to track link clicks and user behavior. This kind of information would usually not be available if the link were to a social site or to one on which you didn’t have access to the analytics software. However, creating a bit.ly account gives you access to its full-fledged analytics suite, showing top referrers, historical data, and more. You can use their shortening service without having an account, but then you’d be missing out on all that analytical goodness.

 

Social media tracking is important. This list is only to get you thinking about how your business uses social media and how you can begin to track all those tweets and blog mentions. It’s important to analyze the data once you’ve gotten it. If social media isn’t directly helping your bottom line, it may be time to re-think your strategy. Above all, use your analytics to better engage and interact with your audience.


Ashyia Hill is a social media advocate at the small business credit cards comparison website, CreditDonkey.  Do you have any social media analytics tools that have helped you grow your business? Let us know in the comments!

Facebook Fan Page Analytics: What you don’t know

Facebook has provided analytics for all page owners. However, you might find that a lot of their analysis is not necessarily all that informative.  Yes, it will give you an overview of your activity.  Overall how much activity was on your page? How is your engagement from last week to this week?

Superficially this provides you with great information.  But this report is better at pointing out what you don’t know than what you do.

What you don’t know

  • What specific posts are people responding to
  • How your fans are responding
  • Whether responses are positive or negative
  • If is it always the same 2 people
  • If you have a troll
  • If people are sharing your content
  • If you are being tagged in posts

This is all just focused on a fan page.  The questions get much bigger if you use a profile in combination with a fan page.  However, there is good news for fan page owners.

Facebook is making more detailed analytics available to all page owners. Last January Facebook made per post analytics available to pages with 10,000 + fans. This analysis looked at the influence and reach of a specific post. Though the analysis is relatively basic, it is still very valuable information.

The analysis

  • Impression Count:  This is how many times your post has appeared in a browser.  This includes newsfeeds, widgets, pages and posts showing up below the fold, which means a post showing up in the newsfeed below the primary viewing area, so you would have to scroll down to actually see it. The impression count is useful because it shows how many people may have seen your post.  But just because it is visible does not mean that it was actually seen or responded to.
  • Feedback measurement: The percent of your fans that interacted with your post, in the forms of comments or clicks. It does not give information about video plays or click-through. The formula is based on the number of comments and likes divided by the impressions.  This will result in a fairly low percentage, because the potential for impressions is huge. A more accurate feedback measurement would be comments and likes divided by the number of fans you have. Then you could see how many of your fans are interacting with your post.

This analysis is now available to all page owners. This will help owners understand the extent of their reach and will give good information for engagement levels.  A thorough analysis does not stop here and requires a more detailed look at the type and quality of engagement.  But this will provide a better and more complete picture of your reach.

My RSS Feed is Gone!!

cartoon man sitting on a bench reading an oversized magazine with an RSS symbol on the coverI was doing some basic maintenance on my blogsite and suddenly realized that my RSS feed subscribers dropped down to zero.  You can imagine my “WHAT THE F*%$!!!!” reaction.  Once I got a grip, I decided to leave it for a day to see if maybe it was just some horrible dream.  So I came back and checked and nope, it was real.  All of my subscribers were gone.

I checked my RSS address and it was no longer registering my RSS feed, which was totally confusing and frustrating.  I actually had to go into my wordpress site and eliminate my custom feed.  Then I deleted my feed on Feedburner and reclaimed it. THEN I had to assign a new feed url and redirect my wordpress to the new feed address! Thankfully I did not have many subscribers…

Ok, wait, not really –  I am thankful for every subscriber!  What I mean is that I just offered a subscription box on this site, so I hadn’t yet gathered many subscribers.  But for people who have been managing subscribers for a long time, having your feed url get tanked could be devastating!

I hope that by fixing the RSS feed the subscribers I had will find me again.

Of course after I did all this I started doing some research on feedburner, specifically for this post.  I originally wanted to talk about what feedburner counted and what they didn’t, and why it is not always the most accurate form of traffic stats for blogs.  I found out that Google has been doing some algorithm adjustments and my RSS tanking was most likely because of this.  A post was written talking about feedburner possibly being one of the sources to people having RSS issues. Apparantly Techcrunch and Mashable both had issues with their feeds because of this update.

If it can happen to Mashable, it can happen to me! and you!

So go out and check your feed and make sure that all is well in your blogoverse.

Monitoring is useless…Analytics are invaluable!

Lauren Armstrong's Statistics

This post is following a blog post on The Wall by Jed Hallam. The post, Social media monitoring: absolutely pointless, essentially says that statistics from SM monitoring are useless. That they encourage people to focus on the minutia of their profile growth and interactions rather than looking at the big picture. I couldn’t agree more and less.

I couldn’t agree more

So many services offer SM monitoring. They will let you know how many new friends you have. How many are women. How many are men. What your primary age demographic is. How many interactions you had. But this is all useless information without an analysis behind it. As Aaron Levenstein said, “Statistics are like bikinis.  What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”

Without context these numbers mean nothing. When looking at a report we know our basic facts. But what is the meaning behind those facts. Why is your demographic mainly women between 25 and 34? Why did you get a lot of interactions one week and almost none the next? They lead you to focusing on growth in your numbers not the why or how. This is where so many people will work towards quantity over quality. The numbers make you feel like you are doing well, when the reality is you don’t actually know how you are doing.

So what value are these numbers giving you except more numbers? Little to no value.

I couldn’t agree less

Numbers in a vacuum are useless. If a tree falls in the forest and only a lumber jack is there to hear it, did he still cut it down? The interpretation of those numbers in context is what is important. Levenstein was right, what statistics conceals is important. Knowing that you had 100 interactions one week and 500 the next is interesting. But why is it interesting? Good interpretation of statistics will break down those interactions. They will tell you that you got 500 interactions in one week mainly divided between 4 posts. Those 4 posts were on a highly controversial political topic of tree chopping by lone lumber jacks. Your fans were hosting a debate on your site, and telling others about their debate. Therefore generating new fans. All of your other 20 posts were virtually ignored. Now you know that your fans like heated discussions about lone tree chopping lumberjacks. Next week, try posting that the link to that t-shirt you design that says “say not to lumberjacks” and you might be able to create a new revenue stream.

The interpretation of statistical data in context leads to trending. Trending is key to understanding the interests of your fans/friends/followers. Once you understand what you audience is interested in, your social media presence will strengthen. This process is called analytics. It is not just statistics, it is a continued study of the evolution of trending to create a social media presence of significance.

Social Media monitoring is useless.

Analytics are invaluable.

*this blogger has nothing against lumberjacks, lone or otherwise.
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Follow me on Twitter @laurencubed and on Facebook

Infuence: The New ROI of Social Media

ROI (Return on Investment) has always been a challenging analytic to gather.  In traditional marketing, the questions are: How effective is the ad?  Are people paying attention to it?  Are we driving business from it?  Are we successfully building a brand?  Companies have striven to answer these questions by using tracking mechanisms, ie. coupons, or “mention where you saw this ad and get a discount.”  These numbers do not give a true reflection of the success of a marketing campaign.  Marketing companies have been studying the effectiveness, and measurable ways to gauge marketing campaigns.  Gauging the ROI of social media has proved to be an even bigger hurtle.  Because the industry is still in its early adoption phase, the people who invest in it really want to see tangible ROI. As social media professionals, we are having to redefine the meaning of this term and how it applies to business.

The classic line is that social media is about relationships.  This is still true, but how do we measure those relationships?

The primary set of metrics start with  scope of your network. This is a misconception. It is not the size that matters, it is the relevance.  Your audience needs to be relevant to your goals.  You want an audience that will buy, support, and promote your interests. Otherwise you simply have a large audience who isn’t paying attention. It is the Law of Attraction, like attracts like.

Influence is probably the most significant metric.  Influence means that you have a target audience that not only cares about what you have to say, but reaches out to you, and to others on your behalf.  This starts with interactions. This starts with the “like” button and grows into your friends/fans/followers go out of their way to comment on something you posted, write on your wall or re-tweet your post.  Next comes communication, where you forge an inter-personal relationship with your audience.  You are dialoguing with them, which means you have become more than a talking head. You are now a real person.  Lastly comes the viral marketing. Your audience is spreading the word about you, or your message, on your behalf.  They tell their friends about you, they encourage others to support or friend you, they respond independently to a call to action.  Once all these things come together, you have become a profile/page of influence.

Aliza Sherman just wrote a blog giving some new terms for measuring social media marketing efforts.  She does a great job at breaking down the steps below.

  1. Attraction
  2. Participation
  3. Interactions
  4. Action
  5. Transformation
  6. Transaction

Her definitions for 2-6 are subheadings under Influence, they are the steps to the goal. It could be rewritten like this.

  1. Attraction
  2. Influence
    1. Participation
    2. Interactions
    3. Action
    4. Transformation
    5. Transaction

Ultimately understanding the steps to influence are what will deliver influence.  But the ultimate ROI is in achieving influence.  Do you have it?