Happy New Year! 2011 is destined to be a spectacular year for all of us in the #measure community. That’s what folks in the web analytics community go by on Twitter – the hashtag #measure.
As all of you loyal subscribers know, we allocate a large number of megabytes for our blog posts talking about traditional web analytics (WA) tools, like Omniture SiteCatalyst, WebTrends, and our favorite, Google Analytics. For our first post of the new year, we’d like to switch gears and introduce five non-traditional measurement tools that you can begin using right now. Yes, you can literally begin using them right now, because the tools I’m going to introduce to you:
1. Don’t cost anything, or cost very little,
2. Are extremely easy to use, and
3. Require very little work or no work at all to begin using.
Ready? Here we go:
1. DoubleClick Ad Planner by Google
Pay-per-click advertisers working with Google’s Display Network (like us) use DoubleClick Ad Planner to build comprehensive, intelligent and highly-targeted campaigns. Non pay-per-clickers can use Ad Planner to perform research on the demographics of a website. Entering in a website’s URL can return back accurate estimates on unique visitors, reach, age, gender, audience interests, and other interesting data, like, a list of other websites also visited. This competitive website intelligence is all yours for the low, low price of a Google account – if you have one of those, you can access this data as much and as often as you’d like.
Yes, that Bit.ly. That same Bit.ly that has shortened all of those long URLs for you for your Twitter or LinkedIn updates and that has never asked you for a dime also gives you a full suite of analytics on your URL performance. You’ll know which links were clicked, what trends are developing with your clicked links, and top referrers and locations. If you have an E-mail address and can create a secure password, you can have this valuable information.
4. Analyze Words
Everyone nowadays is either on Twitter, follows Twitter, or knows someone on Twitter. Believe it or not, a Twitterer’s personality can be identified by Analyze Words, and you can get a report that details your emotional, social, and thinking style. All you have to do is visit their home page and enter in the Twitter handle that you want to analyze. You can’t tell me that this isn’t cool after you’ve tried it once.
Want to know everything that you could possibly dream of and more about the mobile traffic to your website? Install a very small snippet from PercentMobile, and you’ll be privy to so much mobile-based analytics data that you won’t know what to do with yourself. Models, makes, usage statistics, and fun mobile trivia facts are all yours for free.
There you go – 5 non-traditional tools to start the new year off on the right foot.
Social Media has certainly been a significant area of growth for online marketers over the past year. According to a study conducted by Econsultancy, only 17% of those surveyed said they do a good job measuring ROI from social media. At the same time 70% are planning to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2010.
All companies who advertise online should be tracking their website’s data in some way, typically through an analytics platform, such as Google Analytics. With social media on the other hand, the activity that occurs within these channels can be difficult to track. People often look for concrete numbers and sales, but within social media it’s not always that clear-cut. While you can code links and see referring traffic, other important measurements are overlooked.
Within each channel, evaluating success will be different. For instance, in Facebook you can view your Page Insights to assess information about the interactions fans have had with your Page. Just last month, Facebook also announced Post Insights, which lets “Page administrators find out how many impressions each story on their Page receives and what percentage of those impressions result in action (likes, comments, or clicks). “ In other Social Media channels such as Twitter, you can use URL shortening services such as bit.ly or hootsuite.com, which both have their own tracking capabilities built in. YouTube also has Insights available to view data about the videos posted.
These are only a few ways to measure success. It’s important to understand that positive dialogue about your company and an increased awareness of your brand can mean success for social media. So as you’re working to grow your social media presence, take a look into channel specific measurements of success as well as pay attention to the conversations held. Are they positive? Are people spreading the information that you post? Social media doesn’t always lead to direct sales, but positive interaction over time and increasing brand awareness certainly can.