Measures of (Social-Media) Success
Congratulations, you've jumped into the social-media waters, and it feels pretty nice. Now what?
Your social-media plan — if you have one — should consist of goal-setting, implementation and measuring, among other things. That last part, metrics, frequently is overlooked, partly because the tools for measuring are still maturing and partly because there's no clear agreement over what to measure.
Not all tools measure the same kinds of things, so you may find several of these useful for your efforts. In addition, some are useful for measuring your blog's or website's reach, while others assess your mojo on a particular social network. My criteria, writing from the point of view of Socialbrite.org? The tool must be useful, free (freemium versions are allowed) and we had to use it ourselves.
Here are 14 free tools to measure your organization's impact in social media and on the Web.
What does your site rank for?
I'll bet you a nickel you haven't heard of SEMRush — and that you'll find it valuable. Just plunk your blog or website URL into the search field atop the page, and SEMRush will show the keywords it ranks highest for. For example, I had no idea that my Socialbrite article "4 Examples of Corporate Social Responsibility Done Right" is the No. 1 Google search result for "examples of corporate social responsibility" or that our article "How to Set Up an SMS Campaign System" is the No. 2 Google search result for "sms campaign." SEMRush will show you what you rank for, what your competitors rank for, what Google AdWords you might consider buying and the terms you should be focusing on in your blog posts.
How are visitors behaving?
We like what we've seen of Woopra, a Web analytics tool that provides real-time data about how users are interacting with your site. While the visitor moves through your site, you can see where she came from, her approximate location, the actions she performs and where she goes off to next. Woopra has a freemium model: While the free version of Woopra is severely limited, you may soon want to move up to the Bronze ($4.95 per month) or Silver editions ($14.95 per month), which let you segment your visitors (say, referrals from Facebook, Twitter or StumbleUpon), print out customized reports and track trends over time. Like SEMRush, Woopra helps you get your own house in order before moving on to your outposts on the social Web.
Scoring across three networks
Klout offers a daily summary of your organization's or team members' social-media influence, with a ranking that factors in your reach and impact on Twitter (metrics such as retweets, follower counts, list memberships, unique mentions), Facebook and LinkedIn. Klout has an open API that's integrated into many Twitter apps: More than 750 partners use Klout data, including HootSuite, CoTweet and Attensity360. For the end user, its analytics platform is rich and easy to use, even if the methodology used in spitting out a Klout Score is a bit opaque.
Stats you can use
Facebook beefed up its Insights service this year, to good effect. Now Facebook Insights resembles Google Analytics in many ways. As a page admin, your dashboard gives you access to a trove of data: daily active users, monthly active users, daily new likes, daily interactions such as comments, geographic location of your visitors (broken down by country, city and language), external referrals, internal link traffic and more. When you have spikes of user engagement, Insights will show you what caused them. It'll show you what content most interests your readers, and it'll let you and your team understand and analyze growth trends. One big limitation is that you can't access a lot of the data older than a week.
Are promotions working?
Our favorite URL shortener, bit.ly, provides double duty by offering analytics and click data for every link shortened. Click data lets you see how effective your social-media promotions are. Just log in to your account to see clickthrough numbers. A new feature, bundles, lets you group similar links together. Both the free version of bit.ly and bit.ly Pro handle our metrics needs without the need to upgrade to Enterprise ($995 per month).
Who's watching your videos?
If you're familiar with TubeMogul, you probably think of it simply as a way to upload your videos to multiple sites, saving you the hassle of uploading videos over and over. But TubeMogul has developed a rich set of metrics lately, letting you see stats on how many people have watched your videos across networks. Real-time analytics include views, viewed minutes, audience geography, embeds, referring sites and search terms, and more, all via your dashboard. Cross-compare by category, content delivery network, advertising mix or video player. And it's free.
Is your video 'hot'?
YouTube Insight is a self-service analytics and reporting tool that enables anyone with a YouTube account to view detailed statistics about the audience for the videos that you upload to the site. Use the information to analyze your marketing efforts — both on and off YouTube — and determine how best to optimize your campaigns. Watch the video and see metrics around views and popularity, how people get to your site, the content clicked on, average pages per visit, which parts of your video are "hot" and "cold," demographic information and community engagement.
Powerful and easy to use
Google Analytics has become such an indispensable part of the analytics landscape that it's not surprising we get a little blasé about it. But let's not forget the genius of this tool: You get super-rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness — for free. Create better-targeted ads, track sales and conversions, measure your site-engagement goals, track Web-enabled phones and mobile apps, integrate business info, and develop applications that access Google Analytics data. By the way, you can also add Google Analytics to your Facebook Page.
How do you stack up?
When was the last time you looked to see how your site or blog was doing over time? Google Analytics will provide traffic data more accurately than analytics services like Compete, Quantcast and Alexa, but these sites also show trends, a different set of demographics guesswork and, most pointedly, how your site measures up against your competitors'. Alexa offers search analytics showing the top queries driving traffic to your site from search engines. I actually use all three of these services — see which works best for your needs.
Are your feeds radiating out?
Now owned by Google, FeedBurner is the easiest way to roll your own feed — and then sit back and watch the stats roll it. It'll tell you how many people have subscribed to your blog or site — or even a section of your blog, if you set it up that way. Dig deeper and you'll find your Feed Stats Dashboard, revealing average subscribers, reach, popular feed items (recently and all time) and other interesting factoids. For instance, we didn't know Cambridge (Mass.) Community Television was aggregating Socialbrite's open content via our feeds until we spotted it in FeedBurner. Nice!
A wealth of options
There are a ton of third-party Twitter apps to measure your Twitter grandiosity. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Twitalyzer works for any Twitter account and gives you information about the impact score (percentile score) and the type of influencer it is.
- Grader.com is a suite of tools that helps you measure and analyze your marketing efforts. It shows the bio, location, history and the number of followers of the Twitter user you're researching, and more.
- TwitterCounter lets you count registrations and comments on a particular campaign you're running.
- BackTweets shows you how many people you reach on Twitter and helps you understand how people interact with your brand and your content.
- Type your Twitter ID into Twitaholic (where you can also see the most popular Twitter users in your city), or Twinfluence or Twittorati to see what kind of impact you're making.
- How far did your tweet travel? TweetReach offers reach metrics, statistics and analysis for marketing and PR professionals. Retweet Rank, TweetMeme, Twitturly and Retweetist also measure how often you get retweeted.
- TweetEffect determines which tweets make you lose or gain followers.
- My Tweeple is a basic tool that lets you manage who you're following and who's following you.
- TwitterSheep analyzes your follower profiles to assess their likelihood of engagement.
A modest tracking dashboard
PostRank provides detailed information on tweets, stumbles, Diggs and FriendFeed all in one place. It's suited to blogs and websites with a lot of content. Under its free plan, you can track and compare your sites and your competition — up to five sites in all — to get the full picture of your social engagement. You can also track your static and offsite content (PDFs, YouTube videos, SlideShare content) for up to 10 sites.
Are your pictures trending?
Flickr was one of the earliest social networks to provide metrics about how many people view your photos. For instance, you'll be able to see such stats as views for your photos, sets and galleries — today, yesterday and all time — your most viewed photos and videos, and how many have been geotagged or have comments. I just wish Flickr would tell you how many people are embedding your photos on their sites.
For brand lovers
Soovox has a slightly different take on the Klout model: Discover your Social IQ, share your likes and earn rewards. Your "social influence quotient" measures your online social presence footprint and assigns it a value that gets translated into rewards. The money you make can go to your organization or to your favorite charity.
Soovox is more geared to individuals who like to share their opinions about brands and products they love, but it's worth a look.
Other tools worth a look
Here are some other metrics tools we like. Not all of them are free:
- SeoQuake is a powerful tool for Mozilla Firefox, aimed at helping Web publishers who deal with search engine optimization and Internet promotion of websites. SeoQuake allows users to assess important SEO parameters of an Internet project on the fly.
- Social Report offers a social- network performance tracking, monitoring and reporting tool. It comes with a 30-day trial and prices starting at just $9 a month.
- Foursquare and Yelp provide business dashboards that have the ability to review check-in data and other metrics.
- Technorati and BlogPulse are blog search engines. Look for metrics around bloggers' influence and authority.
- Google Trends provides information on Web search trends around key terms and topics. It shows how often your topics have appeared in Google News stories and in which geographic region people have searched for them the most.
- Xinureturns provides a dashboard overview of your site's standing in social media. Run a report and you'll receive information on Technorati, Google PageRank, Diggs and even backlinks to your website.
- Tribe Monitor is a social statistics aggregator that helps you keep track of your fan base on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more.
This article was provided by Socialbrite.org. For more information on metrics and social media, go to socialbrite.org. FS
JD Lasica is a social-media strategist and founder of Socialbrite.org, a learning hub and social-media consultancy for nonprofits. Reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @jdlasica.