Monday, June 29, 2009

Social Media Analytics Part I

What is Social Media?

There are so many ways people define social media and some even argue that it is not really media. According to Wikipedia, Social media is content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. Simply put, social media refers to all the conversation and engagement that happen on networks and sites like facbook, myspace, twitter, blogspehere, youtube, flicke, messageboard, forums etc..

Since these conversations can have a big impact on your brand it becomes critical for a marketer to understand what people are talking about their brand/products etc. so that they can take appropriate actions and help in creating and fostering a positive chatter (conversation) about their brand. Social Media analytics is about measuring and analyzing Social media (content generated by people throughout the web).

Broadly, Social media measurements comes in two flavors
  1. Measuring the conversation about your brand in social media

  2. Measuring the impact your own social media efforts (e.g. the facebook widget that you spent tons of money on or links that you posted on twitter etc.)

In this post I will talk about the first point, "Measuring what conversation are happening about your brand". I will have second post to discuss about second post.

Challenge with Social Media Measurement

Social Media measurement is very different from measuring your own web site (this is what most of the web analytics tool measure). You own your own website. You can (should) measure interaction of your visitors with your website. Social Media happens with our without your active participation. It mostly happens outside the realms of your website such as conversation on twitter, blogs, forums, facebook etc. Since you don’t have any web analytics tool installed on these places it is hard to find out what’s happening. Even if you had a web analytics tool installed you won’t know what people are talking about. Which is what you would like to know? This sort of information is not available from traditional web analytics tools like Omniture Site Catalysts, WebTrends or Google Analytics.

Social Media Analytics Tools

There are new breed of tools that help you monitor the social buzz. These tools let you “listen” into the conversation about your brand
In these tools you specify a set of keywords that define your brand or are associated with your brand and then the tools do the rest. They crawl the social media networks/sites and find all the mentions of the specified keywords and bring them back to you in nicely formatted reports.
The setup in most of these tools is a very manual process. Once the data is back you will needs a human to go through and analyze the data (not any different from your web analytics tool).

What kind of information do these tools provide?

Most of these tools bring some flavor of the following information (and much more)
  • Brand Mentions - Conversation about your brand/competitor/industry (as specified by keywords). You get total mentions by day/week/month and also the ability to drill down to a specific conversations.

  • Brand Sentiment – What is the consumer sentiment towards your brand? Are they positive, negative, neutral on your brand?

  • Influencers - Who is talking about you? How influential are they and how many times have they talked about your brand.

Some of the Social Media Analytics Tools

Below are the screen shots from Radian6 and SM2. Representatives from both these companies were very helpful in responding to my tweet and providing me the screenshot of their tools (see below).



In part II I will talk about how you can measure the impact your own social media efforts (e.g. the facebook widget that you spent tons of money on or links that you posted on twitter etc.).

I might also write reviews of some of the tools mentioned above, if you are a vendor of social media analytics tool and would like me to do a review please contact me.

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  1. I mainly use Raven Internet Marketing Tools which has a social media dashboard built in using Social Mention.

    I also create custom urls with campaign parameters built in to track within Google Analytics.

  2. Anonymous7:50 AM

    Great post, I have used Techrigy - SM2 in the past and it is a very impressive platform, but does take a bit more to play around and ensure that you are getting all the data you need.

    It seems Radian6 seems to be gaining some decent traction in the market and posistive comments within social media sites such as twitter.

  3. Hello Anil: We'd love for you to review the Scout Labs application; unlike some of the other applications you mention in your post, we offer a free trial to all customers and automated sentiment detection. You can sign up at or contact me directly if you'd like to take us for a test drive.


I would like to hear your comments and questions.