One of the more interesting, maybe even downright controversial aspects of social media is actually measuring results. How have your strategies actually helped your website? While businesses focus on the ROI in dollars, bloggers focus on the ROI in traffic.
Naturally, being the statistics geek that I am, I wondered if I could match up the stats that Triberr gives you for visits from everyone’s unique Triberr URL of your post to the number of visits you see in Google Analytics.
The Problem with Google Analytics
Before I get into actual stats, I have to preface this with the fact that there are a lot of numbers that Google Analytics misses. These usually get lumped into the Direct Traffic section of your Google Analytics traffic sources. Direct Traffic includes anything from people using browsers that have enabled private browsing (see Firefox’s privacy settings, for example) to people who click on a link within a mobile application such as my personal favorite, HootSuite for Android.
The point being is, while you can track a lot of things in Google Analytics, you have to accept the fact that a lot of things will also be missed. Plus, the way some networks track their clicks may be different than how Google Analytics tracks visits. For example, I’ve seen some posts like my LinkedIn for bloggers have 645 views on StumbleUpon, but Google Analytics only shows 271 total visits from StumbleUpon as a referrer.
Triberr Visits vs. Google Analytics
Now, without further ado, here is a look at the last post I shared on Triberr, Thesis vs Genesis. This post has a lower number of tweets / retweets than some of the others I have sent through Triberr because it really only caters to WordPress users interested in theme shopping, but since it was my latest, I went with it. Here’s what you are looking at:
- User Stats – The user stats (mostly in there for my own interest) is the followers and Klout rating for each Triberr member that shared my post.
- Google Analytics – Statistics (Visits, Pages Per Visit, Time on Site, and Bounce Rate) from the unique t.co shortened URLs from each Triberr member’s tweets.
- Triberr Stats – Visits counted by Triberr for each member’s unique URL.
- Difference, Total, and Averages – The difference between Triberr visits and Google Analytics for each member’s tweets, plus visit totals and averages of Pages Per Visit, Time on Site, and Bounce Rate.
So as you can see, the difference in visit count is pretty big with a total of 220 visits counted by Triberr vs the 62 visits counted in Google Analytics. Of course, things to keep in mind include:
- HootSuite, for example, doesn’t show the t.co link in their dashboard but the actual Triberr shortened link. And all clicks inside the HootSuite dashboard are shown as referrals from HootSuite. I had a total of 37 visits from HootSuite.
- Not all of the t.co links even registered in Analytics, meaning they could have been counted as Direct Traffic. I had a total of 196 visits under Direct Traffic, including 41 from mobile users and 27 from iPad or other tablet users.
- People share their tweets on other networks, including Facebook and LinkedIn, which could also have accounted for some visits without using the t.co referral link. I had a total of 87 visits from Facebook and 5 from LinkedIn. What’s amusing is I know I had more visits that that from LinkedIn as I got comments in WordPress groups from 10 different individual who read the post and had some questions / feedback.
- Some additional traffic that could come as a result of Triberr includes people who visit the post and retweet it using the post’s own Twitter button instead of retweeting the a tribe member’s tweet with their tracking URL.
- The Triberr URL shortened links were not tracked in Google Analytics. Most URL shorteners like bit.ly, owl.ly, and others also don’t show up in Google Analytics.
As far as overall statistics for the Thesis vs Genesis post, I had a total of 1,176 visits with an average of 1.67 Pages Per Visit, 0:02:20 Time on Site, and 72.36% Bounce Rate plus 200+ tweets, 60+ comments, and 81+ shares on LinkedIn. While it may not have done as well on Triberr due to its specific topic, it has performed quite nicely overall. My best performer on Triberr is my post on why I’m going to Blog World Expo plus discount code which, according to Triberr, received 541 visits from six members’ tweets.
While I wouldn’t suggest doing this unless you’re really curious and you have about an hour and a half to spare to do all of the tracking, here’s how I pulled these numbers.
- I went to the Topsy page for my post which shows you most of the tweets for any page.
- I found the tweets from each member in my tribes, went to them on Twitter, and copied the t.co URL. I also copied the Triberr URLs, but it turns out those don’t show up at all in Google Analytics, so it’s pretty pointless.
- I created an Advanced Segment in Google Analytics only showing information for that post’s URL.
- I drilled down on the t.co referral to see the unique URLs and grabbed their stats to compare to the stats in the Triberr dashboard for my post.
The time it takes to run these numbers really depends on how many people you have in your tribes sharing your post. I would suggest doing it a week later if possible so you can see the full results. I recorded mine in a spreadsheet of course (you can see the sample in Google Docs and either save it to your own account or download it for Excel / Open Office for personal use).
What does this all go to show? It’s bloody difficult to track every bit of traffic from social media in Google Analytics! But you can get some good information from the parts you can track, like:
- Certain users (which I excluded from the spreadsheet for privacy reasons, but I know who they are) produced better quality visitors with a lower bounce rate than others.
- Certain tribes have more members that tweet your posts.
- The general timeline when everything is sent out (left out of the above screenshot for spacing reasons, but included in the sample spreadsheet).
- How follower count and Klout relate to the rate of retweets and better quality visitors.
So is there lots to learn? Yes. Is it conclusive? Not entirely. Worth it? That’s up to you!
Benefits Beyond Traffic
So if Triberr isn’t bringing you the traffic you expected to see, then what are other benefits of the service? Some I have found include:
- Getting in tune with other bloggers you follow and seeing their posts sooner than you would compared to sorting through your RSS reader. For me, it’s like a reader with 50 vs. 500 subscriptions!
- Getting to know new bloggers in your niche that you might not have met otherwise. I suggest for this one you create a Triberr Twitter list with all of the people in your tribes and start interacting with them regularly beyond just tweeting their posts.
- Regularly feeding great content to your Twitter followers. For this part, I go fully manual meaning I read and approve every post I tweet out.
Of course, there are also drawbacks. When I did my post on how I use Triberr, I received several tweets from that people said they unfollow anyone who tweets from Triberr. This is why I suggest doing the manual mode – so your followers know you aren’t tweeting for others so they’ll tweet for you, but that you are incorporating the service as a part of your strategy for better content curation. Also don’t forget there are more blogs out there than just the ones in your tribe – keep reading and tweeting those too!
As always, now it’s your turn. What have you noticed about your Triberr traffic counts vs what you see in Analytics? Have you overall seen better performance on your posts since joining Triberr? What other benefits do you get from your tribes? Please share your thoughts!