Social Media Analytics: Measuring the Web’s Newest Marketing Frontier

This guest post is by Justin McGill, founder and CEO of SEORCHERS (read: [surch-ers]), a local web marketing firm specializing in organic search engine optimization (SEO) with a focus on converting visitors into clients.

Facebook has long been a thorn in the side of marketing executives who understand the necessity of creating exposure on the popular networking site but who cringe at the thought of being unable to effectively measure ROI through traditional web analytics. While Facebook itself offered an analytics service, it was extremely limited in terms of what information could be gathered, restricting data to items such as demographic and geographic statistics or post comment numbers. All that is about to change.

Webtrends for Facebook

Webtrends recently introduced the first analytics system for Facebook that provided detailed information without operating through cumbersome image-based workarounds. With the Webtrends system, marketers can monitor custom tab interaction, link sharing, ad effectiveness and conversions, flash and custom apps. The company touted the ability to compare customer activity on Facebook and the effect those interactions were having on other venues side by side as a key aspect of their service. Quantifying customer activity on a given marketing rollout has been crucial to making the most of advertising dollars for many online businesses, and the importance of the Webtrends announcement cannot be underestimated.

Shortly after the pivotal Webtrends announcement, new analytics systems were introduced by Omniture and Coremetrics as well. Both companies are seeking to improve analytics capabilities for businesses since Facebook’s notoriously sparse information gathering options leave many companies hesitant to invest in more extensive marketing campaigns. Omniture has also recently partnered with Facebook to provide even more detailed analytics data, with new features promised in the coming months.

With the breakthrough announcement by Webtrends, social media marketing has entered a new phase of development. Businesses frustrated with the inability to measure ROI can now determine precisely which aspects of their social media marketing campaigns are producing the desired results and which ones should be scrapped in favor of new alternatives. As companies become ever more dependent on web analytics to evaluate marketing best practices, they can expect analytics developers to rise to the challenge by offering better and more specific programs across the spectrum of social media outlets.

As analytics needs increase, more companies will rise to the challenge by offering better options for creating marketing statistics to increase social media campaign effectiveness. Abilities such as measuring fan page visits and app interactions and then comparing those interactions to activity on company web sites could make or break the social media marketing ad venue for many businesses. Marketers already salivate over the idea of reaching millions of viewers with their messages. Now they can monitor conversions and data sharing among those viewers as well. The next step in the quest to improve web analytics will undoubtedly create even greater marketing effectiveness among social media networking sites. The race is on.

Your Thoughts

Have you used Webtrends or other analytics on your Facebook pages? Please share your experience, as well as what other metrics you would like to see measured on Facebook and social media.

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  1. says

    I don’t go on Facebook like I used to and personally find it a waste of time BUT I do use it for media buys and their ad system is about as complicated as it needs to be for what I do cost vs clicks. I have been able to disengage any runs quick and always use throw away debits that I can reload from my house if necessary :)
    But there’s many markets on FB I just avoid most of them
    Nice work Looks very interesting going to click off to their site now Thanks
    .-= New from John Sullivan Promote your Blog Partner Day =-.

    • says

      I have found Facebook much more tolerable using the Friend Lists, thus bypassing any bad apples on the friend’s list. I guess I have personal contacts that only use Facebook, so that’s why I am still into it.

    • says

      Google Analytics really just tracks the same thing for Facebook Pages that they do for regular sites – entrance sources, exit pages, bounce rate, pageviews, etc. WebTrends is offering more insight into the interaction that happens on pages, Facebook Ads, etc.

    • says

      I’m sure more companies in the future will offer Facebook analytics, but for now they offer more than Google Analytics does.

    • says

      That’s always a wise thing to do. I have run into several services that I didn’t need at the time I found them, but really regretted not bookmarking for future reference.

  2. says

    To me, Facebook is still mainly a platform for personal friendships. Google is the main destination for my internet marketing campaigns. However, it is definitely a new direction for anyone who wants to keep pace with the web and the rest of the world.
    .-= New from Chris@ online logo design How to run a successful logo design contest =-.

  3. says

    Interesting stuff, we have struggled to see any real returns in facebook marketing, even in industries such as travel and tourism. It is good that measurable results are now looking more realistic but people still search facebook with socialising in mind, not like Google where searchers are looking for solutions to everyday problems.
    .-= New from search engine optimisation Using Exact Match Domains to Targeted Traffic =-.

  4. says

    Hi Justin, nice to meet you. Do you have any idea what the costs for Webtrends will be? We’ve used it at my day job to track our web stats, but I’ve always been intrigued by Omniture (although the cost is out of reach). We’re using AWStats now and I’m still not happy. Google Analytics is my tool of choice. This info is timely because soon I’ll be establishing a fan page for engineering students that are interested in our technical documents. I need a crash course for FaceBook and this is my first lesson.

    Thanks Kristie for hosting Justin’s post.
    .-= New from Ileane@Blogging Guest Posting Contest – Will I Be A Winner? =-.

  5. says

    Thanks for the write up, Justin! Social marketing is heating up and we’re investing heavily in the development of tracking it.

    At this stage, we see brands primarily focusing on acquiring fans. Leading edge brands are working on activating those fans through contests, coupons, virtual gifts, etc. A few pioneers are now deploying long-term programs like stores and customer service tabs. We should see huge developments in social media marketing throughout 2010.

    Awesome time to be in the industry!

  6. says

    ..With the breakthrough announcement by Webtrends, social media marketing has entered a new phase of development. Businesses frustrated with the inability to measure ROI can now determine precisely which aspects of their social media marketing campaigns are producing the desired results..finally this has arrived. I was already sick and tired of these social media thingy but with this I will give it a try.

  7. says

    I am always amazed at how often you will see someone spend a good deal of money/time working with social sites, but with little concern about the stats side of it. Given the amount of info you can glean from sites like Facebook, which ends up being really useful when making marketing decisions, it always blows my mind.
    .-= New from Steve@Lift Chairs Arthritis Explained =-.

  8. says

    This is a good development. In most cases, for social media marketing, setting the correct KPIs and tracking ROI has been questionable. Any detailed metrics based on analytics should help improve this.

  9. says

    This is such a major breakthrough. It seems like everyone has a Facebook account and businesses are using it in every way possible for marketing but it has also seemed like no one really knew how worthwhile it was to spend so much time with marketing on Facebook. It certainly appears that Webtrends and the other programs mentioned will be giving us some answers!
    .-= New from Chuck Edwards@Weight Loss Tips Obesity In America =-.

  10. says

    Conversions are what business is all about, especially online. Offline, you have many more natural tools to turn a visitor or potential client, into a paying customer, the biggest one probably being one’s own personality.

    Online, however, can be much more difficult. Optimizing in organ search, for so called “buying keywords” is an interesting sub niche of SEM/SEO.

    This post had made me revisit the subject with more clarity.

    .-= New from Long Island Wedding Videographer Test =-.

  11. says

    Great Justin,
    Nice post about Facebook, be a marketer it is essential to be good social networking strength, if you have good covering with social network sites, you can create good brand image of your brand like time to time changes, innovation, new products specifications and reviews, Social networking is the best way to reach up to the customers..
    thanks for sharing with us…
    Brainpulse just posted Google Plus, a Revolution in Social Media Web Market