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 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 Facebookâ€™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.
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.