Tag Archives: google analytics

Social media: What's ahead for 2009?

It only makes sense to make the first post of 2009 about what’s ahead this year for social media. Please add your input, as I’m really just providing a few jumping points. Maybe at the end of the year, we can look back and see how well we did.

1. Twitter will hit critical mass

And no, I don’t think it has already because many of my friends still gave me odd looks when I mention my “tweeple” or that I’m heading to a “tweetup.” However, in 2008 Twitter had so much momentum and I think it will just keep growing. Also I think Twitter may start trying to monetize. Not sure how, though, ads? Any other ideas?

2. “Personal branding” will have more clout

I have been telling my friends all year to get online and start building their personal brands. Start a blog, an online portfolio, get on Twitter, ‘professionalize’ your Facebook profile, etc.

Now with words like ‘recession,’ and unemployment at an all-time high, finding a job is much more about marketing yourself. Companies are going to be faced with increased competition for positions, and you can make yourself stand out by showing your ability to change with the times and demonstrated initiative.

3. 2009 will be the year of meaningful metrics

With budgets tightened and staff skimped, many companies will turn to social media to maximize ROI–this is nothing new, but the tools to measure success need improvements. I track the traffic to Web2dotwhat.com using three tools- Google Analytics, Feedburner and Clicky. Sadly all three report different numbers (not sure which is correct, but I think Clicky is most accurate). Those who have a really good understanding of metrics and analytics will be in a great position to help others. I for one hope to see an easy-to-understand/use tool aimed at PR/marketing folk for blog tracking.

4. Content quality will become the crucial element

Right now, if you are publishing any sort of content, if it’s not blatantly terrible you’ll probably get traffic, comments, new subscribers, conversions, etc. However this year I think quality will trump quantity as the noise ratio out there is just getting too high. When hiring someone to produce content, make sure he/she has solid communication and writing skills, as well as an expert understanding of the medium.

5. It’s all about you, forget about me

I don’t mean literally! But there’s still a lot of “me, me, me” content out there, when it should be “you, you, you.” While this concept is certainly nothing new, it desperately needs to be put in practice. If you’re not sure what I mean, find a site you like and read through it, is it speaking to YOU, or is it talking about ME (or we)? Chances are, if you like it, it’s probably speaking to you. If you think the content comes across as cocky or arrogant, it’s probably speaking about itself. As competition steepens and budgets deplete this will be more important than ever.

So what do you think? Am I accurate? Do you have other predictions to add?

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Social Media Monitoring Review: Techrigy SM2

Image representing Techrigy as depicted in Cru...

OK, so it’s been a while, but SM2 is one of the tools I’ve been enthusiastic about reviewing since I started. (To recap, you can check out my review of Social Radar as well as Radian6). One thing I particularly loved about Techrigy SM2 is it has a ‘freenium’ option! Which is really handy if you do not have a big brand and lots of keywords to manage and no budget for social media monitoring–such as I do.

But on to the good stuff. There’s two things that really stood out about SM2, for starters I was impressed with what they offered in a free account and secondly it looks very similar to Google Analytics. This is great because if you’re already a GA user, you’ll have no trouble finding your way around.

One thing about SM2 is it says it’s created specifically for PR/Marketing agencies. However, I would argue that it’s a perfect tool for small companies that have a big presence online. Not to say it’s not good for agencies as well, as you can create separate profiles per client, but it’s easy to use and again, looking like Google Analytics makes it easy for anyone already familiar with the layout.

Here’s a few screenshots of the product (from the site as they’re much more interesting than the ones I tried to make:

Demographics--breaking down your audience
Demographics--breaking down your audience (click for larger)
Trends - keyword mentions by day
Trends - keyword mentions by day

So to re-cap, here’s what I like about SM2:

  • Familiarity in design (similar to Google Analytics)
  • Great data about your audience. Gives you gender and age of authors writing about you, which is great if you are sending pitches to bloggers.
  • Author tags give you an idea of what other topics sites that mention you are talking about. Again great for crafting pitches, as well as to give you context to what people are writing about.
  • Collection from a variety of sources, includes microblogs
  • Sends you a daily email of search results on your keywords. Love this, don’t need to log in everyday, get a quick summary and I can go in for more details when needed.

The only downside I saw to SM2 is it doesn’t have the build-your-own dashboard that the other tools I’ve seen had, it’s definitely a solid tool that will definitely ease your analytic mind. And I am definitely going to continue using it for my own work at SmartHippo.

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Can't-live-without web tools

Since my previous post was all about sites you’ve forgotten about, it seems fitting this one be all about ones you can’t live without. However, now I want to address web tools. I was just thinking the other day, I self-taught myself HTML when I was 13 and built a couple web site back in the day but of course it was a tedious, time-consuming effort. So after the novelty wore off, I gave up on building web sites because I never really wanted to be a web developer. However, I remembered just how rewarded and accomplished I felt to have my own little piece of real estate on the World Wide Web…

And look here I am again! However, this time, I built the blog from nothing in a couple of hours. First I bought some hosting and a domain. I went with a hosting provider that self-installs WordPress, so piece of cake… then I picked out a template, tweaked it a little and voila! Really *anyone* can do it. Really freakin’ cool when you think about it!

So on to the point, here are some web tools/apps/sites I just couldn’t bare to live without.

WordPress

I think I just explained this one pretty well, but I would also pick WordPress over Typepad, Movable Type and Blogger (yes, I’ve used them all!) because I just find it amazingly versatile and you can set up your blog ‘quick and dirty’ as I did with this one, or spend a lot of time making it absolutely how you want it (which is what I *want* to do with this one day). Also I’m constantly amazed with all the plug-ins, and constant updates. It’s just great.

Feedburner

Because what’s the point of talking if no one’s listening? I love the details Feedburner provides and tracking subscribers. Paired with Google Analytics you’ve got a full picture of who’s visiting your site, and after following for a while you can start to get a solid grasp on what works, what doesn’t, etc.

Google Analytics

Back when I learned to build web sites, as best as I can recall there wasn’t really much to measure your traffic aside from those stupid hit counters which never seemed to work. When my parents ran their own business I maintained the web site and I remember they had paid some company a lot of money to produce these “reports” about the traffic. Which were about as easy to read as a Japanese dictionary. While there are some great analytics tools out  there today, Google Analytics is fabulous…AND free. The great thing is, even if you don’t really know too much about analytics, Google makes it so easy to understand, within a couple of hours of poking around you will feel like a pro!

Youtube

Can you even remember life before Youtube? It’s only been three years, but for many of us, it’s changed the way we use the Internet.It used to be such a pain for the average person to post a video. I remember working on an e-newsletter for my college, and the administrative staff wanted to put a video in it. I remember spending hours trying to figure out how to convert file formats, compress the file as much as possible and posting a link on the landing page that subscribers would have to click to download the video file. It was ridiculous.

And finally… My *all-time* favourite…

Twitter

Twitter has literally changed the way I communicate. (Now it is only in 140 character intervals!) but seriously, via Twitter I am able to quickly find answers to probably any question I can imagine, “meet” people in my field or with similar interests around the globe and network/get to know each other without it being creepy or overly personal–which I love. I could go on all day about how handy I think it is, the versatility and many uses… but it’s Friday, so I’m out of here! (Oh yea, if you aren’t already, don’t forget to follow me!)

So what tools have changed the way you live/work/socialize? What could you absolutely never live without again?