Thursday, April 30, 2009

An Analysis of Free Twitter Analytics Tools

As promised in my last post on Features I'd Like to See In a Twitter Analytics Platform, I promised I would provide an analysis of some of the free Twitter analytics tools on the market today.

I recently ran a test on my Jeremy Porter Twitter account using a variety of the Twitter tools that are out there. I've provided the results below to give you an idea of what you can expect from some of these early Twitter analytics offerings.


TweetStats is a very straightforward Twitter analytics tool that provides you with some useful graphs on things like Number of Tweets Per Month and your Tweet Density on specific days and times during the week.

TweetStats also provides you with graphs on Aggregate Daily Tweets or Hourly Tweets, your most popular Replies To, and which Twitter client you use most often. Overall, TweetStats is a great tool to get a quick glance at your tweet activity.


One of the latest additions to HubSpot's popular Grader family, TwitterGrader is an awesome tool for gauging how well you're performing in the Twitterverse. As you can see from the graph below, I scored a 98.4 out of 100 from TwitterGrader based on the tool's evaluation on my Twitter activity. Try TwitterGrader out and let me know what you score. Oh, did I mention how awesome these guys are? Their Grader tools are among the best ideas I've seen for generating inbound leads - which is what they do after all.


TweetRush was the least impressive of the tools I tried out for this evaluation. It really just provides you with a summary of your aggregate number of tweets and provides you with an average over time. In this case, I average about two tweets per day. Of course, I didn't tweet much early on, so the average is skewed a bit with this format. The results might be more impressive for you, particularly if you are a heavy tweeter.


Twinfluence didn't knock my socks off either. It really just provides you with an arbitrary ranking of your influence in the Twittersphere. In my case, I rank close to 12,000 - which is apparently in the 78th percentile of Twitter's 10 million plus users. Either way, it's a fun tool to play with as well. Again, I'd be interested in knowing what you score with this Twitter analysis tool.


I like this one. TwitterCounter shows a nice line graph of the increase in my Twitter Followers over time. This is a great at-a-glance way to see your trajectory in accumulating Twitter Followers, provided that's part of your Twitter Strategy. TwitterCounter provides historical snapshots of your Followers over time, and also supports the ability to compare different Twitter accounts for competitive analysis.


Twitalyzer wins hands down for its graphical representation of my Twitter activity, and its innovative approach to analyzing my Twitter behavior by five dimensions: Influence, Signal-to-Noise Ratio, Generosity, Velocity, and Clout. Twitalyzer's analysis is far more comprehensive and scientific than any of the other solutions, providing some impressive data for free. Twitalyzer probably has the greatest opportunity to capitalize on our desire to ego-check our Twitter prowess - or to analyze the results of your social media efforts on Twitter, without having to invest in heavy equipment. Twitalyzer is best positioned to be a gateway to premium offerings, providing users with a taste of things to come from more advanced Twitter analysis products.

As you can see, I score pretty low across most of Twitalyzer's dimensions. For more detailed information on how Twitalyzer works, visit the overview here (it's pretty impressive).


Did I miss one? Let me know. Feel free to share your advice on how Twitter users can monitor and track their social media success through Twitter. I'll be sure to let you know when I come across new tools to add to this list.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Features I'd Like to See In a Twitter Analytics Platform

In the months to come, I hope we'll get more advanced tools for measuring Twitter analytics and statistics in the marketplace. I'm optimistic that analytics will be a component of Twitter's eventual premium offerings - only because it appears they have Google Analytics installed on all user accounts. A best case scenario for me would be a tight integration with the Google Analytics API - something some smart people must be working on somewhere.

What types of analytics features would be useful for social media marketers? I would like to see the following:
  • Twitter Page Views: how many unique individuals visit my Twitter profile?
  • Source of Traffic: do people find me through Twitter search, through client-based searches, through #followfriday or #ff suggestions, from Twitter directories like Twellow or WeFollow, or do they follow me from another user's follower list? This information could be very helpful in refining my Twitter strategy.
  • Time of Day Activity: what time of day is best for my Tweets? When are users most responsive to my Tweets? When are the peak usage times for Twitterers in my target audiences?
  • Inbound Links: who is linking to my Twitter profile? You can accomplish this with Google Alerts or a Twitter alert service like TweetBeep or Twilert, but again, I'd like all of this to be incorporated into one solution.
  • RSS Subscribers: how many people are subscribed to my Twitter RSS feed? There may already be a way to track this, but I am not familiar with such an offering.
  • Geo-Tracking: what part of the world are my Twitter followers from? Show me a map of all my Twitter followers - or a map of where my traffic is coming from around the world.
  • Conversion: this should have been my first bullet. How many people decide to Follow Jeremy Porter after they hit my profile? Said another way, what is my Bounce Rate on Twitter (users that choose NOT to follow me after viewing my profile)?
  • Retention: how many unfollows do I get per day? What caused those unfollows? Tools like Qwitter could be helpful here, but I've found the service to be unreliable (I realize they're working to improve this). I'd like to go beyond alerts for unfollows, and dive deeper into trends in follower behavior. I'd also like to know what my retention rate is among my followers. Do most followers stick around, or do they bail after a couple of days? How many followers would I have if I improved my retention? You can see how this information could be vital to the success of your Twitter strategy.
  • A/B Testing: do I attract more followers with Tweets about general marketing topics or social media? Does a change in my bio drive more adoption? If I change my profile image, does it cause more abandons or more follows? This would be a powerful tool to have on Twitter.
While I'm sure some premium offerings on the market do some of these things already, I'm confident we'll see many of these features launched in new Twitter products in the months to come. For now, there are a variety of free tools on the market for evaluating analytics and statistics from your Twitter activity - or another user's activity, if you're doing competitive Twitter analysis.

In my next post, I'll do an analysis of some of the current free Twitter analytics tools on the market, to give you an idea of what you can expect. For now, please share your thoughts on features you'd like to see in Twitter analytics platforms.

(Image credit: jmilles)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ensembli As a Supplement to Google Alerts

We all struggle with information overload. As somebody who tries to keep up with a hundred or so blogs and a few dozen email newsletters, I'll admit I'm addicted to information. Of course, most of the information is redundant - or worse, not relevant to the information I need to do my work.

I'm always on the lookout for new tools to help me sift through information faster. I recently came across ensembli, a new search tool that sifts through tons of information sources - similar to how Google Alerts works - to deliver hand-picked information based on search terms.

I've been trying ensembli out for a couple of weeks now (they launched at the recent Demo event) and have been very impressed. Ensembli seems to find a lot of information I don't need - like alerts - but it's a learning system. Based on the actions I take with the items it delivers, the system adapts to find more relevant information.

I've matched some of my ensembli searches to those I have set up in Google Alerts, and have found the ensembli finds stuff Google doesn't. If you regularly monitor the Web for articles and posts, you may want to take ensembli for a spin.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Twitter As The Real-Time Search Engine

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the big picture for Google. While talks about a formal business model are a little more than speculation at this time, and rumors of acquisition talks are in the air, one can't help but wonder about the true potential for monetizing the Twitter phenomenon.

As somebody who has spent the past couple of years learning the ins and outs of search engine marketing, specifically in the areas of local and mobile search, I'm most interested in the application of Twitter as a real-time, location-aware search engine.

Take for example a local sushi restaurant MF Sushibar that I consult with from time to time. The restaurant enjoys solid local search engine rankings, with thousands of unique visitors coming to their site each month. These are customers who are specifically looking for a place to have sushi in Atlanta.

Search results for any combination of descriptive and geographic terms (i.e. "sushi" and "atlanta") will most likely yield pages from the company website, along with directory and map listings featuring the company's info. You can troll through the reviews to make a decision whether or not you want to make a reservation at MF, or you can ask your friends for suggestions. This is the result of local search engine optimization, the services we provide at Radius Online.

Twitter is an excellent place to ask your friends for suggestions, particularly if your friends are in the market you're looking for a recommendation in. Social networks also fall into this category for peer suggestions. Local directories such as Yelp!, Kudzu, OpenTable, or CitySearch can also provide you with suggestions, though most people are skeptical of reviews on these sites.

Now consider the potential for Twitter. Somebody from out of town is driving down Peachtree Street when they get a craving for sushi. They tweet "hey Atlanta peeps, what's a good sushi restaurant?" Followers chime in with suggestions. What if the restaurant were monitoring tweets for such keyword combinations as "atlanta" and "sushi"? They could instantly reply with the day's specials or a unique mobile coupon for the customer.

Now what if this could be automated? Anytime a customer tweets about "Atlanta" and "Sushi", they get an automated DM message with a special offer for today only. This is the power of real-time search, along with a unique application for local and mobile search. This could be where Twitter is going. Imagine the power you have when you can engage the customer at the exact moment they are considering a purchase.

As a separate example, I have another friend who rescues data off of fried hard drives. He monitors tweets for terms like "my hard drive just crashed" or "I can't get any files of my computer." Over the past few months, he's found dozens of new data recovery clients by doing this. Again, what if this could be automated? Rather than having to monitor thousands of tweets 24/7, you could automatically position your offers in front of users based on their thoughts and comments - what their need is right now.

This isn't unchartered territory, it's really just the latest channel where search engine marketing strategies can be applied. It's also only one of many potential uses for Twitter in its current form.

How are you monitoring tweets to find new opportunities? If you're not listening for potential opportunities, you could be missing out.