Social Metrics Get Interesting
Web analytics continue to evolve at a fast pace, with ever-emerging packages aiming to help organizations not only analyze user activity on their website, but ultimately shape and influence future site functionality.
Free analytics packages such as Google Analytics (GA) can be useful tools for an organization to measure site traffic, with options such as site segmentation allowing you to measure site traffic. Owing to the reach and power of the Google search tool you can also integrate with Google Adsense to maximise data on your online advertising program.
Paid packages such as Web Trends offer a range of products, while Omniture, sold to Adobe in 2009 (interesting to see what happens here), have similar offerings with a range of products all offering varying levels and angles on user data analysis. Of course your website may require coding changes to enable any analytics package tool, free or paid, to be optimized according to your business, strategic or marketing objectives. The scope of any changes will depend on a number of factors including available budget, the simplicity of the technological solution and the resources available to implement this, so it could take from a day to weeks to deliver a working informative solution.
Web Trends and Omniture now also offer incarnations of social metrics options which allow an organization to measure social media. A consulting organization, Web Analytics Demystified, has now released an interesting, freely available report which contains social media measurement framework, linking this directly to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to be considered in order to obtain a direct business benefit.
It provides formulas for the defined social business objectives and their associated KPIs. One of the four key objectives they've identified is "promoting advocacy," where specific individuals support the brand by activity not only on any social media within the product site, but all other forms of online social tools. Associated KPIs are then defined, including a specific formula to to calculate active advocates in which how active an advocate has been over the past 30 days is divided by the total number of advocates.
The key here is that concrete measurements for the business can help to justify continued investment in social media, which will in theory lead to more informed decisions for consumers when purchasing products and services, as well as richer feedback for the product owner.