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Testing Social Analytics On Facebook


Anil Batra Posted by

The popularity of Facebook is growing. With 400 million users spending an average of almost an hour per day on the site, marketers are clamoring to invest in advertisements, Facebook Fan pages, custom applications, contests and more.

However, the analytics capability of for Facebook is pretty limited. So marketers spending all this money on facebook have very little insight into how their fan pages are performing.
Earlier this week I saw a tweet (message on twitter) with a link to Google Analytics hack for measuring facebook fan pages. We tried this hack but it had too many bugs and after wasting 2 hours we gave up on that solution.

As we were struggling with the GA hack, I got an email from Webtrends announcing their Facebook Measurement Capability. So I guess that is going to be our solution for measuring Facebook fan pages and custom apps but I will have to wait and see if it will live up to the expectations.

Here are some screenshots of Webtrends Facebook measurement reports

Here is a press release from WebTrends

“The ability to have concrete measurement on investments within Facebook and compare them apples to apples with other digital channels is critical to marketers,” said Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, vice president of marketing, Webtrends. “Our comprehensive approach to measuring Facebook, beyond just applications, allows marketers to understand the broader picture of how their Facebook investment is performing.”

Webtrends can now show you how your tabs, apps, and share features are working.

A few examples are:

  • Twitter activity driving to Facebook Fan pages
  • Facebook Fan page activity overlaid with corporate blog posts
  • Conversion performance if they happen in Facebook
  • Custom applications, Facebook page tabs, and Facebook ad click performance

Webtrends believes Facebook is one of the key social channels for brands to invest in and these capabilities will help them validate those investments.

Webtrends Analytics for Facebook
Webtrends’ new Facebook measurement capabilities utilize Webtrends Analytics 9, which combines our powerful real-time analytics engine with its best-in-class user interface. For the first time, marketers can view their Facebook measurement alongside other digital marketing investments such as websites, microsites, blogs, mobile apps, and more. Additionally, using Analytics 9’s RSS overlay capabilities, marketers can easily see the impact of promotional efforts. Tracking custom tabs, applications, and sharing provides the most complete measurement of Facebook available in the market.

How Webtrends Analytics Collects Data on Custom Tabs
Custom tabs and applications have critical differences for data collection, due to Facebook’s Terms of Service and its commitment to user privacy.

  • Brands can’t use traditional analytics methods for tracking custom tabs because Facebook does not allow Javascript, and they aggressively cache images.
  • To overcome these limitations, Webtrends developed a new method that uses their data collection API to bring Facebook data into Webtrends Analytics.
  • In addition to tracking tab views, Webtrends can also measure:
    • Tab views segmented by fans and non-fans
    • Clicks on buttons and links, such as the Share button and its options

How Webtrends Analytics Collects Data on Facebook Applications

  • Applications allow more tracking options both because they allow Javascript and because the Facebook’s Terms of Service allows for collection of user level data.
  • Webtrends utilizes their Data Collection API to bring Facebook data into Webtrends Analytics.
  • Webtrends can measure any type of application built on the Facebook platform.

The Great Data Giveaway – A Demonstration of Webtrends’ Facebook Measurement Capabilities
To demonstrate their new capabilities, Webtrends created a prototype Facebook campaign called The Great Data Giveaway. Webtrends is using this campaign as a model for their customers’ reference.

“Marketers are wrestling with how to earn and prove ROI from social media marketing,” said Kaykas-Wolff. “We designed The Great Data Giveaway to not only demonstrate our new capabilities in action, but to also show marketers that social channels like Facebook can generate qualified leads.”

The campaign is a drawing for prizes that appeal to Webtrends’ target market, which are data prizes like ReadWriteWeb premium reports and InfoChimps’ Twitter Census Data.

  1. Webtrends created an application and placed it on a custom tab on Facebook to explain the contest details. KPIs: views segmented by fans and non-fans.
  2. The user becomes a fan first (known as a “fan-gate”), then allows the installation of the app in compliance with Facebook’s Terms of Service. KPIs: Rate of fan interest, number of installs.
  3. Once the app is installed, the user can enter the contest via a form driven by our Eloqua marketing automation system. KPIs: Entries, follow-up email opens, follow-up email conversions.
  4. The app allows users to post the contest info to their wall. KPIs: Number of shares.
  5. Webtrends marketing provides air-cover for the contest by mentioning it on Twitter and in blogs. KPIs: RSS overlay of promotion efforts on views (tab) and visits (application).

“We are so proactive in talking about Facebook measurement because it’s a critical area of growth for our customers. The new capabilities we have developed were shown at our recent user conference, Engage 2010, earlier this month, and we have several implementations underway,” said Kaykas-Wolff. “To meet their needs and keep up with the rate of change in this space, we have a series of capabilities we’re adding to Webtrends Analytics that will be released in the near term and ongoing basis.”

Webtrends Analytics 9 for Facebook Webinar
Webtrends will also host a Webinar in April discussing how companies can take advantage of Facebook measurement in Webtrends Analytics 9. For more information including registration, date and time, please visit us here.

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About the Author: Anil has over 10 years of experience in Consulting, Business Intelligence, Web Analytics, Online Advertising and Behavioral Targeting. Anil helps companies use Web channel data to improve online business results (lead generation, conversion, retention and self-help metrics). Anil has helped several fortune 500 customers effectively use web analytics and increase their ROI on the web. Anil has worked with customers such as Microsoft, SmartMoney.com, ESPN, T-Mobile, Hoovers, Realnetworks, Starbucks, and TheStreet.com Anil holds a B. Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from India and an MBA from University of Washington, Seattle.

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