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Finally! Twitter unveils analytics tool

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 14th September 2011

Could this be the moment socially-enabled companies and agencies of all types have been waiting for? Very possibly.

Twitter has finally unveiled an official analytics tool – Twitter Web Analytics.

As I have blogged about on many occasions, an official analytics product from Twitter makes so much sense and surely could/will be a key part of the long-promised corporate or paid for accounts the social network has hinted at on many occasions.

So what has Twitter actually revealed? According to the official blog post:

Today we’re announcing Twitter Web Analytics, a tool that helps website owners understand how much traffic they receive from Twitter and the effectiveness of Twitter integrations on their sites. Twitter Web Analytics was driven by the acquisition of BackType, which we announced in July.

Twitter reveals that the product – which will be rolled out to a select few this week – will incorporate the following features:

  • See how Twitter content is being shared around the web
  • Track the amount of traffic from Twitter to a company’s website – including clicks per tweets
  • Measure the effectiveness of ‘official’ Twitter buttons
  • An API allowing third party analytics tools to incorporate this data

Interestingly, the focus here isn’t on content you share through a Twitter account, it’s on how content on your website has been shared, whether or not you share it through your account. It also provides you with a stream of tweets that reference your content, allowing you to easily reply to or take action based on activity.

The blog post reveals that the rest of us should have access to this feature in the “next few weeks”.

Generally, this is a move that should be welcomed. As a tech PR, I have been hoping for some sort of analytics product for ages. Sure, there have been third party tools that claim to do this to differing levels or success and/or accuracy and there are also various different Google analytics hacks that can help provide certain insights. But an official product that can make the most of the entire Twitter firehose is very exciting.

The product was announced at Techcrunch’s Disrupt conference and the publisher has some interesting detail to add on how Twitter analytics will actually work:

When you log in to your designated account, you’ll see a number of metrics including how many Tweets (this includes Tweets of all kinds), across the network include links to your publisher site as well as the number of clicks. You’ll also be able to see the weekly, daily and monthly number of clicks from any Tweet sent from the site via a Tweet button.

…Twitter will also show you all the Tweets that were sent from the Tweet button on your site, as well as any Tweet that was sent with an inbound link to your site. From the analytics platform you can retweet these Tweets as well as respond to these users.Another extremely useful feature is the ability to see the top links by day, week and month by Tweets and clicks. Users can also add more than one website to a dashboard, and sub-domains as well. Additionally, Twitter will show users what the average number of clicks Tweets received within given time periods and well as the percent of Tweets that were generated using the Tweet button.

You can see the full video of the announcement below.

The social media battle is on?

We’re going through an interesting phase in the whole social media sphere at the moment. The launch of Google+ has put the cat amongst the pigeons with Facebook rolling out a series of ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ features over the last few weeks. And Twitter itself announced some impressive user figures this week too.

We are reaching a point at which these social media giants realise now is the time for them to push for supremacy and, while I believe there is plenty of space for co-habitation, that doesn’t stop these networks from competing for users and column inches.

The fact that Facebook has provided an insight/analytics product for some time is a case in point here. Again, as I have blogged about on several occasions, businesses remain the golden bullet for many social networks when it comes to monetisation. The rumours that Twitter was languishing in no-mans’s land for a time seems to hold some sway. But since Dick Costolo took over late last year, the company seems to have assumed greater commercial, marketing and product savvy.

So is this the start of a greater focus on providing the millions of businesses that use Twitter on a daily basis with greater tools to help them succeed on social media? As a tech PR, I hope so.