Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Track Your Twitter Campaigns In Real Time With Yahoo! Web Analytics: Part 1

One of the bonuses of using Yahoo! Web Analytics is that it reports back data in real time.

Q: Are all reports in Y!WA real-time?
A: Yes, Yahoo! Web Analytics maintains detailed records of every visit to your website in its database. When you request a report, Yahoo! Web Analytics mines this database to produce real time reports. All you have to do is to select a target period in your calendar.

Some advertisers have told me that they don't see a need for real-time reporting, but I would disagree. To those advertisers I say, have you heard of Twitter?

Yes, Twitter. That HUGE real-time social networking platform that is teaching some of the world's largest companies a thing or two about the value of social branding on the web. It's also teaching the the world's largest companies a thing or two about customer relations. Thanks to real-time social networking these days, brands are either being praised or flushed down the toilet in a very short amount of time (remember the Oprah/Twitter/KFC disaster last year).

The point is, since advertising has started to move viral in real-time, shouldn't you start tracking those advertising efforts in real-time to help you better understand your customers?

I recently came across a nicely written blog titled, "Tracking Online and Offline Marketing Campaigns with Google Analytics" The writer did a great job of walking you through a step by step process of using Google Analytics to track your email, banner/display, Twitter, paid search, and offline campaigns. The writer then followed up the implementation steps by providing a summary of how to view the reports in Google Analytics once the campaign data was captured. A fantastic example of how to measure your advertising efforts under one roof so you can make smarter budgeting decisions.

The only issue I had with the Twitter example is that Google Analytics does not provide real-time data. So for those advertisers that are launching branded campaigns on Twitter, they are going to have to wait from a few hours to 24 hours before they can start to evaluate the effectiveness of their Twitter campaign. Sure, you could wait so that you can make decisions with a larger sample of data, but then what's the point of launching a campaign on a real-time social platform if you can't measure the results in real-time and make real-time decisions? Do you follow me?

As an advertiser, wouldn't you rather know in real-time how many times that "bit" or "tiny" URL (that you created for your campaign) was being clicked on as it was being sent all over Twitter on a massive scale? I would! With the speed at which information travels across Twitter these days, you could take action in real-time if that campaign wasn't performing well. When have you EVER been able to take that kind of immediate action on a campaign?

And remember, just because your campaign is receiving lots of clicks, it doesn't mean your campaign is performing well. You may receive lots of clicks because somebody made a negative tweet about your product or service and everybody wants to see what your product or service is all about. Being able to compare your click data in real-time along with what tweeters are saying about your campaign could save you a big headache in the long run by allowing you to tweak your campaign messaging on the fly.

In Part 2, I'll explain how you can use Yahoo! Web Analytics to track your Twitter campaigns in real-time.....even if you're already using other analytics platforms (such as Google Analytics) to track those campaigns. It's easier than you think.