Posts filed under ‘Web metrics’

Measuring social media

An interesting post from the Buzz Bin which provides a good summary of current thoughts on how to measure social media such as blogs, social networks and podcasts. Well worth a read…


January 8, 2008 at 8:00 pm Leave a comment

Measuring online behaviour – statistics to indicators

I’ve written previously about measuring online behaviour and how it can be linked to overall PR evaluation. I found of interest the recent news from Nielsen that they will now rank websites by time spent on sites rather than number of pages viewed. Interesting, as this is a recognition that an indirect indication of “interest” or “engagement” is the amount of time spent on a website, e.g. watching a video, clicking through a slide presentation, reading a text, etc.

When looking at measuring online behaviour, I’ve seen quite some organisations simply drowning in data from web metric software packages and are unable to pull out a real analysis of what they have achieved – or not through the web.

Ultimately indicators should be set to measure success by. These could be:

  • “engagement” (average time spent on website),
  • “interest” (number of podcast downloaded),
  • “conversion” (number of sign-ups for a sales offer),
  • “preferences” (growth in visits to a new language version) ,
  • etc., etc .

On a related note, when thinking about how to measure online social networking, the Measurement Standard blog provides an interesting list of suggested indicators to measure.


July 17, 2007 at 7:48 pm 2 comments

Beware: dodgy Blog ROI in circulation

Forrester Research have published a new report on the “ROI of blogging” (at USD $ 379 a pop). And I’ve seen that many bloggers have jumped on this with utmost enthusiasm.

Well hold on….

Although Charlene Li of Forrester explains well the ROI model there are some fundamental flaws of the ROI calculation that KD Paine and David Phillips explain further. As KD Paine put it:

“The false assumptions and inaccuracies in this report are scary”

What is the main flaw? Well, the whole blog ROI calculation falls down as it is based on comparing purchased advertising to editorial content, which is a highly discredited way of measuring PR value (read more about comparing advertising to editorial content in this report (pdf) by some leading scholars).

The report does have some interesting points in that it attempts to pull out some of benefits of blogging (such as customer insights) and comparing this to the cost of market research). Certainly the idea of showing how visibility grows from a blog post (through generating comments, thoughts and referrals) to changes in attitudes and behaviors is heading in the right direction, as I’ve written about before.

And as for blogging ROI, I would look more at the cost of working hours in blogging and comparing it to working hours needed to mount a traditional campaign – and comparing the changes to behaviour and attitude using both methods (admittedly easier said than done). That would be more a measure of “efficiency” than anything else.


February 16, 2007 at 8:32 am 1 comment

Measuring Online Behaviour – Part 2

Further to my earlier post on measuring online behaviour, I would recommend this article in Brandweek. The article (which I read about on K D Paine’s blog), explains well the current practices of many companies in tracking online behaviour (particularly linked to online campaigns). It goes in the direction that I think – that is, in the online environment, we can measure behaviour of publics to supplement “offline” measurement.

I encourage companies to focus on performance indicators, that moves away from looking at visit statistics and more into what actions are undertaken by a user when visiting a website, for example: referral (referring a page/issue to a friend), commitment (signing-up or endorsing a given activity) or task completion (completing an action online – e.g. playing a game, requesting information, etc.).

Some point of interest I noted from this article:

– Time spent looking at a web feature is an important measure for some campaigns

– IBM looks at registrations and opt-ins as success measures for campaigns

– The Pharmaceutical industry is increasingly turning to online measurement as more and more patients seek medical information online.


August 27, 2006 at 8:36 pm Leave a comment

Measuring Online Behavior

A lot has already been written about how we can measure online behavior through looking at indicators from web site statistics or “web metrics”. As part of PR measurement, web metrics can provide an interesting complement to other measures being taken. For example, in campaigning, online behaviour such as signing a petition, referring a page to a friend or uploading a message of support can be measures of behavior change and supplement “offline” measures. In advertising, the use of web metrics is making advertising more “measurable” and impacting the business model in general. This article in The Economist sums up well this change.

I found this explanation from a Google representative quoted in the article of interest:

Old way of “offline” advertising:
“Advertisers are always trying to block the stream of information to the user in order to blast their message to him.”

New way of “online” advertising:
“On the internet, by contrast, advertisers have no choice but to go with the user, the information coming back from the users is more important than the messages going out.The interactive nature of the Internet makes this possible; the medium more measurable and a two-way symmetrical approach to communications feasible.


August 3, 2006 at 8:00 pm 2 comments

Media monitoring to behaviour changes

Can we make the logical step to “output” with media monitoring – measuring changes to knowledge, behaviour or attitudes? With traditional media monitoring we cannot. And that’s the missing link of most media monitoring – how can we tell if the media exposure led to a change with a given audience? Polling of audiences and making an informed assumption linking their media use with changes observed is possible – but cost and complexity are the main deterrents for many organisations.

But with the online environment, there are some interesting developments in the ability to link media exposure with an actual behaviour change of an audience. Take this example: people who read an article online and then link to it in their blog have made a behaviour change – a simple example. If we could show the path from media exposure to the triggering of thoughts, comments, actions and ideas we are heading in the “outcome” direction. David Phillips of Leaverwealth blog is working in this area and is developing software to summarise content of RSS feeds under subject headings and show the path to the original stories and posts. This uses a statistical/mathematical technique, Latent Semantic Analysis which extracts and represents the similarity of meaning of words and passages. Now, that’s much more valuable than clip counting.


July 11, 2006 at 5:39 am 3 comments

PR Measurement and Google Trends

The new “Google Trends” product is a nice complementary tool for monitoring the “noise” out there on an issue. It may prove useful for organisations that want to track general interest on a trend, or on related issues to see if there is any correlation.

What is interesting is that we can get an idea of the impact of events and policy announcements on issues – and how it spikes interest in an issue – and thus increased search results and news stories.

In the graph below, I have chartered WWF (blue line) and climate change (red line). The letters (A, B, C etc.) indicate major news stories on events and announcements. What is interesting is the peak around certain events (like D, a climate change conference) and both searches on WWF and climate change rise slightly. Also there are unexplained peaks in the search and news volume.

What can we conclude from this? Firstly, the search and news volumes on WWF and climate change do mirror each other often in terms of peaks and troughs which could be reassuring to the organisation as climate change is one of its key campaigns. Secondly, it supports the notion that events and policy announcements influence a public’s awareness and interest in an issue and may help track and explain these spikes. I wrote about this before in what I termed the “Kylie effect“. Thirdly, it shows that there are still spikes in public interest that are not traceable to news/policy announcements (look at the spike in early 2004 for both WWF and climate change). Could it be partly explained because Google Trends does not include blogs in its analysis? They could be a possible source of some peaks (i.e. a blogger writes about an issue, links to a story or WWF site inciting interest in the issue).  Steve Rubel points out this weakness in the analytical power of the new tool. KD Paine has also written about the tool and PR measurement.


May 19, 2006 at 12:15 pm 2 comments

LIFT06 and Blog Monitoring – Part 2

As an indication of the level of interest and noise concerning LIFT06, I’ve looked again at the number of blog posts that mention LIFT06. In the first graph below from Technorati, we can see the some 70 posts mentioned LIFT06 on 3rd February, the last day of the conference. The second graph from BlogPulse of Intelliseek shows out of all blogs posted globally, what percentage mention LIFT. We see a jump from .001% on 1st February to .008% on 3rd February. I presume these charts are compiled based on posts that tag with “LIFT06”, so they probably do not register all posts. Nevertheless, the jump is quite significant.


February 4, 2006 at 8:56 pm Leave a comment

LIFT06 and Blog Monitoring

As part of the evaluation of LIFT06, I am looking at what the attendees are blogging about concerning the conference. This chart from Technorati shows the number of posts that mention LIFT06 – it will certainly peak over the next days of the conference. From an evaluation point it’s limited in its use but it provides an indication of the interest and noise concerning the conference.
Technorati Chart

February 2, 2006 at 9:04 am Leave a comment

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