The number’s good except when it’s not

Based on a Hitwise report, Online Media Daily reported that Twitter’s “torrid growth has cooled since April.”  But the Hitwise number is deeply flawed – it doesn’t include traffic from “mobile and application-driven traffic.”

In other words, Hitwise’s report is based solely on traffic from Twitter’s web site.  It doesn’t include traffic from smartphones and applications like TweetDeck.   Hitwise’s report is just not that useful because it doesn’t include traffic from the devices and software that have made Twitter ubiquitous and easy to use, and which probably have contributed greatly to Twitter’s growth.

I say “probably” because we just don’t know one way or another.  Everyone’s still trying to figure out how to measure mobile web use.  It’s hard because there are multiple carriers and devices.  But just because a number is hard to get doesn’t mean we should use a number whose only virtue is that it’s easy.

 

What does “traffic” mean?

As heard from Martin Nisenholtz at the OMMA Global conference last week, Twitter drives 10 percent of the New York Times’ traffic.

What does this mean?  Is it 10 percent of page views?  Unique visitors?  Visits?  Page views per visit?  Visits per unique visitor?

Nisenholtz, the senior VP of the NYT’s digital operations, reportedly said that the NYT’s Twitter account has 1.8 million followers and growing.

OK.  That’s a nice big number.  But it doesn’t tell you anything about whether any of those followers – or anyone who got to the site through Twitter – really engaged with the site.  How many followers go to the NYT site?  How often?

I have no doubt Twitter is an important source of traffic – however it’s defined – for the NYT and other news sites.  Let’s take the time to dig deeper so we really understand Twitter’s impact.

Facebook removes geographic regions

By removing the ability to search fans by geographic region, Facebook just made it a little bit harder for news organizations to understand whether their Facebook pages are reaching their target audiences.

Facebook explained in June that it was removing the ability to join a regional network:  "If you've ever created a group or event and set it so that only members
of a certain regional network could join, that group or event will now
become open to everyone."

This panics data people.  "Everyone" is like "miscellaneous" or "all other."   It's like putting bunches of important documents in manila file folders, all unmarked.

Ben Parr of Mashable thinks that this is Facebook's "attempt to make [its] platform more open – part of its Twitterification."

This change reinforces the need for news orgs to clearly define the objectives, target audiences and business models for each

Continue reading “Facebook removes geographic regions”

Twitter: the future “pulse of the planet”

“If [Twitter] had a billion users, that will be the pulse of the planet.”

—  from TechCrunch, who received Twitter’s internal documents from a hacker

TechCrunch estimates that Twitter currently has 20 million U.S. users, “and nearly double that worldwide.”

So, Twitter’s got a ways to go, but the document projects it’ll reach that billion in five years, by 2013.

And oh yeah, it says it needs to make more revenue, too.  It wants to work up to “$1 per user per year.”

One formula for evaluating comments

Razorfish, a digital marketing agency, has developed a scoring system for evaluating how a company is discussed in Facebook, YouTube and other social media.

From Online Media Daily:  "The basic formula for deriving a brand's SIM
Score involves dividing "net sentiment" for a brand by the net
sentiment for its industry group. (Net sentiment = positive + neutral
conversations – negative conversations/total conversations.)
"

If tracked over time, this index can illustrate broad trends in your social media progress.  However, implementation could be difficult and time-intensive.  You have to ensure that "positive," "neutral" and "negative"  are clearly defined and applied consistently – no small task. Also, what's a "conversation?"

This formula weights comments from everyone equally.  This may not be appropriate in social media communities where there are individuals whose comments are more influential than others.

In any case – however you do it – do count and analyze your comments regularly and consistently to track your ability to maintain and grow a social network.