Using stats from Facebook’s self-serve advertising program

Even Facebook doesn't have demographics and user info. on all of its users, as this ReadWriteWeb story illustrates.  In particular, look at the comments which point out all of the problems with using an incomplete set of data.

Facebook doesn't require users to provide age, geographic location and other basic demographic data when they sign up.  Thus, the user data you get when you go through the self-serve advertising program doesn't include all of those people who didn't submit data.  And you don't know how many, or how these missing people differ.

Also, Facebook doesn't require people to update their data, which causes other problems.  One of the ReadWriteWeb story commenters noted that  students who graduate from a high school or college may or may not be counted as students.

Facebook data should not be used for planning your social media strategies and services.  You're better off guessing than using this data.  Bad data may

Continue reading “Using stats from Facebook’s self-serve advertising program”

The number of people watching “long” videos is increasing…

…which means you probably should measure video viewings by length of video in addition to the usual measures such as the amount of video viewed.

Online Media Daily reported that, according to Nielsen, the number of unique visitors to increased from 9 million to 10.1 million between October 2008 and May; total streams, 206,000 to 382,000.  You can watch entire TV series episodes and movies on Hulu. 

Also: "The average video is now 14 minutes long,
whereas a year ago all but one of Blip's top 25 shows was under 5
minutes. The two-minute limit no longer applies."

This is stark contrast to, the video service equivalent to Twitter.  12seconds can be incorporated with Twitter (it's a button on TweetDeck), Facebook and other social media services.

Some numbers for setting goals for e-mail newsletters

Here are some e-mail newsletter baselines to use when setting goals, as reported by eMarketer.   No surprises here:   E-mails set to smaller (and probably more targeted) numbers of people are opened and used more than those sent to higher numbers.

Media/Publishing Industry E-mail Rates

Number of e-mails sent

Percent of… 25 to 499 500 to 999 over 1,000
E-mails opened 4.3% 2.7% 2.7%
Links in e-mails clicked through to a website 28.9% 24.8% 14.2%

Source: “E-mail Marketing Click Rates Worldwide, by Industry and List Size, Second half 2008,” eMarketer from a MailerMailer LLC June 2009 report, July 6, 2009

“Value” of a Twitter or Facebook follower

Is a Twitter user worth 10 cents a month; a Facebook user, $2.75 a year?

As reported by the BBC, USocial, an Australian company, is "offering a paid service that finds followers." 

The estimate for a Facebook user comes from a comment from Jonathan W on a Silicon Alley Insider story that reports Facebook's annual revenue at $550 million.  If Facebook has about 200 million members, it works out to $2.75 – a year.

You can quibble with the methodologies, but to me the message is clear:  Social media objectives should be focused on building communities, not revenue.

Measuring social media starts with a simple question

How should you measure the value of social media?  Here's a great answer from Pat LaPointe, a marketing metrics expert, "WHY are you doing them in the first place?  If you can't answer that, you're wasting your time and the company's money….

…if you can't describe in two sentences or less (no semi-colons) WHAT you hope to gain through use of social media, then WHY are you doing it?"

Pat's blog entry in Online Metrics Insider has a great framework for working the thinking needed to define the "whats."  I'll be adapting this framework for news orgs for my talk at the Knight Digital Media Center News Leadership seminar on social media. 

The money’s with the audiences, not the content

For those of you who were wondering what the difference is between audience-based sites and content-based sites, read this (rather bracing) iMedia Connection blog entry by John Nardone.

Online advertisers buy audiences, wherever they are.    "Let’s say you’re Coach. How many contextually relevant sites can you be
on, once you’ve hit the major fashion sites? What’s far more important
than getting your ad on, say, is getting it in front of
fashion-minded women who have the means to buy expensive leather goods
and accessories….

….you can buy audience without being tethered to editorial….The bottom line is that editorial matters only if you're reaching your target audience at a price that makes sense."

In online now, there are three things that matter:  audience, audience, audience.     

Age – or geography – is not enough

After burning through $9 million,, a social network for baby boomers, is closing because “baby boomers apparently did not want to be categorized away by their age,” Joseph Tartakoff of reports.

Uh, duh?  Audiences have never been able to be truly understood by category, and often resent it.   From @deanpeters on Twitter:  “I logged-in once [to], it gave me the creeps.”

Understanding Facebook audiences just got a little harder

Lori Luechtefeld of iMedia Connection pointed out today that under Facebook's new privacy policies, you might only get to know the most "enthusiastic exhibitionists" who opt to share their feeds.

Simply counting friends and fans of your Facebook groups – and of your competitors – is just not enough to understand the influencers of a particular audience and get, as Luechtefeld says, "any real representative intelligence."

You were already limited in what you could know about Facebook audiences because Facebook doesn't require users to provide even basic demographic information.  All you really have from everyone is just a name and an e-mail address.

Continue reading “Understanding Facebook audiences just got a little harder”

Caution: Time on site

I'm getting Twit-fatigued from all of the phenom Tw-stats, but I can't resist pointing out how Nielsen's May 2009 report on Twitter usage illustrates the problems with using average time on site as a rough gauge of engagement. 

Nielsen reported that the average time per person on Twitter in May 2009 was a little over 17 minutes, an increase from about six minutes in May 2008. 

This is an average.  This means you don't know how many people spent 20 hours a day on Twitter, and how many spent zero.

We do know, from a recent Harvard Business Review report, that:

  •  the top 10 percent of "prolific" Twitter users produce over 90 percent of all Tweets, and that
  • the median number of lifetime Tweets per user is only one!

My advice:  Don't use time on site as an indicator of success unless you're willing to really dig into your data and segment out heavy users vs. light users. 

Here are two more observations – bashes, really – on using time-on-site.

Continue reading “Caution: Time on site”

Rhyme of the ancient web analytics analyst

Here's a riff on a famous poem from Rishad Tobaccowalla, CEO of marketing agency Denuo, speaking at OMMA Metrics and Measurement in New York today:

Data, data everywhere
I think I could sink
Data, data everywhere
Will someone please help me think.

James Robinson, director of web analytics at the New York Times, offered complementary thoughts about how it's a "fallacy" that more complex data is more valuable, and that "it's not about the data, it's about the insights….it's not about the page views or click-throughs – it's about making New York Times customers happy."

For those of you who want to play web analytics games, make a bingo card out of Jodi McDermott's list of web analytics buzz words.  Jodi, also known as Widget Girl, chaired the day-long seminar and is director of data strategy at Clearspring Technologies.

Who said web analytics wasn't fun?