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Making sense of Twitter’s analytics tool

SEPTEMBER 28, 2011 – Market research can be a huge help for companies during the design stage of their internet and digital advertising campaigns. But gaining insight into how social media and other online efforts are performing can also be beneficial to adjusting the initiative as it proceeds.

Twitter recently launched its own analytics tool, which seeks to give ad agencies, brands and other companies with Twitter accounts a better idea of who is talking about their products and campaigns. The tool seeks to provide information on what website content is being shared – retweeted – on the network.

It also aims to measure the Tweet Button integration’s impact on company sites and gauge how much of the traffic a website sees originated on Twitter, Christopher Golda wrote on the company’s developer blog.

“Twitter is a powerful platform for websites to share their content, and drive traffic and engagement,” Golda wrote. “However, people have struggled to accurately measure the amount of traffic Twitter is sending to their websites, in part because web analytics software hasn’t evolved as quickly as online sharing and social signals.”

As Jeff Sonderman writes for Poynter, some businesses that advertised on the social network were previously able to use another analytics tool that tracked the success of their regular tweets in reaching a wider audience and garnering more followers and mentions. The benefit of the new tool is that it is free and will give everyone access to “some useful basic data.”

Sonderman noted that the bigger impact may be what the analytical tool does for Twitter’s own image, rather than how the service helps businesses. For a long while, Twitter has been touted as a game changer in how people and brands share news, links and thoughts, and the tool will now create a concrete means of gauging the social media website’s actual impact.

A less positive, but equally important, outcome from using the social network to conduct market research is taking a measure of negative consumer feedback. According to a study from Maritz Research and its social intelligence division, evolve24, many consumers who log into Twitter in order to air grievances about a particular product or service want to hear back from the company and feel as if their comments are being heard.

Out of the one-third of respondents who said a company followed up with them after they complained on Twitter, 83 percent said they “like or loved hearing from the company they complained about.” A large majority of those who heard nothing from a brand after tweeting a complaint – 86 percent – also said they would have appreciated a response.

“Businesses cannot effectively compete without being tuned in to social media to improve the customer experience,” stated Anthony Sardella, the managing director and senior vice president of evolve24. “But they must get the messaging right. The best brand marketing provides responsive customer service, and does not use a customer experience event as an opportunity to sell something.”

Sardella also noted that consumers’ expectation of customer service had increased due to the rise of social media, and that companies needed to be able to tailor their approach when addressing individual complaints.

The researchers said that the study showed that customers see Twitter as a good method for getting attention from brands, but that it was still important to keep a close eye on all forms of client support and service and respond accordingly – either through Twitter, a phone call or YouTube.