The Difference Between Social and Web Analytics
There’s a dizzying array of analytics tools out there enabling businesses to measure pretty much anything web and user-related that they have a mind to.
And with the advent of social analytics, you can be forgiven for getting a tad confused between social and web analytics.
At its most basic, web analytics tell you about traffic levels, referral sources and user behaviour on your site.
Social analytics, on the other hand, gathers information from social networking sites and helps businesses better understand customer sentiment, users’ attitudes, build rich consumer profiles and, most importantly, build effective business strategies.
I’ve pulled together the questions I’m most frequently asked about both kinds of analytics to give you a full run-down on what information you can get from each.
Social media analytics tools gather information from social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as from blogs, news feeds and comment pages on media sites.
There is a range of tools in the market to track and analyze social analytics but most focus is on four basic activities:
- Listening: Social media listening is the process of aggregating and assessing what is being said about a company, individual, product or brand on the internet.
- Monitoring and analysis: Social media monitoring and analysis involves looking for trends over time such as real-time consumer choices, intentions and sentiments.
- Understanding your consumers: Access to rich social data via analytics tools gives businesses unrivalled insights into their user base, including age, gender, relationship status, interests, educational background, work history and socio-economics.
- Behaviour analysis: This type of information allows businesses to tailor campaigns and content to encourage sharing and commenting by users. In addition, companies can also deploy tactics to drive up referrals, such as via friend invite, and connect with an increasingly engaged audience.
How can social analytics improve your marketing?
Typically, this information is used by businesses to better understand customer attitudes and characteristics, but also to create and implement effective strategies that will take the business to the next level.
Users’ social data gives companies far more insight into who their customers are and enables them to better understand their current and future wants and needs.
Marketers can draw up far more accurate user profiles and work out how best to message and approach customers and prospects.
Which social analytics are most commonly used and why?
This refers to the analysis of emotions behind a social media mention. The objective of the analysis is to monitor social media posts in order to understand how positively or negatively a company, brand or product is perceived among a target audience. They can also measure, for example, the efficacy of specific marketing campaigns.
Why analyze sentiment? Companies use sentiment analysis to evaluate brand perception, monitor marketing campaigns and identify potential crisis situations.
- Evaluate brand perception: Monitoring how your company engages with members of communities on social media enables you to both track positive and negative sentiments around your brand and compare brand perceptions against competitors.
- Monitor marketing initiatives: Sentiment analysis helps companies to evaluate marketing campaigns and create new strategies. Analyzing changes in sentiment before launching a new campaign allows companies to tailor your content to answer questions, concerns and/or wishlists voiced by your target audience.
- Identify upcoming crisis situations: A sudden rise in negative sentiment around your brand indicates you need to take immediate remedial action. Effective monitoring and tracking enables companies to reach out directly to customers and individual influencers.
How to get sentiment analytics? To constantly monitor the sentiment on all channels, consider using tools that provide automatic sentiment analysis. While no fully-automated sentiment analysis system can be 100% accurate, it’s worth remembering most tools target thousands of users and so can deliver amazing insights.
Reach and influence
This refers to the actual or potential audience size any message can reach within the company’s network of followers and fans. So if a company has 1000 fans on Facebook, each time you post something on Facebook, you can potentially reach 1000 people.
Influence is an extension of reach and this analytic assesses each fan or followers ability to spread the word about your company, product and/or service among their own social networks.
Why analyze reach and influence? Understanding social reach gives businesses the ability to truly measure marketing return on investment (ROI). Influence metrics measures each users’ sphere of influence, enabling companies to build incentive programs to engage the top influencers and, ultimately, drive growth in a highly cost-effective manner.
How to get reach and influence analytics? Reach can be measured by tracking follower and fan numbers manually or via social media analytics tools. Influence can be measured through social analytics tools that track the total number of company/product mentions and the number of times your social media posts, tweets and messages have been re-shared.
Consumer profiling, with the help of social media user data, provides a clear picture of individual demographics, interests and preferences.
Why use analytics for consumer profiling? Analytics derived from users’ social network profile data can be used to personalize the user experience, improve content marketing and enable advanced audience segmentation. This allows businesses to display relevant products and services according to individual tastes or even promote discounts or offers relevant to particular users.
In addition to accurate audience segmentation, analytics for customer profiling helps businesses create and successfully launch innovative marketing campaigns and better target their audience.
How to get customer profiling analytics? This can be efficiently tracked by offering social login on your website. Social login allows users to register and sign-in to your website using their social networking account IDs, such as for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and many more.
This refers to tracking users online behaviour, what they like to share, what they like to comment on, preferred purchasing methods and other motivational factors.
Why use analytics for tracking consumer behaviour? Companies want this data to ensure they encourage specific user activity in relation to their brand. In addition, businesses want to ensure they know what makes consumers tick and click. And how to use that information to drive growth.
How do you get these analytics? User behaviour can be tracked by deploying a wide range of social media tools, such as social sharing, friend invite and social login. Each tool will measure how far your content is being shared, which users generate the most referral traffic, return visits and also allow you to pull and analyze what each consumer is talking about online.
LoginRadius offers extensive engagement analytics providing additional insights into customer behaviour.
In addition to analytics derived from social login, there are various social media monitoring and analysis tools available in the market. Some of the most popular tools can be found in the image below:
The social media networks like Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest also have their own social analytics tools which provide basic social monitoring to understand your audience.
Social analytics: Key takeaways
Better-informed business decisions: Social analytics help you predict current and future market demand for your product and, as a result, assists with reliable financial forecasting. While enabling fact-based decision-making about marketing campaigns, sales forecasts and pricing, social analytics gives you the information to make real-time adjustments to strategies as required.
Get to know your customers: Use the huge amount of data available from social media to locate and identify your ideal customers and find out what kind of products and services they want. Tracking user behaviour, including sharing and commenting, allows businesses to identify and encourage consumer activities that drive growth.
Make the most of your marketing and advertising spend: Social analytics can help your organization control marketing costs by targeting advertising more effectively.
Website analytics is the process of measuring, collecting and analyzing website traffic data to understand user behaviour on your website only, so as to improve the user experience and conversion rate.
Companies use web analytics for a variety of reasons:
Improve site design and user experience: With the help of website analytics, it is easy to find out how users interact with your website and then improve design and functionality.
Understand your website’s traffic: Businesses need to identify the most profitable sources of referral traffic in order to determine where best to invest marketing efforts and budget.
Track mass user activity: Using web analytics allows business to measure how users interact with specific elements on each page en masse. These analytics won’t tell you about individual interactions but they will show you how users in general respond to specific calls to action and marketing messages.
Popular tools for web analytics
Google Analytics: Probably one of the best free tools that any website owner can use to track and analyze data about web traffic, Google Analytics helps marketers and website owners understand traffic patterns, sources, conversions, bounce rates, paid search statistics, and more. It can be integrated with the Internet’s largest paid search platform, Google Adwords. This helps marketers to effectively track and improve landing pages.
Moz Analytics: If you are looking for more qualitative data about your website traffic, then MOZ Analytics could be a great choice. It can be used by marketing teams to monitor SEO-related issues and also map social media campaigns in conjunction with Google Analytics data. It provides data on issues that can hurt organic SEO results and provides relevant keyword recommendations that hold immense value to websites especially if your business is inbound-marketing focused.
Crazy Egg: Businesses get a visual picture of how site visitors navigate their sites, along with features such as heatmaps and scrollmaps. Businesses can track what made users click and how far they scroll down pages.
KISSmetrics: Another analytics tool that tracks user behaviour on your website. Businesses can access easy-to-understand visual charts detailing user engagement patterns and habits before and after making purchases. This information allows business to identify website flaws and bugs, improve and fix them and then increase conversions.
Adobe: According to the recent Forrester Wave Report for Q2, 2014, Adobe has been named as a web analytics leader and now has the largest number of enterprise-level clients. Adobe recently packaged SiteCatalyst with Discover, Genesis, Data Warehouse, Report Builder, Dynamic Tag Management and Insight into a combined Adobe Analytics premium offering, a component of the Adobe Marketing Cloud.
Web analytics: Key takeaways
Web analytics aren’t able to deliver information and insights about individual consumers and therefore can’t be used to build product development or marketing strategies.
That said, it’s a great tool to optimize individual elements of your web offering. Web analytics help you to both analyze your current traffic and find out how to increase it.
Do you need both web and social analytics?
Comparing social and web analytics is, in the end, a little like comparing apples to pears. They are different tools measuring different things.
Used in tandem, they can give you incredible insights into your users, behaviour and traffic. As ever, the secret to effective data analysis is to select what information you need to further your business goals.
To be really effective, make sure you prioritize data analysis according to business goals. Analytics exist to answer those nagging questions: Is my marketing working? What’s important to my potential customers? How do I know I’m investing in the right things?
The important thing to realize here is, if you’re relying solely on web analytics or social analytics, you’re missing out on a lot of powerful data that can help you to create a superior online presence.