With the release of Twitter Analytics, we look at what it has to offer event amplifiers and whether there are better ways to get useful Twitter metrics.
Last week the Twitter Analytics service was made available to all Twitter users, opening up the opportunity to see exactly how each of your tweets perform.
In this post, we examine how this service may be useful for event amplifiers and organisers, and whether alternative Twitter metrics services still have the edge.
Using Twitter Analytics
Twitter Analytics allows you to access certain key data about the performance of each of your tweets and your account as a whole. This includes:
- Number of impressions
- Number of engagements
- Engagement rates
- Location, interests and gender of followers (although this should be taken with a pinch of salt)
- Information from Twitter Cards
Some of this information is really useful – particularly the number of impressions, as this gives you a greater degree of confidence regarding how many people your tweets are actually reaching. However, some of the information is not yet granular enough to be taken in isolation. For instance, Twitter Analytics shows how many engagements each tweet generates. ‘Engagements’ can include clicking anywhere on the tweet, @replying, retweeting, following and favouriting behaviour. That is quite a wide range of actions. If you are planning a Twitter strategy (for an event or for your project/business as a whole) you’ll probably be interested in measuring particular types of engagements, so you’ll need an analytics tool that offers a bit more detail.
From an event perspective, Twitter Analytics provides a way of measuring how your event-related tweets from your official account perform against your normal tweeting patterns. This could help to inform future choices about how to use your project/corporate account at events, or whether a dedicated event account would be more appropriate.
The ability to see how your audience responds to different types of post can also help to inform your event Twitter strategy. As Brian Kelly notes in his post: The Launch of Twitter’s Analytics Service and Thoughts on Free Alternatives, if you can see that images get more engagement from your particular audience, you can structure your Twitter strategy accordingly. I expect to see event organisers becoming more specific about how they would like to use Twitter at their events based on ongoing analysis of their own audiences, with a focus on updates containing media and links.
One thing that does concern me is that in order for an external event amplifier like myself to use Twitter Analytics, they will need to have the login details for the Twitter account in question. I have been encouraging clients to share access to their Twitter account with me via a social media management system – in my case, Hootsuite – to maintain security and enable the account manager to see who has responded to certain tweets. They can then also revoke my access after the event, as appropriate. If an account is shared across a number of people in a team, I still think this is the best approach. However, the decision will need to be informed by a proper risk assessment balanced against the other needs of the organisation. If necessary, a client could download the Twitter Analytics data as a .csv file and send this to me for analysis.
Other Twitter Analytics Tools
There are many, many Twitter analytics tools that could benefit event amplifiers. Here are just two: the two that I find myself using most regularly when I am both preparing event amplification strategies and analysing Twitter data post-event:
Martin Hawksey’s TAGS and TAGSExplorer are still my go-to tools for analysing Twitter use at events, as they reveal detailed information about activity on the event hashtag, including mapping the conversations between participants to show how cooperative your event community was online.
The only thing missing from TAGS for me is a way to calculate how many people/Twitter accounts may potentially have seen one or more tweets from active participants (those contributing original tweets to the discussion) or inactive participants (those who only retweet other people’s comments) on a hashtag.
For smaller events I can manually add up all the number of followers for each participant account and assess whether they have made an original contribution to the discussion, but for larger events this is a massive undertaking. However, it is arguable how useful these numbers actually are beyond providing a high level headline number of how far the discussion may have travelled. Carrying out this analysis by hand does usually give me a better insight into the behaviour of people using the hashtag, which can inform future strategy.
Twitonomy gives a lot more detail than the current Twitter Analytics, and allows you to analyse public data from other Twitter accounts without access to their password. This is useful when you want to compare a selection of Twitter accounts against a common measure – such as comparing your own performance against that of similar/previous event accounts or competitors.
Customising some of the report in Twitonomy is a premium feature, so getting a picture of your own Twitter account’s performance over specific time periods will cost $20 for a one-off analysis, or $19 per month for ongoing access. You can download the data as a .csv file and analyse it yourself for free.
Whilst Twitter Analytics is a very much welcomed addition to the party, I think those developing event strategies and analysing the impact of Twitter at events will continue to need a mixture of tools to obtain a complete picture, depending on the aims of the event.