Are All URL Shorteners Created Equal?

URL shorteners are a great way to add links to social media profiles and monitor the traffic that clicks through.  But what if your link shortener didn’t work?  What if by choosing the wrong service you lost clicks, clients, and potential revenue?  Web analytics firm WatchMouse decided to put the URL shortener services to the test.  Here are there results:

On the positive side:

  • URL shorteners obviously provide useful features like making a long URL shorter (i.e. so it fits easily in a Twitter message)
  • They enable you to track and analyze clicks on a specific short URL
  • Some URL shorteners like twt.tl also provide some browsing safety by analyzing the target URL for harmful website code or phishing attempts

But on the negative side, URL shorteners also introduce:

  • An additional single point of failure: when a URL shortener service is down (or corrupt) the link won’t work
  • Additional load time for a page to fully load

WatchMouse monitored the most popular URL shorteners for one month to find out how they are doing in terms of availability and speed. During that time we monitored 14 URL shorteners and collected the uptime and performance statistics. The uptime results are shown in the chart below:

Based on the results, the fastest, most reliable shortener is Google’s goo.gl.  Twt.tl is a close second.  youtu.be has the fastest overall speed, but isn’t as reliable as the first two. The worst? Facebook’s fb.me.  Steer clear of that one.

Social Media Analytics 101: 4 Articles, 1 Service

Social Media can be a nebulous mistress.  As entrepreneurs continue to use social media to connect with customers and collaborators, a new question has come into being: what are effective social media practices?  The fact is no one knows for certain, but there is a way to measure what is effective and what isn’t: social media analytics.  SM (Social Media) can be frustrating to manage without information helping get into your client’s heads.  Here We’ve compiled a review of the top four How To articles, plus one paid service that will take care of the headache for you.  Enjoy!

HOW TO: Track Social Media Analytics, Mashable.com ♥♥♥♥♥ Five Heart Rating

This is a great starting point.  Its simple, quick to read, and provides lots of leads for those who want to deepen their understanding of analytics in a short time.  Topics include: understanding what you want to track,optimizing your existing analytics software, adding new analytics tools, aggregating your analytics, analyzing and engaging visitors, and further resources.

How to Measure and Track Social Media Activity, SEOROI.com ♥♥♥♥ Four Heart Rating

An orientation into the world of Social Media Analytics, this article uses the practices of people like Guy Kawasaki to get you started down the SM path.  Great list of resources at the end.

Social Media Analytics, webanalysis.blogspot.com ♥♥ Two Heart Rating

This guide differs from the others in that it explicitly defines the measurable elements involved in social media, as well as providing vision examples of analytics tools in action.  Another list of resources at the end.

Dear Avinash: Search / SEO Metrics & Analytics Questions + Answers, kaushik.net ♥♥♥♥♥ Five Heart Rating

Avinash Kaushik provides great, thoughful, high impact answers to various questions.  This is a great place to gain a basic understanding of SM analytics, as well as learn some advanced tricks.  For more advanced information be sure to check out  Five Sweet Web Analytics Resolutions To Kick It Up A Notch, another great article.  Kaushik has a great sense of humor, and uses off the wall visuals to keep things exciting.

Want to outsource you SM Analytics? Use ViralHeat.com

Viral Heat has monitoring plans starting at only $9.99 per month.  This will keep you up to date on the popularity and efficacy of you social media campaigns.  Visit the site, or watch the video to learn more.

I hope this provides you with a toe-hold to begin in the Social Media Analytics world.  Who knows, maybe you’re the next Kevin Rose?

Have a question?  Post it to comments, I’ll do my best to answer.

Social Media Training – Five Must Read Reports for Big Business

From 123 Social Media

Education is critical for any social media practitioner or specialist. Whether you need to redefine your business and jump into “social media” or if you just need to figure out how to talk with your team, the following reports present an immense amount of information that will make your business better.

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Altimeter Engagement Report

Charlene Li from the Altimeter group has published a view into the benefits and correlations of social media and brand value, along with business margins.

There exist thousands of social media channels, each with a slightly different value proposition. It is therefore a daunting task to figure how to objectively evaluate various marketing efforts across all social mediums. The Wetpaint/Altimeter Group ENGAGEMENTdb Report introduces a single criterion: engagement.”

Download here.

What is Social Media Optimization?

From ESB Journal

Social media optimization or SMO is yet another method for search engine optimization of your site.

As the name implies, you optimize your site by advertising it through the social media sites, online communities and community websites such as blog sites, message boards, podcasts, wikis and blogs.

The methods for social media optimization involve the use of RSS feeds, social bookmarking, video and photo sharing, social news buttons and blogging etc. The basic idea is to drive traffic to your site without spending money on search engine advertising.

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The Web Analytics Headache

From eMarketer:

Understanding and integrating data

To prove the success of their campaigns, marketers need analytics. But many report frustration with understanding and using the Web analytics tools necessary to prove their success to management, according to “The Web Analytics War Reader Survey” by Unica.

The biggest challenge for marketers was integrating Web analytics with other marketing solutions, cited by 46% of respondents. Verifying the accuracy of data was a problem for 41% of marketers, while 32% reported trouble with analytics that were not comprehensive and 29% complained of budgets that were too small.

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20% of Tweets About Brands

From Social Media Today:

20% of tweets about brands is the results of a Penn State study in the States.

Researchers led by Jim Jansen, associate professor of information science and technology, and Twitter chief scientist Abdur Chowdhury looked at half a million tweets. 20% of them were apparently people ‘asking and providing’ product information. Assuming three million tweets a day, that would translate into 600k posts daily of direct relevance to brands.

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Public Relations Measurement 2010: Five Things to Forget & Five Things to Learn

social-media-model-pptxFrom a terrific post on public relations campaign measurement by Don Bartholomew, Principal of Acumentics Research,  a social media and public relations research and measurement consultancy.

“Public relations measurement is at a crossroads.  Old techniques are no longer sufficient.

Old metrics are no longer applicable.  Old thinking must be replaced by new.

The need for accountability,and to prove the value of PR and social media programs,

has never been greater.

As we look to the next year, here are five things to forget and five things to learn about

public relations measurement in 2010.”

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HOW TO: Track Social Media Analytics

pack_iconos_sociales_freakgroupFrom Ben Parr at Mashable:

“Social media is a relatively new phenomenon, but Delicious (Delicious), Digg (Digg), StumbleUpon (StumbleUpon) and other social media websites have become an increasingly important source of website traffic. This also creates a massive demand for data related to social media. Where are users coming from? What topics excite them? These are questions that, when answered, can be the difference between a successful website and a failed social media campaign. But social media analytics is young, and not many people know where to start.

Read Ben’s guide which is designed “to help you get started with some of the best tools and habits so that you can effectively gather and analyze social media analytics.”

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Leveraging Predictive Analytics in Marketing Campaigns

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Excerpts on Predictive Analytics from CRM News in 2004 and still relevant:

“While creative ideas and good marketing instinct will always be important, effective marketing requires a thorough understanding of customer behaviors and motivations.

Predicting customer product preferences and purchasing habits — and crafting the most relevant marketing messages around this information — requires a carefully orchestrated mix of intuition and an analytical framework that supports fact-based decision-making. Without an analytical structure in place, even the savviest marketer or marketing team will have difficulty analyzing the high volume of complex customer information.

For example, why do some customers make multiple purchases? How can companies ensure long-term loyalty from high-value customers? How can you attract and retain different types of customers? This level of detailed customer knowledge enables marketers to develop relevant, compelling messages and offers for each customer, and to adapt their approach as customer needs and wants change throughout the customer lifecycle.”

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