Twitter Lets Ordinary Users Get Analytical

Twitter this week announced that its analytics tool, first made available to advertisers, Twitter Card users and verified users, now can be used by everyone.

Twitter’s analytics tool lets users click on any tweet to see how people engage with it in real time. They can compare their tweet activity month over month and see how they trend over time. Users also can click on a tweet to see the number of retweets, replies, favorites, follows or clicks received, and they can download their click metrics from the tweet activity dashboard.

The dashboard is currently available to users who have had an account for at least 14 days and tweet in English, French, Japanese or Spanish.

Analytics and Twitter Ads

“This is a fantastic hook to reel in people who want to understand social media outreach,” said Mukul Krishna, senior global research director at Frost & Sullivan.

“Marketing departments who use Twitter are not sure of the ROI, but this will give them some information about ROI and that might drive up engagement and spur them to spend more on Twitter,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

There could be a downside, though.

“I expect there will be more of a negative impact than positive due to most people not paying close attention to everything coming their way on Twitter,” said Larry Chiagouris, a professor of marketing at Pace University.

“Advertisers who find that the analytics indicate positive results will likely increase their support of Twitter,” Chiagouris told the E-Commerce Times. “Others, who find something less than positive results, will decrease support.”

Many people and brands reportedly have found that organic reach and engagement rates for their accounts can be low.

Consumers and Other Users

People and organizations seeking to use Twitter to build awareness of some idea or person or product may find the tool “contributes to a better understanding as to what impact Twitter is having on their goals and objectives,” Chiagouris suggested.

For individual users, however, the analytics “is very likely to be a passing fad,” he said.

Giving Twitter More Muscle

Opening up access to the analytics tool “is a very necessary step for Twitter if it’s going to compete with more accountable platforms which provide analytics,” Chiagouris said.

One of those other platforms is Google, whose Google Analytics team congratulated Twitter on its move with — no surprise here — a tweet to the account of Twitter staffer Ian Chan, who on Wednesday announced the opening up of access to the tool.

“Congrats to @chanian @buster and team @Twitter for the rollout of Twitter analytics to everyone,” Google Analytics said.

Twitter needs all the muscle it can get — global ad spending growth will double this year to 5.7 percent, eMarketer predicted, and advertisers worldwide will spend more than US$545 billion.

Digital ad spending will drive the growth, increasing by 16.7 percent this year to more than $140 billion, and accounting for more than 25 percent of all media ad spending for the first time. Advertising on tablets and smartphones will be a key catalyst.

Twitter will increase its market share to nearly 0.8 percent, up from last year’s 0.5 percent, nearly doubling its ad revenue year over year, eMarketer forecast.

However, Google will vacuum up more than half the money spent on mobile ads worldwide.

Twitter, which in February had forecast slowing sales and user growth, bounced back in Q2, reporting revenue of $312 million and earnings of two cents a share, surpassing the market’s expectations of about $283 million and a loss of one cent per share, respectively.

Destroying the Ecosystem?

How Twitter’s move will impact third-party companies that offer Twitter analytics, such as Sproutsocial, Hootsuite, Twtrland, Twitonomy and Simply Measured, remains to be seen.

So far, the market seems to be happy. Twitter’s share price rose 3.3 percent on Thursday and were holding the line as of mid-day Friday at $49.67.

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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