How Econsultancy measures Twitter via Google Analytics
It has been a couple of years since we really started to make the most out of Twitter. Since then we have experimented with a live Twitter feed on our homepage and alongside our blog articles. We have hired a dedicated social media producer. And most recently we joined the Twitter Promoted Products beta.
I don’t want to talk about Promoted Products just yet, as we’re still making sense of things, but we’ve been using Google Analytics to measure Twitter since we started the @econsultancy account and I have a few insights to share. And some numbers too…
Firstly, Econsultancy is a B2B-focused brand and our audience, goals and tactics are somewhat different from those of a B2C company. I’m sharing this information mainly because that’s what we try to do, but also to attract more insight from people like you.
Secondly, I don’t think you should read too much into some of these numbers. Not yet, anyway. There is a real customer engagement story here. It’s not all about the easy-to-spot numbers, but sometimes about how they’re interpreted. See my wishlist at the foot of this post for what we should also be looking at.
Thirdly, we haven’t truly optimised our site to make the most of Twitter referrals. Our Twitter account is largely powered by our blog content, and blog articles are certainly not the best converting pages on our (or any) site. We plan on doing a better job of integrating the Twitter API in the months to come, to create new functionality that will increase onsite engagement.
- The percentage of new visitors referred by Twitter is increasing, year on year. Perhaps not surprising given Twitter’s vast growth.
- The overall volume of visitors is also going up… but then again we have been active in Twitter’s Promoted Products beta, and have bought traffic that way. That will account for some of this near-30% growth.
- Relatively few visitors find their way to Econsultancy via the Twitter mobile site. This number seems low, but then most of us use Twitter clients on our smartphones. Mobile users tend to be new visitors.
- Time on site is falling. This could be due to any number of factors, particularly our content.
Other year-on-year observations…
Now it’s time to see what ‘New Visitors’ contribute to our revenue. There’s a big drop off here, between New and Returning visitors…
So, to find out we can look at the New vs Returning Visitors data via an advanced segment called ‘Twitter Referrers’. You can see that 41% of Twitter referrals were classified as ‘New Visitors’:
So roughly 60% of our Twitter visitors are a) Returning Visitors, and have previously been on the Econsultancy website, and b) Returning Visitors generate 90% of the transactional e-commerce revenue we allocate to the Twitter channel.
Twitter enables the sort of chitchat impossible among strangers on email or instant messaging, and outside the scope of Facebook. Facebook’s boss, Mark Zuckerberg, often describes his service as a way to connect with friends you already have. Facebook creates circles upon circles of acquaintance, but most conversation is among those already known to each other.
Twitter, however, is a different beast. The asymmetry of follower and followee creates a different rhythm, allowing the possibility of falling into conversation with an unknown someone without invading his or her space. It is a simple matter to ignore or block those who you find uninteresting. And people you know and trust outside the electronic realm lead you to their friends, colleagues and family. Likewise, you may be on the receiving end of tendrils of acquaintance. The shared set of relationships and communication among those you know vets new people for you and you for them.
Tweaks made to Twitter a few months ago that make a real-time stream generally available—instead of the retrieval of periodic updates—have blurred the lines between synchronous communications like chat and asynchronous methods such as email and forum commenting. Direct messaging on Twitter, a one-to-one method that may take place only between two parties who mutually follow each other, provides a trimmed-down email analogue without the weightiness and effort associated with handling yet more messages. Continuous speech is more or less possible without the overhead and commitment of a chat room or an instant-message session.