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  • How to Measure Digital Success Using Analytics and Metrics

    Game Plan

    In-Depth

    Selecting Analytics Technologies

    There are many tools to choose from that can help you analyze how visitors interact with your website and how effectively your social media initiatives are performing.

    In both cases, you’ll find that some tools are free, whereas others charge a monthly fee for their use. Fee-based tools generally offer more features, more robust reporting options, and a higher level of support.

    Web Analytics Tools

    One free and widely used analytics platform is Google Analytics. This tool is available in a premium version, but most small businesses will find that the free version provides plenty of information on audience characteristics and behaviors, traffic sources, how users interact with your site, and other data. It also integrates with Google ads, should you decide to advertise on the Google platform.

    Whichever web analytics tool you choose make sure it provides at least basic data that includes traffic information, user patterns, referral data, conversion information, and access to historical data. Some of the more popular website analytics tools include New Relic, Crazy Egg and Optimizely, in addition to Google Analytics.

    Social Media Analytics Tools

    There are analytics tools that can measure your social media campaign performance. When selecting among these tools, first make sure that the tool is compatible with the social media sites that you use. Consider selecting a tool that alerts you when your brand is mentioned on a site, and that provides historical data and reports.

    Some social media analytics tools also offer capabilities to help you schedule and post content. Although that does not necessarily help you measure performance, it does provide added value in managing your social media campaign.

    Some of the more popular social media analytics tools include HootSuite, Sprout Social, and Viralheat.

    Other Considerations

    For both web and social media analytics, you’ll want to consider these attributes:

    • Ease of use. Does the tool make it easy to quickly access the information you need? Is the user interface intuitive? Are you easily able to export results? These are questions to investigate as you test an analytics solution.
    • Support. If you need help, is it easy to find answers to your questions? Free tools don’t usually offer much in the way of support except for FAQs, but technologies you pay for generally deliver higher levels of support.
    • Real-time analysis. Some technologies provide reports once per day or several times per day. You may, however, prefer real-time analysis to access constantly updated information.
    Game PlanGame Plan

    Game Plan

    For selecting website analytics tools:

    • Review this infographic, which provides a product comparison and detailed features information on top website analytics products.
    • If you’re considering Google Analytics, this detailed guide PDF (2 MB) will give you an idea of available features and help you decide whether it’s an appropriate solution.
    • Read this ClickZ post for more advice on selecting web analytics technology.
    • For information on free website analytics tools, read this post from Vertical Response and this post from Razor Social.
    • Review this Inc. Magazine article on 11 of the best web analytics tools and advice on selecting one.

     For selecting social media analytics tools

    • Read this Social Media Examiner post with highly detailed information on 45 different social media tools.
    • PR Daily offers a list of free social media evaluation tools. Review it here.
    • To review social media evaluation and management tools more appropriate for smaller businesses, check out this list from Convince & Convert.
    • For a very brief overview of 50 free and paid social media analytics and management tools, read this post from Social Media Today.