ERIC T. PETERSON
All Blog Posts
Subscribe by Email
Subscribe by RSS
Archive for 'Web Analytics Tools'
Social media technologies are massively confusing today. Not because they aren’t powerful or capable of substantially benefitting your organization, but because there are so many to choose from…
During my research while writing my book, Social Media Metrics Secrets (Wiley, 2011) and through countless interviews with social media practitioners and leading vendors in the industry, I developed a categorization schema for understanding social media technologies. I call this the Social Media Technology Spectrum. Across this spectrum, there are five primary functions that businesses can accomplish with social media technologies:
Discover > Analyze > Engage > Facilitate > Manage
While, I go into great detail about each category in the book, I’ll offer an overview here:
The Discovery Tools (Social Search) Discovery tools are social media solutions that effectively act as search engines for social media channels and platforms. Typically, Social Search technologies are freely available, but they don’t allow you to save search queries, download data or export results. Example Discover vendors include: SocialMention, IceRocket, Backtweets, Topsy, and hundreds more.
The Analysis Technologies (Social Analytics) These tools are most commonly associated with listening platforms, but in my view, Social Analytics vendor requirements include: filters, segments, visualizations and ultimately analysis. Example Analyze vendors include: Alterian SM2, Omniture SocialAnalytics, Radian6, Sysomos, and many more.
The Engagement Platforms (Engagement/Workflow) Vendors in this category extend their Social Analytics capabilities to include workflow delegation and engagement capabilities from directly within the interface, it places more controls at the fingertips of your internal business users. Example Engage vendors include: Crimson Hexagon, Hootsuite, Objective Marketer, Collective Intellect, and many more.
The Hosting and Facilitation Tools (Social Platforms) If you need to offer your community a social media destination like a user group, a forum, or a designated social media website. That’s where the Social Facilitation technologies provide a platform that can facilitate the conversation, the dialogue and the learning experience. Example Facilitate vendors include: Mzinga, Pluck, Ning, Lithium, Jive, Telligent and many more.
The Management Solutions (Social Management) This group of technology offerings includes social customer relationship management tools, internal collaboration solutions, and social media aggregation services that enable businesses to manage their social media efforts in an orchestrated way. Example Manage vendors include: BatchBook, Flowtown, Salesforce Chatter, Yammer and many more.
As you can see, each category has associated vendors. While there is certainly some cross-over here, there is also a lot more depth to each of the categories. For each category, you can delve deeper by specific social media channel (i.e., there’s a whole cast of Social Analytics tools specifically for Twitter). Yet, in a technology environment that is so cluttered with options and new entrants, I feel that some categorization is merited.
But what do you think? … Am I on the right track here? Do you use technologies from multiple categories? …What did I miss?
2011 is shaping up to be the year of big marketing. And luckily for us measurers, smart marketing is founded in data and measurement. With IBM’s recent acquisition rampage and now Teradata’s plans to buy Aprimo, there is unprecedented choice for integrated enterprise marketing solutions. Teradata announced today it’s intentions to buy the Enterprise Marketing Management leader for $525M with a closing date anticipated for sometime in Q1 2011. It’s a smart move in my opinion because the days of big data management and the ability to harness the consumer data firehose for elevated marketing are upon us.
On the executive briefing this morning, I pointed a question by asking if this acquisition was a response to IBM’s recent buying spree and the answer was a definitive no. Bill Godfrey, Aprimo’s Chief Executive Officer, quickly pointed out that Aprimo’s technology set covers 8 categories and that only one competes directly with the IBM/Unica offering. He iterated, “This is not a copy-cat move” with mild umbrage. Mr. Godfrey went on to eloquently explain that the merger pursues an independent strategy that brings a unified platform covering a very broad end-to-end spectrum of functionality. While the story sounded familiar, it’s a good one. It leverages the database storage and business analytics capabilities of Teradata and layers the marketing management and operations proficiency of Aprimo on top. This enterprise-ready integrated solution fuels a marketers’ paradise where insights are churned from data, which pumps intelligent life into automated marketing. All this happens within a closed-loop system that improves over time. Sounds rosy doesn’t it? To paraphrase Teradata’s CMO Darryl McDonald, “The combined solution will help accelerate revenue generating campaigns and leverage data for strategic insights and quick response.”
Keep in mind that this isn’t entirely new territory for Teradata who has been offering marketing products to its customers for some time. With IWI (Integrated Web Intelligence) and TRM (Teradata Relationship Manager), it’s already servicing digital data integration and intelligent marketing to it’s customers. Yet, it will be interesting to see how many existing clients and new organizations adopt this complete functionality. My hunch is that this stack is not for the feint of heart nor the bootstrapped organization. It will work best with deeply integrated datasets, stored within big iron and activated using some complex Marketing Resource Management capabilities. All things that both Teradata and Aprimo excel at. But fair warning: Mom & Pop shops need not apply. However, if you’re a large enterprise looking to accelerate your marketing prowess, then this may be the solution you’ve had on your wish list all these years.
While integrating these technologies may take a while, and the promise of an end-to-end solution is no trivial pledge, I’m bullish on the deal. This is a step forward for marketers because it has the potential to deliver the ERP system they never had. It still doesn’t cover everything, but the combined solution sure does handle some critical moving parts.
Congrats to everyone at Aprimo for building an attractive offering and to Teradata for recognizing it. And Happy Holidays to all!
We’re certainly on an acquisition hot roll here in our cozy little measurement industry. This week marked yet another buy-up of a web analytics company, Netherlands based Nedstat, was acquired by comScore. The sale price was reported at $36.7 million USD, which brings the tally of measurement buy-outs including the $1.8 billion dollar Omniture acquisition last year to nearly $2.5 billion dollars by my count. Those are some good multiples on revenue since my Forrester Web Analytics Forecast didn’t peg market spending to hit even $1 billion until sometime in 2015. Granted Omniture, Unica and to some extent Coremetrics were offering more than just web analytics in their product portfolios. But regardless, measurement technologies are all the rage these days and finally, big businesses are taking note of the value of web analytics.
Some might say that comScore and Nedstat, while serving similar industries for different purposes, were running on parallel paths and that an acquisition was a plausible outcome. But before I dive into that hypothesis, first I’ll toot my own horn by mentioning that I went on record predicting this one. The good fellas at Beyond Web Analytics interviewed me on the topic of market consolidation just after the IBM acquisition of Unica and we had a good chat about it here on the podcast. The closing question asked me to look into my crystal ball and guess who would be the next acquirer in the analytics market. While I didn’t guess that it would be comScore, I did speculate that there are some very interesting and valuable technologies that exist in Europe. I mentioned both Webtrekk in Germany and Nedstat as companies that would make appealing acquisition targets. Clearly comScore must have been listening (c’mon, I jest). But one of my clients across the pond also mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Nedstat’s CEO was quoted in a German newspaper as saying that there is no longer a place for a dedicated web analytics company in this environment. I’ve been saying this since early 2009, but coming from a chief officer of a successful technology operation…Foreshadowing indeed.
The Red Herring
So, bright and early on morning of the acquisition my friend Jodi McDermott reached out to me on the news by pointing out the press release on the deal and I owe her a big thanks for that. When we spoke later that morning along with Magid Abraham, comScore founder and CEO the first question Jodi asked me was…”Were you surprised?”. Now, the dirty little secret is that analysts can never show surprise, but heck yeah I was surprised that comScore was the buyer!?! I didn’t anticipate comScore because of their Unified Digital Measurement (UDM) solution which currently handles over 500 billion transactions per month and is growing rapidly. So, they already had their own tag based measurement solution. Additionally, just under a year ago comScore announced a strategic partnership with Omniture to deliver a newly created Media Metrix 360 solution predicated on UDM that would leverage a hybrid combination of Omniture page tags and comScore’ panel based measurement.
It was brilliant actually, and demonstrated the first significant attempt to bring together advertising measurement with site-side data. Yet, just a month after this partnership was announced, Omniture was snatched up by Adobe, and I can only speculate that the momentum on the partnership was stymied. Don’t get me wrong, Media Metrix 360 still exists, and clients like Martha Stewart and the Wall Street Journal add marquee status to the initiative. Thus, I would expect that comScore will support Media Metrix 360 by continuing the partnership with Adobe’s Omniture Business Unit as well as continue development on their own proprietary solution. Whatever they choose to do, these efforts – their own hybrid UDM tags and the Omniture relationship – created a red herring for me that had me looking elsewhere. Now the real question is… Was Nielson surprised and how will they counter? Sorry friends, my crystal ball is not that good.
The Plot Twister
I saved the best for last because here’s where the plot starts to get really interesting. comScore has stated that its acquisition interests in Nedstat are to better serve the media and publishing industries. Web analytics and site-side measurement has long been focused on the transaction and sites that don’t have traditional online transactions are left to quantify success by custom fitting solutions to meet their needs. With most web analytics solutions you’re forced to follow the conversion funnel through to a transaction (or not) and attempt tie things together or launch remarketing efforts from there. But when there’s no transaction at the end of the visit, then many traditional web metrics have very little resonance to the business.
Nedstat has long been focused on key topics like engagement and rich media measurement – metrics that matter to publishers. Now with the acquisition by comScore who has a stronghold within many media companies (not to mention a reserved line item in their budgets) they can create a very different value proposition for media companies looking to quantify metrics for their advertisers as well as optimize the experience for their visitors. I tend to agree with Magid who stated that this new paradigm for publishers is likely to create a natural segmentation in the market. With stalwart web analytics firms (albeit in their current incarnations) Omniture, Coremetrics and Unica are working towards an analytical system that feeds marketing automation. Now we’ve got the potential for something entirely different.
For these reasons I’m bullish on the acquisition. We have a new opportunity for web analytics where site-side measurement meets audience (panel based) measurement. It’s the collision course that many have been talking about. And it sets the stage for propelling measurement into next generation devices, apps and mobile platforms that don’t have transactional elements. It’s still too soon to say how this will play out, but I applaud Magid, Gian and the comScore team on their vision for creating a new measurement paradigm. And a big congrats goes out to Michael, Michiel, Fred, Ulrike and the entire Nedstat team for building a globally attractive solution. Bravo.
But these are just my thoughts…I may be way off…I may be crazy. Readers, do you agree that this new duo can impact enterprise measurement on a new level? I’d love to know what others think.
So the beauty of one public company buying another is that they usually hold an analyst call to explain the rationale. Props to IBM for holding this call just two short hours after the news broke and for giving a few of us a chance to pepper them with tough questions. On this call, Craig Hayman, General Manager of IBM Business Solutions (within the IBM Software Solutions Group) and Yuchun Lee, Founder and CEO of Unica shared an insiders’ perspective on the deal. In fact, Craig even shared the code name “Amaru” which was his secret squirrel moniker for referring to the deal internally before it was done.
So here’s the scoop.
The IBM acquisition of Unica was largely driven by a recognized need for enterprises to get closer to their customers by understanding their experiences and interactions across a broad network of channels and customer touch points. They’ll accomplish this by using analytics technologies, building single view profiles of customers and delivering marketing process improvements.
Sounds a little like markety-speak doesn’t it? Well, regardless it’s still a pretty good story and one that I hope IBM is able to pull off. It’s actually similar to the one that Adobe told after the Omniture acquisition with perhaps more of an automation spin.
What does this mean for Web Analytics?
When Joe Stanhope of Forrester fame deftly asked how IBM planned to rationalize the overlap between NetInsight and the recent Coremetrics acquisition, the response was dominated by the word “synergies” which they see a lot of between these firms. Yuchun rightly went on to describe NetInsight as only one product in the Unica portfolio and that Coremetrics and Netinsight served different segments within the web analytics market. He explained that NetInsight has strength in the on premise solution market (which they do) and that their ability to leverage web analytics within an online datamart was also differentiated (while not entirely unique to the market at large, it’s true when compared to Coremetrics. NetInsight uses a relational database construct for storing and accessing clickstream data). Yuchun also pointed out that Coremetrics has strength when it comes to collecting high volume, high transaction data. This is a result of Coremetrics robust infrastructure that they’ve been building to collect and deliver this data at scale without incurring exorbitant expenses (and they were doing a damn good job of this).
All in all, the comments about the synergies concluded by stating that both tools would accelerate the benefits of deep customer insights for IBM’s clients. None the less, it will be very interesting to wait and see which features and functions emerge from a combined solution of two web analytics powerhouses.
What does this mean for IBM?
As much as I’d like to think that analytics is the epicenter of the business world, this deal is about multi-channel campaign management and marketing automation. IBM is without question on a buying spree. They snatched up SPSS, Coremetrics, DataCap, Sterling Commerce and now Unica in short order. Presumably this is all part of IBM’s strategic growth plan that earmarked a whopping $20 billion for acquisitions through 2015. But from a web analytics perspective, this acquisition didn’t occur because of the NetInsight product. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the technology, but Unica’s campaign automation solutions and interactive marketing prowess within the marketplace surely made them a tasty morsel for IBM to gobble.
The newly acquired Unica technology will sit within the Software Group business – or more specifically – IBM Software Solutions Group. Yuchun will own the BU within the software solutions group. And this group also holds Websphere Commerce, Coremetrics, Cognos and about a bazillion other software solutions. But as we learned on the call today, Craig Hayman will work to build out frameworks and the connections between these multitude of solutions.
What does this mean for clients?
So, when I look at the big picture, my speculation is that IBM is furthering the bifurcation of the marketplace in yet another direction that separates the “haves” from the “have nots”. What I mean by this is slightly different from what Eric described in his bifurcation of analytics market as a separation of tools based on the level of experience for each user. He puts technologies like Adobe Omniture’s Discover and Coremetrics’ Explore into the exclusive camp of highly skilled analysts who are capable of performing true analysis on digital data sets. The rest of the population is left with simpler, yet still capable tools (not meant in a disparaging way) like Google Analytics that are intuitive and require little training to begin garnering insights. While I agree with Eric, a new twist in this divide can also be developing on a financial level.
As we know, Google Analytics is free and enterprise analytics can quickly run into six – even seven – digit figures in a hurry. My thoughts on this financial divide and IBM’s perpetuation of it stem from Sam Palmisano’s scoff at the notion of consumer technologies dominating the enterprise. Clearly the IBM acquisition moves dictate that a set of tools designed for the professional marketer will be vastly different from the solutions accessible to consumers on the street. Thus, I see this as yet another wedge in the bifurcated divide between large enterprises, the ones that typically purchase software from the likes of IBM, Oracle, and SAS, and small and mid-sized companies who are forced to use a different toolset primarily because of price.
So at first blush, if you’re a big enterprise this all sounds pretty good. IBM and Unica join forces, which isn’t too much of a stretch as there’s also some history here…IBM is a Unica customer using campaign management, marketing resource management and other services to bring about a “marketing transformation” within their own organization (at least that’s how Craig Hayman put it). And Unica has also been OEM’ing IBM solutions for some time. The acquisition extends the growth trajectory that Unica was already on and helps to bring together IBM’s end-to-end story that they call “Blue Washing” (Err…hope that code word was okay for public consumption).
But, the acquisition also acts as a good milestone for IBM who is assembling all the key ingredients for a leading enterprise solution – Sterling Commerce is connecting to the back end – Coremetrics offers deep insights into customer behavior and segments – and now Unica delivers a marketing management solution. It’s hard to argue that they’re not connecting a very compelling story for marketing professionals.
Yet, if you’re a mid-sized business or even a small organization…the IBM “Blueness” may have just distanced itself even further into the stratosphere.
The burning question on many a web analyst’s mind today is likely…Who is Transpond? That’s the question I asked when I first learned of Webtrends’ plan to acquire the San Francisco based application development platform vendor.
Today the acquisition closed and word is out. At first glance, this may sound like a left turn for web analytics and perhaps it is. But in my mind it’s an interesting acquisition that’s headed in a positive direction. It also demonstrates that Webtrends isn’t afraid to make bold moves and assert its innovative position in the social analytics realm.
Transpond was founded in 2007 as iWidgets, back when widgets were all the rage (here’s a view from the Wayback Machine). The company got off the ground with a $4M investment in early 2009, but found that they were limited by their chosen iWidgets moniker and went through a rebranding exercise in the Summer 2009 to become Transpond. All the while, they’ve been providing application development tools for companies to build and deliver apps on mobile devices like the iPhone or Android, web platforms like Facebook and even TV apps for connected televisions. Transpond offers do-it-yourself development of applications such as quizzes, polls, games and interactive commerce for distribution across multiple digital channels. They also provide development support if you’re looking for some expert dev resources to really make your apps sing. Under the new ownership of Webtrends all of these capabilities will be folded into the Webtrends Apps offering and presumably reporting will become available within the Webtrends Analytics 9 interface.
What’s in it for Webtrends?
So, you may be asking yourself, why is Webtrends interested in this company? Well, the way I see it, Webtrends is tuned into the fact that more and more organizations are developing content that will live and breathe off-site. That is, apps that are not contained within your primary web presence. Whether it’s on a mobile phone, Facebook or the next new platform, users are interacting with your content and each other off-site. That’s a domain that web analytics has traditionally not been able to capture without some fancy footwork because most web analytics solutions rely on tracking contained within the pages of your primary web sites. While tracking within apps is not new either, this acquisition opens up the possibility of integrating behavior with applications that exist off your site into the data soup that is digital analytics. It’s really a logical extension of the analytics technology.
Why is this Cool?
What’s also really appealing about this technology from a development perspective is that the platform allows company’s to build apps and deliver them across multiple platforms in a consistent manner. Thus the ability to build it once and delivery to many, in whatever format they choose to consumer the content. Plus, when you bake in measurement and analytics to the apps, then you really have a means to evaluate interaction and compare across channels.
While this is certainly a new direction for web analytics acquisitions, I for one like the purchase and look forward to seeing Webtrends execute on the delivery of this new solution. Webtrends has the distinction of being one of the first pioneers in web analytics out there and also as the last independent vendor left standing. I’m pleased to see that this old dog ain’t afraid to learn new tricks.
Congratulations go out to Alex, Casey, Justin and the Webtrends team on the innovative move and to Peter Yared and Charles Christolini of Transpond for closing the deal.
This is purely speculation. I have no inside knowledge into the possibility I present here other than hypothetical conversations with peers. Sean Power brought up the topic over dinner recently, which caused me to start thinking seriously about the realities of Microsoft buying Adobe. He blogged about it way back when Adobe acquired Omniture. At that time, I was at Forrester and when we got wind of the deal, we had an all-hands meeting to make sense of the awkward acquisition. Upon arriving at consensus, I quickly penned a missive about why the acquisition of the leading web analytics and optimization firm made sense for a creative software firm like Adobe. Yet, like most others, we had to squint at the deal to see any logic in it at all. Now it’s starting to become clear why Adobe shelled $1.8B to add some attraction to its offering for a much larger suitor.
Adobe controls big chunks of the digital customer experience. Specifically, they play a major role in content creation through the CS5 suite of products. While web developers aren’t necessarily building their global digital offerings in Dreamweaver, surely they are using elements of Creative Suite to do just that. Further, any document where the author wants to control its integrity will lock it down by saving it in PDF format. And now through the acquisition of Omniture, they gained the ability to measure and optimize consumer utilization of those assets as well as the web sites and marketing efforts of leading brands across the globe. We’re just starting to see the fruits of this curious marriage between the two firms in the announcements of tracking capabilities within the CS5 release. Yet, these tracking methods are not meant for the traditional users of Omniture’s set of highly robust analysis capabilities; they are designed for content creators and developers to gain insights about the digital assets they’re producing. I like to think of this as tricking people into using web analytics by not actually telling them that they’re using data to make day-to-day business decisions. Brilliant actually. This introduction of tracking capabilities within CS5 falls precisely in line with what my partner Eric Peterson describes as the bifurcation of the web analytics marketplace. Analytics at the low-end are offering information that is helpful (dare I say critical) in making decisions about business activity. At the top end are trained web analysts who crunch the data to tease out the insights and offer recommendations based on a holistic representation of data from numerous disparate sources. With Omniture Insights providing the analysis horsepower at the top of this scenario and CS5 empowering the bottom, all of the sudden, Adobe becomes an invaluable resource for enterprises that deliver services in online, offline, B2C, B2B or B2B2C environments. Now, let’s introduce Microsoft into this mix.
MSFT has labored [successfully] to own the consumer desktop with its operating system, indispensable productivity tools (MS Office), and not-so-universally, rich media with Silverlight. Not to mention that they’re still working diligently to capture consumers with Bing, MSN and a slew of other services pointed at end users. All this traction across MSFT properties gives them a lofty vantage point from which to monitor consumer behavior across digital channels. Adding a stack of ubiquitous software for content creation and some world class measurement capabilities may be quite attractive to the Redmond rotund. They’d immediately challenge Apple on a new level of customer intelligence and empower their enterprise customers with a whopping new set of capabilities. Despite the new consumer view to be gained from this possible acquisition, the real benefits are a nicely wrapped enterprise solution complete with: MS servers, a .NET framework, SharePoint, Dynamics CRM, Dynamics ERP, and a kitchen sink of bells, whistles and anything else you might want. Given the opportunity to deliver, measure and manage the customer experience at a really deep and integrated level seems like an appealing bet to me.
I won’t droll on about how or when this impending acquisition will occur; mostly ‘cause I have no idea. But I will hedge by saying that others suitors may actually line up before MSFT comes calling. Google for instance could parlay a nice entrance to the packaged software market and gain the ability to create, deliver and measure that largest advertising network on the globe. For that matter Apple may be strategically sparring with Adobe’s crystal palace in a deliberate attempt to soften their value. Swooping in for an acquisition after some fierce battling on the street wouldn’t be completely unheard of…now would it?
2010 is shaping up to be the year of social media measurement and March is the month for measuring Facebook. While most of the major analytics vendors have been working on their Facebook measurement capabilities for some time; Webtrends, Coremetrics and Omniture all released significant advancements in their respective abilities to measure and analyze activity within the social networking juggernaut recently. These announcements created a frenzy of curiosity and confusion around what’s possible and what each vendor can deliver, so we were compelled to investigate. However, our inquiries exposed a world of complexity in terms of what’s measurable according to the emerging Facebook rules and exactly how organizations would benefit from measuring behavior within the walled social networking ecosystem.
In this first part of our two part series on Facebook Analytics, we will dissect the Facebook ecosystem of pages, tabs, applications, advertisements, and Facebook Connect functionality to reveal the do’s and don’ts of tracking visitor activity. While it may seem straightforward, some areas of the ecosystem are off limits to traditional tracking, while other areas can be measured with a high degree of detail. But in all cases, 3rd party measurement solutions must play by the Facebook rules, which we’ll begin to describe here. In Part II of this series, we’ll lay out a framework for how businesses can derive value from measuring their efforts within Facebook and we’ll take a deep dive into the specific capabilities of vendors that offer solutions for measuring Facebook today.
The Facebook Ecosystem
The Facebook ecosystem is comprised of many parts, some of which can be customized while others may not. This section will offer a brief description of each component within the ecosystem.
Facebook Page & Tabs
Facebook ads appear in the right hand column of your Facebook pages and can link to external web pages – or – within Facebook on tabs, applications, events or groups. Ads can be tracked using Facebook Insights or with traditional web analytics tags when the ad links out to external sites by using campaign ID codes. Ads follow a template format and offer some restrictions around size, text and images. Ads can be targeted according to nine filters including age, gender and keywords just to name a few. Ads can be purchased according to impressions or clicks providing options for businesses.
Facebook share options are surfacing across the web at an astounding rate. Much in the same way that you can share content trough social bookmarking sites or microblog formats, Facebook Share will populate a link within a users Wall page. Adding the Share link requires only one line of code and can drive traffic back to your site. Facebook even makes it simple by offering multiple Share icons to choose from.
Facebook Connect enables businesses and individuals to extend capabilities of Facebook including their identity and connections to the web at large (e,g., outside the Facebook ecosystem). In other words, Facebook Connect makes sharing content, conversations, images and social comments possible, both inside and outside the walls of Facebook. Some aspects of Facebook Connect are measurable when delivered outside the Facebook ecosystem, yet internal connections likely require custom solutions. Facebook Connect works through a set of APIs that quite frankly have the potential to make Facebook the epicenter of the digital universe. Below is an example of Facebook Connect in action and more examples are available here. I recommend checking out JCPenney’s “Beware the Doghouse” campaign that leverages Facebook Connect for a good laugh and a taste of how Connect can pull content, images and video from Facebook to create a rich multimedia experience.
Why is measuring the Facebook ecosystem so difficult?
The clock is ticking and tracking permission is opt in
To complicate matters, at this time Facebook does not permit the storage of user data acquired from Facebook for more than 24 hours. Although rumors are brewing that this may change. Exceptions to the 24 hour storage rule are documented in the Facebook developer site, but they are far from being crystal clear. Data stored in perpetuity may include User ID, Photo Album ID, email address, primary network ID and several other attributes noted here. This means that despite all the ways that you can get data out of Facebook Insights or through third party methods, their platform policies may prohibit long-term storage of that data. [If you choose to follow those rules]. However, Facebook has opened the floodgates to external measurement solutions for applications and advertisements…if… And this is a big IF… users grant permission to track and store data about them. This authorization is requested using a standard message shown in the screenshot below.
For users who are comfortable with tracking and aware that this happens on nearly every web site out there, it’s really no big deal. But I’m willing to guess that the abandon rate on most permission requests is astronomical. If you’ve got data on Facebook app abandon rates, I’d love to know.
Now that we’ve painted the big picture of the Facebook ecosystem and hinted at what’s possible in terms of measurement, it’s time to explore vendors that can actually measure all these moving parts. We’ll save the juicy details for Part II of this post, but leave you with some food for thought…
Measuring Facebook is no easy task. Despite the fact that over 400 million users access the site regularly, the visibility into the actions, behavior, and demographics is carefully guarded. Each of the vendors we
interviewed interrogated was highly sensitive to Facebook rules and the privacy of its citizens.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the ecosystem and if you think I missed anything, which is entirely possible given the complexity of Facebook. I welcome your comments and I hope you’ll visit again soon to learn how a small handful of major web analytics vendors are cracking the Facebook measurement ecosystem.