Social media analytics - 2 new tools

  • Author: Lauren
  • Lauren Fisher,

The area of social media analytics is always changing and growing and I wanted to share with you 2 new tools that are free to use. I've written about social media analytics on the blog before and it's an area that really interests me. As new tools develop that are free to use, it becomes harder for paid tools like Radian6 to justify their charges. There's just so many free tools out there that do a good job and make social analytics accessible for any size business.

Viralheat launches free analytics

Viralheat first launched back in 2009, with a minimum monthly cost to access the service. Now they've revamped their offering with Social Trends, which gives you free access to realtime data for over 4,000 topics. While you still have to pay (a modest $9.99 per month) if you want to create your own profile, you can search through their set topics and access profiles for free. If you search 'vodafone' for example (a client of ours), the dashboard gives you the following results :

You get a fairly comprehensive view of results online, split down between video, Twitter, Facebook posts, blog mentions and Google Buzz. Now what this does is to give you an overview of the levels of conversation and trends over a certain period. What I don't like is the fact that you can't click into individual results, but this is what you get when you upgrade to a paid account. This does certainly have its uses though, and as well as tracking brand mentions, is also useful for tracking popular stories and topics, seeing their popularity over time.

Overall a pretty nice offering from ViralHeat that will certainly encourage users to subscribe to the full service, which is one of the most competitively priced on the market.

ShareThis Analytics

The second free analytics tool is from ShareThis, which is a social media sharing widget, allowing you to add social bookmarking and sharing buttons to your website. Now they're upping their ante in the analytics game with their latest offerings : Social Reach and Audience Indexing. The Audience Index  metric is fairly unique. It allows you a deeper insight into the type of people visiting your site, while also allowing you to compare to other sites in a similar category to your own. It will also categorise your site visitors, so you get a better insight into the type of people your content is attracting. I can see this being hugely valuable to site owners and bloggers, giving a deeper level of insight than that currently offered by standard analytics. They don't go into the detail of quite how they're categorising and tracking this, which I'd like to learn more about.

Their Social Reach service is where it gets pretty exciting, as it claims to offer you a more complete view of your content online and how people are engaging with it. It measures and tracks shared media across the social web, beyond the standard metric that's offered by sites, such as how many shares in Facebook. If they get this right, it could be a very valuable tool, as at the moment there's currently a bit of  a 'black hole' when it comes to social sharing. You create the content at one end, you can see the numbers at the other, but you don't get a very accurate report of who was engaging with this content, how many people one 'sharer' influenced, or how likely their audience is to click on the content that's shared. Both the Social Reach and Audience Index options will be available in the reports you receive from ShareThis, though they haven't currently been rolled out for all users.

To announce their new reports. ShareThis have produced an infographic into their social data across their 850,000 publishers and shows a preview of what these reports will look like:

These are two nice tools to use that might not offer the immediacy of much simpler tools like One Riot, but offer a great level of analtyics in return, for free.