Measure Twice, Cut Once

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Do you blog? Have a social media presence on LinkedIn for professional purposes? Post videos to YouTube? Does your firm have a Facebook page or Twitter account? How about an email newsletter? If you do any of these potentially rewarding but time-consuming activities it is imperative to measure your reach so that you learn from your successes and craft messaging effectively for maximum impact.

YouTube

Go to https://studio.youtube.com/, login, and on the left panel click “Analytics”. You can get an overview including top videos, overall performance, and number of subscribers. Remember that the default analytics report is the last 28 days so change that in the upper right to get more information. In the main overview, you can drill down by clicking “See More” in a section like “Top Videos”. In addition to showing you at-a-glance stats on your best performing videos, you can drill down to how long someone watched a video. If viewers consistently don’t watch the entire video it could be too long. You can also understand how people find your videos (traffic sources), and demographics of your audience by age, fender, and geography. You can also see what device they are watching on – smartphones, tablets, or computers. Depending on whether you add cards, translations, and other screen elements you can get intel on those too. Each chart can be filtered, customized, and downloaded as a .csv (or Google Sheet) for further analysis.

If you only want to see analytics for a certain video go to “Videos” in the left panel, mouse over the video you are interested in and click on the Analytics button that appears.

LinkedIn

If you have a free LinkedIn account, there are two main ways to test for impact – how people interact with your profile and how they interact with the content you share (posts or articles).

To see analytics for your profile, go into your profile page (click on the “Me” button on the upper right) and choose “View Profile”. On your profile page, you can click on the number of connections to see how many people you have connected with on LinkedIn. Going back to the profile page, scroll down to view Your Dashboard. Unless you pay for a premium LinkedIn account the information will be limited to the last 90 days and will reveal little other than how many people viewed your profile and decline/increase over that period. You can also see how many times you appeared in search in the last 90 days and where your searchers work, what they do and what keywords they used.

If you are posting, adding articles and interacting with other people’s posts/articles you can click on “Me” again in the upper right and choose Manage – Posts and Activities. You can see on the left how many followers you have. On the right, you can view all activity or filter by “articles”, “posts” and “documents”. For each interaction, you can see how many people liked your post or commented on it. You can also see your reactions (likes, comments) to posts by other people.  Filter by “Posts” and for each post, you have made you can see how many views you got, as well as reactions (like, curious, congratulations, etc.) and comments. You can drill into any of these to see metrics about who viewed your posts by place of business, title, and geography. Are you reaching your intended audience?

Twitter

To measure your Twitter performance, you will want to know how many times you’ve tweeted, how many followers you have and how many people interact (“like” or retweet or respond) with your tweets. Fortunately, Twitter has a whole site devoted to helping you see your Twitter performance at https://analytics.twitter.com/. There you can get a 28-day summary report showing the percentage change over the previous period and your performance for the month, such as “Top Tweets” “Top Mentions” “Top Followers” and “Top media Tweet”.  Keep scrolling down the page to see your previous monthly highlights and summary (tweet impressions and new followers).

If you need to know the demographics of your Twitter followers click on “Audiences” at the top of the page. You can get a whole lot of insight on your followers including their interests, demographics, lifestyle and consumer behaviors. To get even more detailed demographics, including the geographic location of your followers, you can use the freemium product like Tweetsmap (be aware, in exchange for using the free product you will be prompted to tweet about your use of Tweetsmap).

Facebook

Like Twitter, Facebook provides a separate site for your page’s analytics at https://analytics.facebook.com/. This free tool lets you view an overview that defaults to the last 28 days. From the primary dashboard, you can customize your report by time period, audience and even add more filters. You can create custom dashboards. You can view reports on users, retention, cohorts, journeys, events and more on your Page activity. Scroll down and select “People” to view the demographics of your visitors.

The landing page is not the usual yada yada. The Facebook Analytics features page explains what all of these measurement elements mean. For instance, a cohort report can measure the percentage of people who take specific actions like view a page and register for an event and then measure it over time. There is also a help center to get started and a blog for news, ideas, and insights.

Mailchimp

Popular email campaign tools like Mailchimp and Constant Contact provide tons of metrics to measure the success of your email marketing campaigns and newsletters. In Mailchimp, you can view Campaigns, Audience Insights, and Reports. In Audience for different mailing lists you can see how people subscribe, the date they were added and if they unsubscribed (and why). In Campaigns, you can see performance across your campaign emails, including opens and click-throughs compared to the industry average. In the Campaigns tab, you can drill into reports for a campaign to see not only the click rate but what was clicked on by percentage or a “heat map” of which links attracted clicks in the flow of the text.

Websites and Google Analytics

If you are using WordPress.com, Wix.com, Weebly, Squarespace or another website platform you get simple analytics that will show views, visitors, search terms, referring traffic, etc. If you are using a host for WordPress, such as BlueHost, WPEngine, HostGator, etc. you will need to either add code for Google Analytics or use a plugin to help you. Google Analytics is free, but it is complicated and besides understanding very simple measurements it requires some study.

Social Media Management Dashboards

Tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, and SocialOomph help you read and interact with multiple social channels and schedule posts. They also measure analytics for all your activities in one place. Analytics generally do not come with the free plans for social media dashboards and may need supplementation with those built into the platforms. However, features like having reports sent to your inbox on a weekly schedule will go a long way to reminding you to take your performance into consideration to improve your social activity.

Conclusion

Once you have a sense of what types of analytics you can get then you can figure out what is most meaningful to you and create goals. Is your goal to get more followers? Get more views? Have more people watch your videos all the way through? What can you learn from the analytics, combined with marketing best practices that get you to those goals? For instance, following people on Twitter generally results in more followers. Creating shorter serial videos have more watches and get more subscribers to your YouTube channel than a single lengthy video. Hosting events and using polls engage your audience. Blog posts written following Bob Ambrogi’s excellent tips will get more views. Understand how analytics can impact the big picture and change your strategy to get the most ROI out of your efforts!