More often than not, business owners focus on their business. That’s why they hire us marketers to figure out if that focus is going in the right direction. However, it is not about what business owners or even marketers think, it all comes down to what we know about our customers and what we know about their engagement in our content. Because the more you know, the better the chance that you will reach your customers and get valuable traffic. Now, how do I get that information? – you may ask. Simple, analytics!
Now that we’ve established how you can get information about your customers behavior, you will probably think – what do I do to get those analytics you speak of? Well friend, this is a text all about what you can use to get the best of analytics and what’s more, the free kind of analytics! There are four free analytics that I personally love using and will focus on: Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, and my favorite of all – SumAll.
But wait, those are available to everyone
My point exactly. We often search for an analytics tool that will be made of gold and silver, and present us with beautiful graphs showing us our user behavior, content clickability, engagement percentage, and how we’ve grown over time. Now mind you, such tools exist and are great (Most popular would probably be Moz and KISSmetrics) but they often come with a fee… and that fee isn’t necessarily something that a Startup, for example, can afford. There is one free, eye and mind pleasing tool that does show you all those things, but we’ll discuss that later on.
Analytics this and Insights that
Google Analytics and Facebook Page Insights are tools that will help you see changes over time, look into what kind of people are looking into your content, what time during the day you have the most traffic and how much of that traffic is reaching others. They are however a little different. Page insights focuses specifically on the page that you are running, therefore you can see what is happening with your content via social media. Whereas, Google Analytics is focused more on analyzing through websites or blogs.
Another great feature is that you can compare data. You can see what part of your traffic was organically generated and what part came in through paid reach. You can see how different channels or means of showing information (photos, videos, text posts) reached people and what their engagement was. Google Analytics has made their tool a little more advanced – you can use multiple segments extending to “unique users”, “search traffic”, “converters” and many others. If you want to make your graphs even more detailed, compare different metrics (e.g. new visits % vs. bounce rate)
Facebook Page Insights
Of course clicking through you may find yourself overwhelmed with possibilities (Keep in mind – this is all still free). Yet, before you start going through all the subcategories and different metrics and segments, you should familiarize yourself with the “overview” tab, in Page Insights it looks less complicated and the metrics are not as extensive. The panel itself is pretty self-explanatory too:
Just by clicking on the overview tab you’ll be able to see a summary of the metrics that might interest you and how they work, and because Page Insights isn’t as complicated, clicking on the other tabs and looking through the data is quite easy! In case you get confused, just placing your mouse over a metric will make a bubble pop-up with an explanation of what this metric is exactly. Finally, something that might come in use for meetings or campaign planning – exporting data. If you find yourself in need of a detailed and printed copy of all your analytics you can export your data in a XLS or CSV fotmat.
This tool knows how to capture its users. If you’re generating 10 million hits or less per month then this tool is completely free, once you start getting over 10 million hits Google Analytics will invite you to enjoy the Google Analytics Premium account, which does actually have fees.
Analytics is fairly advanced with a lot of features and metrics. The panel itself looks innocent but all the tabs you see to your left actually unravel and show a lot more options that refer to the “mother tab”.
Basically, if you’re just starting off with Google Analytics I would suggest clicking through those tabs and focusing on their “overview” option (yes, it is available for each separate tab), and then move on to others that have more precise analytics.
Google has really made this tool superbly. Lots of features and enormous amount of metrics to compare and analyze. Finally, just like with Page Insights – you can export all those wonderfully made charts. Even the number of formats is greater than in Insights! You can export your data in either CSV, TSV, TSV for Excel, Excel, Google Spreadsheet, or PDF.
With Twitter things are starting to get a little more complicated, the Analytics itself are available for free but under certain conditions. Most people think that you have to advertise on Twitter for the analytics to work, in a way that is true but at the same time all you need is Twitter Cards. Now this tool is absolutely free as long as you use the basic cards (summary, summary with large picture, photo, gallery, etc.). Cards like the Product Card are unfortunately paid, but they come with perks, however we are going to focus on the free cards.
Once your cards have been approved, it takes about 24 hours for the analytics to kick in. What Twitter does is focus on the reach and power of each specific card, but you can also access info about your tweets and followers. The panel looks like this:
At first glance you may think that having only three tabs is not a lot, but it is. Although ‘Tweets’ and ‘Followers’ are not necessarily as expansively built as ‘Twitter Cards’, they do offer some insights. However, when you take a look at the ‘Twitter Cards’ tab, you will find that you can see a more in depth analysis:
Each individual tab has its own subcategories. You can keep track of all the things that happen with your cards, from engagement to their reach, this will help you see what works and what doesn’t. In turn you will see what direction you should go to reach more people and gain potential customers.
The fairest of them all
Would have to be SumAll. Although it is still in beta version and it took a little while to actually understand what is happening and what all those graphs mean, it became my go to tool when it came to analysis. This fairly new analysis agent is based on a colorful, informative, and modern design. It not only lets you plug-in your social media sites but also WordPress and e-commerce accounts, which means you keep track of your media growth and business income alike.
Modern and Intuitive
Since you can view a lot of different platforms, it can be a challenge to split data or make it easy to see what is counted and how. Not when it comes to SumAll. Color coded graphs with specific data with just one mouse hover:
You can input your own reminders and notes within your data, show data as a number chart rather than graphs, choose time periods and intervals (daily, weekly, and monthly) and most of all you can export all of this data! If you would like to see more on how these graphs work, check out the SumAll Tour. Another great feature is that all your data is sent to you daily (or if you prefer, weekly) with digests of what has been happening on all your platforms. Say goodbye to boring charts and sad looking data, this beautifully designed tool lets your data strive with modern colors and clear presentation.
Nothing comes for free
In this case it does! Since SumAll is fairly new it does not have a pricing offer, yet. Their website clearly states that they are working on a pricing plan that will have many features that come with it. However, if you don’t want to start paying just yet, there will always be a free version available. For now you can enjoy the analytics for free and once they do come up with a pricing plan you can see if the freebie version is suitable enough or if paying for more great features is worth the money.
Summing all the insights up
All four analytics tools are great. I find it easier to use ready-made tools by platform owners because they know their product and what data is most valuable when it comes to its analytics. In any case, you can’t just rely on tools like that, mainly because they focus on their product, and their product only. That is why Google Analytics is a wonderful tool as it can analyze many different platforms, it does lack one thing – minimalistic clarity and graph overlay of different platforms together. That reason alone is why I find SumAll to be an amazing new analysis tool that should be talked about more. Seeing all your platforms together and being able to compare it in a really colorful (which is useful when you have different metrics) and minimalistic way.
No matter what you decide on, it is important that you do choose something. Analysis is important in making your product, website, or even blog visible. And the only way to achieve results, is by knowing your customer’s needs.
Cover Image via. SumAll Images