One of the strongest Project Managers that I have ever worked with, Nick Giordano, is also the lead guitarist for the band Monsters are not Myths. Yesterday, Nick walked me through some of the analytics that he monitors on his band’s fans base (groupie analytics?) on both Facebook and MySpace.
Facebook Insights has come a long way in the last 12 months. After creating a page and gaining fans, administrators can see a large variety of reports. Most of the reports focus on two main areas (1) How successful a page is at creating interaction within a community, and (2) How successful Facebook advertisements are at getting Facebook users to act (convert). The most impressive piece of data that you can find is your Post Quality. This variable measures engagement by tracking each of your posts (text, video, photos, etc) and how many of your fans comment, like, or write on your wall. While the report does not necessarily tell you which demographics in your fan base react more than others, it gives you an excellent idea of how strong your content is. This would be an awesome feature for any site. While Facebook puts a little too much emphasis on their simple demographics data (literally just age and gender), the export feature and the graphs on data such as media consumption give administrators an excellent understanding of their ability to create an interactive community. Facebook Insights would be more useful if they offered the ability to integrate with offsite analytics applications such as SiteCatalyst, Webtrends, or Google Analytics to show downstream analytics – one can only dream. With some work, an analyst could start to track trends between the applications – for instance, when Facebook Post Quality goes up, Facebook traffic to our site (and conversion) increases.
While the MySpace Dashboards are not as user-friendly, the data offered is still very impressive. The dashboards provide similar demographics to Facebook with age, gender, and location being the primary tracking variables. MySpace gives a little more insight into interactions by showing posts, comments, views, and kudos over days, weeks, and totals (Facebook focuses on the last 7 days). What impresses me the most about the MySpace dashboards is their unique variables suited for the goals of the administrator. For example, Nick’s band uses the MySpace music player to let fans play the band’s songs and their dashboard shows how popular different songs are on MySpace. It measures the song popularity by plays, dedications, iLikes and trending data. For Monsters are not Myths, ‘Old Soul’ tops their MySpace charts.
Most importantly, Nick can log into the bands Google Analytics account and see how traffic from Facebook and MySpace to their band’s main webpage interacts with the site. For instance, he can see if visitors to the site that came from MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter were more likely to be repeat visitors, viewed more content, and/or signed up for newsletters and events. To isolate traffic from URLs posted on a fan page versus random users posting URL’s on a social networking site, be sure to append tracking variables to the URLs you post. For instance, if Nick was to post his tour dates the URL might look like this – http://www.monstersarenotmyths.com/v2/music_shows.html?source=facebook. If you are using a URL shortener such as ow.ly, tr.im, or bit.ly, be sure to append the URL variables before you shorten them.