Wednesday 18 July 2012

Make the most of Tracking

"If you can't measure it, you can't manage it"

This phrase for me is at the heart of everything related to database marketing, to avoid the guesswork around what activity does and doesn't work.

Following on from my previous piece around Twitter, it's good to know which links from your Twitter feed are being clicked on (we'll look at how to track retweets in a future post).

As mentioned previously, you may post a Tweet to x followers but the number who actually see that Tweet will be significantly less. This will depend on when your followers visit Twitter and how inclined they may be to scroll through their timeline, but it's likely that unless they are looking within 10 minutes of you posting your Tweet it won't get seen.

This then suggests that it's a waste of your hard work in producing your article/blog/promotion to only Tweet it once.  There are numerous things that can impact the response you get to a Tweet that you may want to test e.g., 
  • Time of Day/Day of week - There will be peaks in when people are on Twitter e.g., Early Morning/Lunchtime etc., but this also means that there'll be more Tweets in their timeline so you are fighting for their attention.  Also what you are asking the reader to do will impact on likelihood of click-through e.g., is it a quick or an in-depth piece, is it business related (Marketing Advice) or personal (Hotel Breaks).
  • Tone/Content - How much of the final message should you put in the Tweet e.g., does "Great Twitter Tips here" work better than "Our latest blog on how you can use Twitter to improve your marketing"
  • Frequency - How much is too much?  This is likely to depend on the kind of followers you have, consumers will generally follow a few hundred accounts and business a higher number partly to take part in the follow you - follow me ritual to increase follower numbers and therefore appear more important.
With so many variables it's impossible to test everything at once, any learning should be an iterative process, with the aim to continuously refine what you do until you have the style that works best for you (remembering to still occasionally test that this still holds true).

URL shortening procedures such as within Twitter or give you a link that can then be used to track visits to your website.  The only problem with these is that the code is unique to that web address rather than that tweet.  e.g., If I wanted to promote then every tweet I send with a link to this address will have the same shortened URL.

A way to get around this is to add an extra part to the address which still takes you to the same page e.g., The important thing to do is to start the extra part that you are adding with a # (other characters such as ?) as work.

If you name these links with a bit more thought than the one above e.g. (for Twitter Link, on 18th July Link number 1) or where you keep track in Excel what each link relates to then you will know the response for every tweet not just every article you have linked to.

Dan Barnett

Director of Analytics

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