I don’t know what it is about the summer, but it just seems as though I spend more money during the summer. In Chicago, you really have to make efficient use of the good weather and somehow that translates into entertainment spending. With the holidays just past and a really tough economy, I have been feeling very frugal lately, which compelled me to investigate some free analytical services out there for sales and marketing.
At a time when it can be pretty difficult to get a complete view of your marketing performance online, some services are really stepping up to fill the gaps (for free) until internal and on-demand CRM systems can catch up to the crowd.
Google continues to be the king of giving stuff away in hopes to drive more people to search advertising or to provide new avenues for their advertising engine. Google Analytics
is well known for its general functionality for web analytics. But Google also has Web Site Optimizer which automates multivariate creative testing for landing pages in email and search campaigns.
Compete remains a hidden gem for getting some very quick website metrics for you and your competitors. It can show the standard metrics (visitors and page views) for your site and your competitors’ sites. Compete’s search products can also show what keywords are working for you and your competitors and where people are going for specific keywords. The site has many free aspects and there are also pay as you go affordable options to quickly get a few more advanced metrics and reports. Compete also has complete custom projects, which is far from free, but available for those who really need to dig in.
Not to be outdone by Compete, SEMRush helps you identify the right keywords for your Search campaigns. It allows you to look at competitors’ keywords and understand where the general population is going when they search on specific keywords. It shows both organization and paid search and very quickly shows you the competitors to a specific domain that are also using or benefiting from similar keywords.
Ooyala very narrowly focuses on helping you get your video content on the web. It helps with publishing, advertising, and also provides analytics for how people are viewing your video, how long they watch, and how often it is accessed.
The social media space is probably the most difficult to get your arms around. Though some organizations like Alterian and Webtrends are starting to find their groove in social media metrics, it is still quite difficult to follow your content around the social web.
Alterian offers a limited edition of their Social Media Analytics product so that you can get a sense of the online community’s perception of your brand and how it might relate to your competitors’.
OneRiot attempts to focus on content proliferation. It tracks where buzz about a certain topic may have started and tangential conversations on supplemental sites, and provides real-time metrics from Twitter and Digg to understand the amount of chatter about a particular topic.
Several sites focus on helping people understand their popularity or the popularity of a specific topic. Twitscoop follows the path of articles, tweets, and links to provide metrics on popularity and penetration of the community. Tinker, Monitter, and Twitterfall allow you to find the latest tweets on specific topics. It is less metric focused but helps you understand if you are continuing to get buzz. They all supply keyword type of analytics to understand what is being tweeted (and re-tweeted about) so people can understand trends in a community, what is hot, and what is not.
BlogPulse focuses a little more on the entire blogosphere. BlogPulse provides a search engine for blogs and then feeds the analytics about what people are searching back to the online community. BlogPulse also helps you look for keywords and finds blogs that are addressing or leveraging those keywords and shows trending diagnostics.
Of course, Facebook provides an application for its users to understand user interactions, community growth, how your content is proliferating, and your overall Facebook presence.
No free analytics software that is just hosted on the web can compare to the level of analytics we are accustomed to through our traditional business intelligence
applications. However, these tools are all in the nascent stages (Google Analytics excluded), and these applications can really grow into full-blown business intelligence applications that integrate with the rest of what you need to know as a marketer. In the meantime, the tools mentioned here can help you get started and get educated in how to measure online activity.
SOURCE: Sales and Marketing: Feeling Frugal
Recent articles by Larry Goldman