Twitter Tracking and Thoughts on the Twitterverse

February 12th, 2009

Topics: Company News

Why Twitter? I Don’t Get It! If you’ve asked that question yourself or heard it from others – This NYTimes article on the Brave New World of Digital Intimacy helps to explain the transformation on tapping the collective consciousness. Personally – I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter and I’d bet many of you feel the same way.

Love that I can keep up with many of my friends and coworkers so that when I see them in person, know a bit more of what is going on with them and we automatically start our conversations at another level. 

Hate that many people, including folks I’ve never met, know more about my day-to-day life than my sister who lives a few states away.

Love that when I have something that I think is interesting to say, I can find the right 140 characters (or less) to express my thoughts.

Hate when I don’t have time to keep up with those that I do follow.

I spend too much time checking Twitter updates.  I don’t have enough time to keep up with Twitter updates.  I installed the TwitterFox plug-in for Firefox and Twitterberry on my Blackberry because I feel like I need to keep up with what’s going on.  But I uninstalled Tweetdeck because there is way too much going on.  I’m usually pretty decisive about things, but not Twitter.  I love it, I hate it, I have a strong opinion that changes fairly often.

But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what I think about Twitter. And it doesn’t matter what you think about Twitter. As a product manager I live every day by the saying that while my personal opinion might be interesting, it is completely and totally irrelevant.  It doesn’t matter what we think about Twitter.  What does matter is that your customers, prospects, supporters, and detractors are all using it.  They are saying good things, they are saying bad things.  People who want to learn about your company are using Twitter to learn more about your company’s products and services.  And from these 140 character snippits, they are going to your web site.  Think about that – they are going to (formerly Summerize), typing in a keyword or phrase that you’ve worked really hard at getting to the top of Google search, and finding a ton of information about your company on a site full of 140 character microblogs.  And by the way, you don’t necessarily have a lot of control about what’s being said.

At WebTrends – not only is there Twitter talk, there is Twitter listening.  We spend a lot of time using all of the new, modern, social media tools out there so we are better marketers ourselves. While some of us think we’re doing some really cool, modern things regarding social media – it also freaks some of us out.  We know we have to do our best to measure our effectiveness and we know how hard it can be to measure that effectiveness. (just ask our own social media team how they are tracking the space)To make that measurement easier we employ a social media tagging strategy and the newly available Twitter tracking.


Twitter Tracking Report Screenshot

Click for Full Size Screenshot

We recently added tracking Twitter as a search engine in WebTrends Analytics reports.  It’s already in our On Demand offering, or if you use our software you can download an installer to upgrade your installation.  It’s probably not going to be at the top of your search engine reports, but you can use our reporting’s search feature to see what keywords and phrases people are using to find your site – what they are saying on Twitter.

Now –  if I could just sum up all these thoughts up in 140 characters …  If I only had the time.

10 Responses to “Twitter Tracking and Thoughts on the Twitterverse”

  1. Derek Fine

    @nick : Nick, the specific search functionality relates to searches done on, as opposed to people clicking amongst the people they follow and then clicking a link to your site. This is different from the referring site reports that would list Twitter as the referring site (assuming, as you note, that the click-through originates from

    For example, if somebody goes to, searches for “web analytics,” sees a results page with a raving Tweet from Nick about WebTrends, and clicks through to the WebTrends site, our search engine reports would indicate “web analytics” as a phrase from the Twitter search engine.

  2. Derek Fine

    @anil: Thanks for your comment. Good points in your blog, including using campaign tags to measure the impact. Our social media team does the same thing in our postings as well.

  3. Nick Potter

    I’ve tagged the tweets that go out about posts on my personal blog for a while now and I’ve been reporting on them to see how effective Twitter is at driving traffic. (Being my personal blog its not WebTrends tracking it though!)

    The question I have is whilst I can easily see how you can identify Twitter as a referrer (so long as I’m actually using the site and not one of the many third-party twitter tools) how are you getting the “Search Phrase” part of the report shown above and does it really mean anything?

  4. Anil Batra

    Great Post, I like your idea of tracking twitter search as a search engine. Hadn’t thought about it.
    In addition to it if the companies are putting out their urls on the twitter as they engage in the conversations or just promote their content/product they tag them with can use webtrend campaign tags to measure the impact of those tweets as I showed in my blog post

    Thank you.


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