Analytics overload: Yahoo, Alexa, Metrica, BlogPulse

Some items from the world of web analytics that web folk, marketers, fellow bloggers and even PR types (last bullet item) might find interesting:

  • Yahoo is entering the analytics arms race, reports ReadWriteWeb. With its recent purchase of IndexTools, Yahoo is planning to make the analytics service free “for any current [IndexTools] customer willing to sign a new Yahoo! service agreement.” IndexTools COO Dennis R. Mortensen discussed this on his blog. While it’s only available for free to current customers, RRW speculates that it’s only a matter of time before the service becomes available to the rest of the online world. “[W]e can probably expect Yahoo! to release a free version to the general public at the time of the next IndexTools update.”

    This is an important development for the analytics industry, but also for Yahoo! If Yahoo! can successfully attract web publishers to their free service — and it is hard to see why they wouldn’t be able to — it means the ability to gather loads of aggregate data for their behavioral ad targeting initiatives.

  • Web rankings/analytics site Alexa has changed its rankings system (h/t: Kyle James at .edu guru). According to the Alexa blog, the service is broadening its data collection beyond those who use the Alexa toolbar.

    In recent months we’ve heard from our Alexa users that understanding Internet usage beyond Alexa Toolbar users was increasingly of interest. Ask and you shall receive!

    We listened to your suggestions, and we believe that our new rankings system is much closer to what you asked for. We now aggregate data from multiple sources to give you a better indication of website popularity among the entire population of Internet users.

    “The new rankings,” Alexa says, “should better reflect the interests and surfing habits of the broader population of Web users.”

  • A global yardstick for measuring PR/media relations. This may be too big of a measuring stick, but PR folks interested in knowing how their media relations efforts stack up against the rest of the world (and I do mean practically the rest of the world), check out Metrica’s 2007 PR benchmarking report (h/t: K.D. Paine). Metrica analyzed some 3 million news stories (print and broadcast) for about 700 different organizations between 1997-2007. I’m no expert on PR analytics, but that has got to be one of the most comprehensive studies ever done on media coverage. As K.D. Paine points out, the report “definitely leans towards a UK perspective,” but “it does offer some useful datapoints.” Here are a few from K.D.’s list:
    • A little over a quarter (26%) of the coverage was classified strongly favorable.
    • The percentage of strongly favorable coverage was lower for government departments, independent organizations, charities, financial organizations and telecoms companies.
    • Only 8% of all coverage was classified unfavorable
    • An average of 23% of coverage mentioned an organizations’ spokesperson
    • An average of 42% of articles delivered a key message, although across all coverage this amounted to 2.3 message deliveries per article
    • IT and telecoms/internet were relatively weak on message delivery with just 31% and 35% of articles respectively delivering a key message. This highlights the problem that tech PR often faces in translating marketing messages into PR messages that a journalist will write about.
    • Despite concerns about the world economy in the latter half of 2007, there was actually more negative coverage in 2006.

    I only wish the report segmented higher education from the rest of the group. I suspect higher ed is lumped in with non-profits and government.

  • For conversational metrics, check out BlogPulse. Mashable recently touted BlogPulse, an often overlooked measurement tool, for its focus on tracking conversations in the blogosphere. (Hat tip, again, to K.D. Paine.) BlogPulse is “still not competitive on the comprehensiveness of their blog indexing as compared to Technorati and Google Blog Search,” but: “What they do have an angle on is a different way of measuring reach and value for a blog.” If you’re interested in measuring those aspects of your blogging program, take BlogPulse for a spin.
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    Author: andrewcareaga

    Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

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