Analytics for Social Media – Referral Metrics

In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. We’ve already discussed Activity Metrics, Audience Metrics and Engagement Metrics. Today we’ll cover Referral Metrics.

Time for referral metrics. What’s that? A referral is simply getting someone from one thing to another (i.e., you’ve “referred them”). For example, from Facebook to your website. Thankfully, Google Analytics now counts referrals.

To get there, open up Google Analytics. Go to Acquisition, then click Social, then Network Referrals.

There, you’ll find a handy-dandy report of website visitors that started off in a social media page, and ended up on your website. I count the Sessions number for each of the four social media channels that I’m tracking, and then add those together. For May, we had 865 referrals to our website from social media.

This is a pretty useful number, because it shows interest. Someone was interested enough in something you mentioned on one of your social media channels to actually click through to your website. Nice!

Pic by Stuart Pilbrow

Analytics for Social Media – Engagement Metrics

In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. We’ve already discussed Activity Metrics and Audience Metrics. Today we’ll cover Engagement Metrics.

Now for the geekier metrics… Engagement metrics! What’s engagement? I’m counting it as stuff people actually DO on your social media channel. That includes activities like: Liking, Sharing, clicking a link, repinning, watching the video, leaving a comment, replying, ReTweeting, etc.

Here’s what we track:

Facebook: Facebook, with their HUGE amounts of analytics, makes it difficult to count an accurate “here’s what people did” number. Their stats are more geared towards weekly trend reports, and not so much for reporting monthly numbers. But never fear – it can be done!

Here’s what I do (if there’s a better way to do it, please let me know!) – download the Excel version of Facebook Insights for the month. (As an aside, do this anyway and check out all the data Facebook provides. There is a TON of it). I use the stat for Daily Page Engaged Users, and just add up the daily numbers for the month. Daily Page Engaged Users reports “The number of people who engaged with your Page. Engagement includes any click or story created. (Unique Users)”. For May, we had 5478 people who engaged in some way with our Facebook Page.

Twitter: For Twitter, I get my number by downloading the monthly excel version of stats for Twitter, and then counting a bunch of activity and engagement columns, including:

  • retweets
  • replies
  • favorites
  • user profile clicks
  • URL clicks
  • hashtag clicks
  • detail expands
  • permalink clicks
  • embedded media clicks
  • app opens
  • app install attempts
  • follows
  • email tweet

831 for May total.

Youtube: No spreadsheet needed here (though you could download one if you wanted to!). Youtube’s analytics provides a handy month filter, and an engagement section on the main page of analytics. So I add up the Likes, Comments, Shares, and Favorites for the month. I also include the number of views. Pretty important for a video service!

So for May, we had 67 total engagement (favorites, comments, likes, and shares) and 12,565 views.

Pinterest: Excel spreadsheet time again. We count Repins and Clicks. So for May, we had 212 repins and clicks in Pinterest.

Then, like all the other stats, I schmush those number together to come up with Total Engagement for the month. For May, our total engagement was 19,153. That’s a lot of people doing a lot of stuff!

Button pic by Quinn Dombrowski

Analytics for Social Media – Audience Metrics

In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. We’ve already discussed Activity Metrics. Today we’ll cover Audience Metrics.

This is also an easy one! We monitor some really basic trends in audience growth by counting how many followers we have each month.

Again, this is an easy one to count. Simply go to each channel’s main page at the first of the month, and write down how many followers you have.

Then I do some simple math to figure out how many new followers we gained across all our social media channels.

So for example – in May, we had:

  • Facebook – 12,429 followers
  • Twitter – 4338 followers
  • Youtube – 384 subscribers
  • Pinterest – 1704 followers – on our main account page. Pinterest is weird, since they have followers for the whole Pinterest account, and followers for each individual board. We are only counting followers to the main page.

Then I look at last month’s numbers, do some more addition, and … we gained 130 social media followers in May.

Why track this?

  1. It shows growth over time. Not a bad thing. Sorta like a door count or basic use stats.
  2. It shows trends. If there’s a lot of growth, or a big drop-off, that’s a signal to find out more.

Are there other types of Audience Metrics that you track? Please share!

Image by Marc Cornelis

Analytics for Social Media

Ah, social media channels for organizations. Why are you spending time there again? Hopefully, you’re using social media to connect with your customers, to answer questions, and to just “be there” for your service area.

Do you know if your social media channel is successful? Are you meeting your library’s goals there?

These days, most social media channels have analytics or insights that will help you figure out if you’re meeting those goals.

But what should you track? My library tracks five areas: Activity Metrics, Engagement Metrics, Referral Metrics, Activity Metrics, and ROI.

In my next five posts, we’ll look at each of those.

Image by Search Engine People Blog

Forbes Wants to Close Libraries

I just read Close the Libraries and Buy Everyone An Amazon Kindle Unlimited Subscription, a Forbes article written by Tim Worstall. It’s a poorly-researched opinion piece about … well … what the title says. Getting rid of libraries and giving everyone a Kindle Unlimited subscription instead.

Yes, Forbes posted this. Thanks, Forbes!

Who is Tim Worstall? He’s a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, a UK-based think tank. Working at a think tank, you’d “think” that Tim would get his facts straight, or at least do a bit of research first… apparently  not the case, which makes me wonder about the quality of research done at the Adam Smith Institute. Tim also has a blog, where he apparently likes to cuss. Alot.

I left a comment on the Forbes article – here’s what I said:

Tim – you say that it’s “well known that only a small fraction of the population actually reads books at all.” Then you claim (but don’t cite) that only 8% of people buy more than one book a year.

Three things:

1. If you think no one reads, why would you want to shift tax payer dollars from a known, traditional institution (the local library) to a global corporation? That seems silly – you’re still paying tax dollars for something you don’t think anyone does.

2. I challenge your statistics. I’m not sure about UK stats, but I know American stats. According to Pew Research, in January 2014, 76% of American adults ages 18 and up read at least one book in the past year. So that trumps your “well known that only a small fraction of the population actually reads books at all” statement.

And the average number of books people read over the past year is 5. I do believe an average is larger than 8%, no?

3. The larger problem isn’t lending books though – you actually want to get RID of local libraries altogether. You say this – “Let’s just close down the lending libraries and buy every citizen an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription.”

That argument, for starters, could also be said this way: let’s buy everyone garden hoses. Then we could get rid of the local fire department! Brilliant, right? Wrong. Because the local fire department also has quite a lot of knowledge about what they do – they are professionals.

The same goes for your local library. Yes, they still lend books – both print AND ebooks. They also work really hard to buy the BEST books for your community (having access to 600,000 ebooks from Amazon doesn’t mean they’re all readable books).

And the library does a lot more than that.

So – you mentioned that you have a local library. Instead of someone providing a plane ticket for you [he suggested in the comments that someone buy him a plane ticket so he could visit their library], why don’t you simply get in your car and visit your own local library for starters, and see what they do?

At least when you write your next opinion article, you’d actually know something about libraries :-)

A couple of other things to point out from this very obviously uninformed article:

Tim says this – “The first being that paid subscriptions is exactly how lending libraries started out.” He mentions WH Smith as an example of a fee-based lending library.

WH Smith is a UK bookseller. They operated a circulating library service from 1860 to 1961, and even created ISBN numbers (who knew?) – got this from Wikipedia.

But Tim is missing a HUGE fact – libraries have been around for centuries, and … I know it’s hard to believe – weren’t actually created by good ole WH Smith. Again from Wikipedia – “The earliest reference to or use of the term “lending library” yet located in English correspondence dates from ca. 1586…” Most of those have NOT been subscription-based libraries.

Tim also says this: “ the stock of books available [from the Amazon Kindle thingie] is far larger than any physical library (other than copyright depositaries like the British Museum) has available to readers. 600,000 titles is, at a guess, some 550,000 greater than the library system of my native Bath and North East Somerset purchases with its share of my council tax (that is a guess by the way).”

Again, quite wrong. First of all, my library has 450,000 titles – already coming close to that number that Tim thinks is unreachable by all but the British Museum (I think he really meant the British Library).

The larger issue with the Kindle service is this – just because Amazon’s Kindle service is offering 600,000 ebooks doesn’t mean they’re all actually GOOD books.

Amazon’s service focuses heavily on classics, some popular series, and their self-published ebooks. Read more about it at the Washington Post.

Most libraries are much more choosy than that, and work really hard to buy the best books, and the books our customers actually want to read. Unlike Amazon.

So there you have it! Go read the article and see what you think!