BackType Analytics Update – analyzing Social Impact

I was reading comments on Krugman’s The Third Depression yesterday (which has gotten a lot of attention as he used the “D” word to describe the world economy) and wondered if the OP-ED could be analyzed – remembered that BackType can look at specific URLs or websites and determine the recent conversations around them – but I haven’t found the BackType particularly useful because of it’s limited scope and time-frame.

As soon as I got to BackType, I noticed some changes which are moving in the right direction and now allows comparisons between up to three URLs ac cross more Social Media Channels (Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, MySpace – etc).

Going from the general to the specific – I compared The New York Times with The Huffington Post and then saw I could add The Wall Street Journal; initially I thought of my friends at Adaptive Semantics and the reality Huffington Post may be surpassing the New York Times in traffic, as I mentioned in a previous post.

I’m able to look at 6 months of trend data in a new visualization I don’t think they did not have before.   I also was able to add more URLs to my comparison by manipulating URL string in the browser address bar (not sure what the limit is).

There’s another report on Audience that wasn’t there before.

The chart above implies that the New York Times “community” of Twitter users actively shares more links with each other about the New York Times stories than users who go to the Huffington Post.

There’s also a link on the BackType site to sign up for a private beta account to test their new analytics platform – this looks promising.   I already had a regular account so I logged in and found what looked to be new measurements – if they were there before I didn’t notice it – in this case, shared links across several Social Media Channels related to my Twitter Account.

But what I really wanted to do is analyze the impact of Paul Krugman‘s article in comparison to other stories or articles going on at the same time or in a related time frame – this is more like a problem that you might want to solve in PR (not that I’m particularly tied to Public Relations – I’m not – it’s that I see opportunities and insights in any field I get involved in).

One application would be to look at all the OP-ED articles at New York Times over the last two days (there are other types of comparisons we could do, as well).

By far, Paul Krugman’s article is the most shared in Social Media channels of those published this weekend in the New York Times (across the channels being measured).

Clearly, BackType wasn’t designed to compare 6 articles – but you can jimmy rigg  more articles to the URL string, as I mentioned earlier (though the graph might get hard to read).

True, we don’t know what those numbers in the table above really mean and they are not tied yet to site analytics (or if there is a way to come up with a composite score by weighting – something that would fit the Digital Footprint Index I wrote about last year) – so we don’t know if the “Social Impact” translates into actual visitation and activity on page because we don’t that data available to work with (ie: The New York Times WebTrends or Omniture account access).

Still, what BackType does with comparing Social Impact of URLs across channels is something  Radian6, Sysomos and some of the other platforms for  “Social Monitoring” also offered – they have the data – they just are not designed to answer the same questions – but in this case, the questions should be answered.

I was not able to compare “audiences” across different URLs – apparently it only works for a single URL but I got something that is “priceless” in the summary tab (which you have to do in the individual URL level right now) – the estimated number of individuals who might have read or been influenced by Paul Krugman’s article, 2.2 million of the online audience – something no other platform I’ve seen offers – at least, not in this form and not at this granular page level – and this platform is free.

Also, the private beta claims to offer more “accurate” numbers past the 2.2 million estimated – will be looking forward to getting access to the beta.



Remember – I’m getting a estimated reach number on a individual page – not the website – the page or article itself.

I can see the lightbulbs going on in your heads now – as they are going on in mine – if I could do this with a few OP-EDs in the New York Times – why can’t the New York Times do this with all their online content – period?   My guess is, they could – but it might be extremely manual – though there is an API that BackType offers – and with some programming – I would think this would be an excellent area for Newspapers to get involved in, or Magazines, or PR Firms (chuckle).

Let’s turn the key one more time – what if we wanted to chart the effect of one story or online placement on another?    Suppose your putting a multi channel campaign and you want to see how your messages are influencing each other – or even, if there is any “lift” from one message to another?  I think BackType might be able to do something like that.  While I have personally worked on campaigns where this question comes up, the events (or URLs) are often separated by a week or two – I don’t have an example on hand to use that I can talk about so I’ll do something else by offering to show  Paul Krugman’s The Third Depression was discussed by his followers in other online publications.

In this case I took Krugman’s OP-ED and compared it with 4 others in my RSS feed that referenced his article today.

There was a little interplay between Ezra Klein’s article in the Washington Post and Paul Krugman’s OP-ED in the New York Times – but little else is showing – I’m pushing BackType to it’s limit graphics wise – so the urls cover the legend data.

You can get influencers for each URL (but not all of them, together) – and I won’t go into that here – this post is long enough – but lets’ just get the estimated reach numbers of each article – just to end this long post.

Ezra Klein – Does income inequality cause financial crises? This page reached a maximum of 33,737 people (estimate)

The Third Depression – TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime This page reached a maximum of 3,497 people (estimate)

Ezra Klein – Wonkbook: Robert Byrd dies; G-20: Prelude to Depression or wise turn from spending? This page reached a maximum of 31,036 people (estimate)

Op-Ed Columnist – The Third Depression – NYTimes.com This page reached a maximum of 2,235,646 people (estimate)

memeorandum: The Third Depression  —  Recessions are common; depressions are rare. (Paul Krugman/New York Times) This page reached a maximum of 5,695 people (estimate)

That’s about as much as I’m going to say – if you want a report that goes far beyond this – your going to have to have to hire me to produce it (btw, this page is going to be revamped soon – but you can reach me though it).

The weird thing about all of this is the free tools, in this case, BackType, is actually superior to any to the paid tools for this particular use case – that might not be true in 6 months – but it is true today – which shows just how volatile and changing online analytics and audience measurement is becoming, especially in Social Media.



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Web Journal – Weekend Developments – Cookie Values

A couple of things cropped up over the last day including a New U.S. Federal Policy on Web Measurement and Customization that I heard about from the Web Analytics Message Board on Yahoo!.

Yesterday, OMB announced new U.S. Government policies on “Web Measurement and Customization”, rescinding the long-standing prohibition on persistent cookies on Federal web sites.

That change should go a long way to help get actionable data from site analytics monitoring government websites.   The permission to go forward and retain cookie data is being balanced by privacy concerns

…. At the same time, OMB is acutely aware of, and sensitive to, the unique privacy questions raised by government uses of such technologies. Any such uses must not compromise or invade personal privacy. It is important to provide clear, firm, and unambiguous protection against any uses that would compromise or invade personal privacy.

Of course, that warning had to be in the letter.

Also, is anyone aware of what “Geo Fencing” is?  It turns out to be one of the “new things” that are cropping up quickly… according to Read Write Web in a post on Is Geofencing the Next Evolution for Location Apps? Location Labs Thinks So -

… To get an idea of how geofencing technology could improve on existing location-based applications, just look at the current popular apps. Apps like Foursquare and Gowalla could implement this infrastructure to allow users to automatically check-in when entering the geofence of a particular location.

foursquare_jun10.jpgI can’t even count the times I’ve been out and forgotten to check-in at various locations, robbing myself of precious Foursquare points. With geofencing, I could have been automatically checking in as I went from place-to-place, or perhaps a push notification would have reminded me after I was within the perimeter of the geofence for a certain amount of time.

Additionally, geofences could allow for a feature of location apps that Robert Scoble advocated for earlier this month. As Scoble points out, it is helpful to location app users if they can tell if their friends are still at a location, and determining how long users spend in businesses can have a significant impact of location-based marketing..

Also, here’s a study by Edison Research on who uses Social Networks – the result below is not surprising-

edison10 The Social Habit: Who Uses Social Media and How

Also, what’s this about Woman dropping out of IT?

A study by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, based in Boulder, Colorado, also finds that women are leaving computer careers in staggering numbers.

“Fifty-six percent of women in technology companies leave their organizations at the mid-level point, 10-20 years in their careers,” said Catherine Ashcraft, the senior research scientist who authored the report.

In 2008, women held only 25 percent of all professional IT-related jobs, down from 36 percent in 1991, according to the group’s report, “Women in IT: The Facts.”

The report shows about half the women who leave science, engineering and tech jobs continue to use their technology skills, either starting their own companies or finding positions in government or nonprofits. The others, however, say goodbye to their extensive training, taking non-tech jobs or leaving the work force completely.

Ashcraft said women are discouraged and leave for a wide range of blatant and subtle reasons.

In one case given in the article – moving to a new place changed everything (it got worse); I have heard of that before.

To end this post – Marketing Pilgrim talks about Cup of Joe: Those Who Can’t Blog, Make Infographics such a

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Appearing on Beer Diplomancy Program Monday night June 28th – 9PM EST

I’m in honored company being interviewed on Monday nights’ Beer Diplomacy which is hosted by Stuart Tracte.

I’ll be appearing with Cathy Brooks -so the conversation should be pretty interesting.   I’m not even sure if the show, which is taped live, can be listened to live – and I don’t have a website to direct you to – yet the guests who have appeared on Beer Diplomacy before have been pretty impressive.

Beer Diplomacy [EP31] Hot Is Recession Proof from Beer Diplomacy on Vimeo.

This episode was pretty recent (though I missed Miss Distructo) but I guess, not entirely, since I’m seeing her here, above.

I think I’m going to need a beer to be on this show – which everyone skypes into  – I’ll have where I’m going to be when I skype in – it won’t be a bar – but I’ll want the right venue in New York – anyone have any ideas?

So what are we going to be talking about?  Mostly the stories will be listed here on the main page.

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