Skip to content

A Critique of Five Campaign Monitoring and Measuring Tools

June 19, 2011

This paper will examine five online tools for monitoring and measuring campaigns. The paper will test out TweetStats, Social Mention, Hashtags, WeFollow, Friend or Follow to see how they function as a campaign measurement.

First, the paper will review how TweetStats works. Users can enter their Twitter username on TweetStats and get graphs about this Twitter account. The site not only gives users basic stats, which include how many times this Twitter account tweets per hour or per month, tweet timeline and reply statistics, but also features two other useful functions: Tweet Cloud and Follower Stats. Tweet Cloud allows users to check the words they use frequently in the tweets and search tweets for these popular words. Followers Stats helps users to track their follower count over time.

The well formatted colored charts provide by the site are not only easy to read but also very informative. The graphs cover basic information such as tweet timeline, tweet density, aggregate daily/hourly tweets, interface used, the users this account retweets/replies the most and so on, making it very easy to tell the long-term trends. Especially, users can even trace back to examine their entire history on Twitter. They can clearly see their tweeting patterns, and therefore they can modify the concentration of their tweets to better spreading the word.

Additionally, Tweet Cloud is very helpful to examine the campaign keywords used by this account. This function can review how frequent the account talks about the campaign and even search specific tweets containing the keyword.

Overall, TweetStats is a great site for basic Twitter analytics. It provides users with nice visualization of one’s activities on Twitter. However, the tool only provides general basic information of the Twitter account and definitely needs improvement in areas like customizing statistics and deeply analyzing the data.

The second tool the paper will talk about is a more combined one called Social Mention, which provides service across more than 80 social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google, etc. Social Mention allows users to search for posts about the campaign on these social media platforms. Most importantly, the tool allows users to set up e-mail alerts for particular keywords and picks up information most other alerts may miss such as Facebook mentions.

The site provides keyword search in categories including blogs, microblogs, networks, news, images, and videos, etc. The results can be sorted by source or by date. Users can view the most recent results as well. They can see the actual comments, posts, tweets and videos, etc.

The most useful function of this tool comes with the search engine, which provides strength, sentiment, passion and reach – four dimensions to examine a campaign. According to the site, strength is “the likelihood that your brand is being discussed in social media.” Specifically, it’s the phrase mentioned in the past 24 hours divided by total possible mentions. This number tells how widely the campaign is reaching. Sentiment is “the ratio of mentions that are generally positive to those that are generally negative.” The sentiment function would be very helpful because it categorizes the words into positive, neutral and negative. So it’s very easy to tell if the campaign topic is welcome. Passion is “a measure of the likelihood that individuals talking about your brand will do so repeatedly.” For instance, some people who always talk about the campaign will give the campaigner a higher passion score. Reach is “a measure of the range of influence.” In other words, it is the number of unique authors referencing the campaign divided by the total number of mentions.

Overall, Social Mention should be a great tool for monitoring and measuring campaigns because it provides detailed information of any given keyword on all major social media. The only setback of the tool is it takes a long time to get the search results.

Another tool this paper would like to discuss is Hashtags.org, which doesn’t seem very useful in monitoring and measuring campaigns.

A hashtag is used to mark a keyword or topic in tweets on Twitter. Hashtag,org’s front page provides popular hashtags from business, celebrity, education, environment/justice, social change and TV entertainment seven categories. Users can enter a hashtag to see a detailed graph of trends in the past week and find out who tweets this particular hashtag and their specific tweets. Apparently, people who tweet the hashtag are also interested in that given topic, so it could be a good way to find the target audience and get the message across.

Users can enter the hashtag they created for certain campaigns to test out how well the campaign is doing. From the graph showing trends in Twitter, people can see when the hashtag reaches its peak time during the past seven days. However, the chart is quite hard to read and easily confuses people. Also, this information is not very useful because it’s hard to see any long-term trends by looking at data from such a short period of time.

The paper will then evaluate a site called WeFollow, which serves as a Twitter user directory with various categories including celebrity, music, social media, entrepreneur, news, blogger, tech and TV. WeFollow provides ranks in each category, which can be viewed by “most followers” and “most influential.” But it’s unclear how the site actually ranks “most influential.” It also gives information such as top tags, top Twitter users and top cities based on Twitter follower count.

WeFollow is organized by interests, which allows people to connect with other Twitter users in their area of interest and helps a campaign to find its target audience. Twitter users can tag themselves with several categories and other users can follow them based on their common interest.

One function that deserved more attention to monitor and measure campaigns is the top cities rank. If it’s a local campaign, campaigners can click the campaign city and target the users with most followers on the list. And hopefully these top users will interact in some way and therefore drive more attention to the campaign.

However, this site is not really built for monitoring and measuring campaigns. WeFollow is more for personal use such as finding like-minded people or discovering interesting Twitter users to follow. The site potentially can help attain some attention to a campaign but it goes beyond its ability to actually monitor and measure how the campaign is doing.

Lastly, the paper will discuss the functions provided by Friend or Follow to monitor and measure a campaign. Friend or Follow is an app that helps users to find out who they’re following that’s not following them back and who is following them that they don’t follow back.

Users can enter their Twitter usernames on Friend or Follow to see who are not following them back or who they don’t follow back. The app named three situations following, fans and friends. One’s following are who they follow, but the following don’t get followed back. One’s fans are who follow them but the fans don’t get followed back. Friends are mutually following each other. Users can even filter the results by username, name, location, follower, following, last tweet and account age.

Twitter only allows users to follow 2,000 other users. If users reach this limit, they need to wait till they have more followers before they can follow additional users. So the service provided by Friend or Follow helps campaigners to monitor whether their following become friends over time. If everything that tries to persuade the following to follow back has been done and still doesn’t work, the campaigner knows it’s time to unfollow those users and focus on other target audience by using Friend or Follow. Twitter users can enter their password on Friend or Follow and selectively unfollow the users that don’t follow back within this app instead of going to each profile individually. Additionally, this app also serves as a reminder for people to follow back the fans that they should follow.

All in all, Friend or Follow helps campaigners to reach the broadest target audience and get the campaign message across.

Readings 9

June 19, 2011

In “Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube & the Future of American Politics,” Morley Winograd and Michael Hais mainly talk about the impact of the new generation of voters on American politics, detailing “why” and “how” the Millennial Generation (1983-2003) will change the politics and civic landscapes in the near future. Drawing from their own long experience in politics, Winograd and Hais combine the survey data and their keen observations to present this well-organized review of the political shift in this book.

Before delving deeply into the trends that will impact the future, Winograd and Hais first offer a specific look at the contours and causes of five previous political makeovers in “Millennial Makeover.” Then, the authors focus on how technology such as Facebook and YouTube and other factors could shape and change the dynamics of future politics. Winograd and Hais know exactly how different the Millennial Generation is from the baby boomers and they have done a great job in describing the shift in this well-written book.

Generally, the book is easy and interesting to read. The only drawback of the book I would say is the authors only standardized and simplified analysis of the older generations. In other words, it’s stereotypical images. Apparently, this point makes the book less convincing.

Readings 8

June 15, 2011

At first, Matt Bai’s “The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics” was like another foreign language to me. I know it’s just me, coming from a different cultural background with very limited knowledge in politics. I’ve learned a lot in related fields over the course of my graduate study but not until reading “The Argument,” which vividly presents the behind-the-scenes stories, gives me a better understanding in politics or more precisely people who engage in politics.

Bai travelled with the billionaire activists and the founders of the netroots across the country for two years. Drawing on those incredible experiences, in the book he gives tons of insider details of Democratic Party that ordinary people wouldn’t have access to. “The Argument” begins with some Democrat failures and then takes an insightful look at the progressive movements inside the party.

For me, the book provides a mini modern history of the Democratic Party and has a special focus on the transitional phrase the party has been through. It’s a fun read and looks quite fresh to me. But as a person with limited knowledge and interest in both parties, I feel like propaganda is everywhere when reading the book. I haven’t really read any nonfiction politics books like this before, so maybe it’s quite normal since it’s from an opinioned writer who has a clear bias.

All in all, “The Argument” provides a comprehensive picture of the Democratic Party in transition and discusses the potential future they should head on. I don’t really think it’s a book for everyone but definitely would inspire people from all walks of life and background in some way.

Readings 7

June 13, 2011

Ari Melber’s special report “Year One of Organizing for America: The Permanent Field Campaign in a Digital Age” talks about the grassroots network during the Obama presidential campaign in 2008. Drawing on new interviews with dozens of both parties’ congressional staff, former Obama campaign staff, and activists from Organizing for American (OFA), the report gives a comprehensive review of this unprecedented grassroots campaign.

The report first reviews the activities OFA did in 2009 and provides more contexts with interviews with congressional members, campaign staff and volunteers. Then Melber provides a detailed analysis of OFA and takes a look at its new organizing model.

Ben Rigby’s “Mobilizing Generation 2.0: A Practical Guide to Using Web 2.0: Technologies to Recruit, Organize and Engage Youth” is a practical guide of Web 2.0 technologies, telling people how to integrate social media tools into their organization’s outreach, marketing, and fundraising plans. In this book, Rigby provides very useful advice for people who want to reach a younger and tech savvy generation via Web 2.0 tools.

Rigby explains the definition of Web 2.0 technologies in the Introduction part of the book. He said “the term refers to a group of popular technologies that survived the dot-com bust, so-called 2.0 because they pick up from the previous generation of technologies invented during the last wave of Internet innovation.” This book discusses these new technologies including blogs, social networks, video and photo sharing, mobile phones, Wikis, maps and virtual worlds.

The book is informative and well-structured. Each chapter talks about one technology, beginning with a brief introduction of this tool and how it should be used to raise awareness, do fundraising and communicate effectively. After each chapter, there are two “big pictures” essays written by other authors offering useful real world case studies.

Rigby aims at getting people started to take advantage of these new technologies in their organizations or during campaigns. So the book offers strategic considerations and possible challenges at the end of each chapter, which is very helpful and accessible for any beginners in this area.

Views on Some 2012 Presidential Candidates’ Web Sites

June 8, 2011

Obama’s site is like a blog and updates quite frequently. I feel like the site doesn’t want to give people an “official” feeling and tries hard to look more “grassroots.” Overall the site is very user friendly and social media friendly. There are four buttons above each post, which allow you to easily share this through e-mail and social media and make comment below the post. Additionally, I notice his site is probably the only one that doesn’t have his big image on it.

Ron Paul’s site is way more complicated. The site has too much going on, so it’s easily get distracted  and then lost interest. The good thing is there are tons of videos on the site and they can depend on people click on one of those before they close the page.

For Herman Cain’s site, there’s one thing bothers me. I don’t know if it’s his campaign strategy, the site only posts images of his supporters who are of Caucasian origin.

Tim Pawlenty’s video we watched in class is no longer the first thing appeared on his site. And now when you click the big images, they will link to videos which contain text on the side to add more context. There are both his latest Twitter feed and his blog post on the front page, which are missed on most sites.

Readings 6

June 8, 2011

Prof. Rosenblatt’s “Measuring the Impact of Your Social Media Program” mainly talks about how to measure the potential social media reach for advocacy. He first explains “reach” is about the audience size and how many people can actually see the message. So the simplest metric number is how many people see the advocacy message. But not many people will click the links contained within the message, so the posts should contain the key message points. Though it’s hard to get the exact number that how many people saw the ads, Rosenblatt thinks it’s very important to understand the exposure of the running ads to the audience. The most direct measurement is the number of friends, fans or followers on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. And you can use varies tools for detailed analysis of these supporters.

This article also talks about how to increase the potential audience. Specifically, frequent use of popular hashtag on Twitter can largely increase the audience size.

Another good measurement of reach is the number of Twitter impressions when you’re promoting a link. With the help of BackType.com, you will know how many times this link actually appears on someone’s screen, which betters understanding the real impact.

Lastly, the article talks about how to analyze the Twitter follower via sites like Tweetake.comTweetbackup.com and MyTweeple.com.

Rosenblatt’s another article “Rules of Social Media Engagement” discusses two other aspects of social media’s influence: engagement and driving web traffic home.

First, engagement’s measurement includes sharing your message and recommending you or your message on Twitter and Facebook.

Second, measurement of driving web traffic home is how many people click through to your Web site from Facebook and Twitter. With the help of link shorten tools, you can collect reasonably close data and use them for comparison. In addition, Rosenblatt recommends two sites Klout.com and Twitalyzer.com to measure your message’s influence on Twitter.

The article concludes that though all these tools are very useful to measure how well you’re doing on Twitter, a combined tool to stream all these metrics is very much in need.

Readings 5

June 5, 2011

There are many takeaways from Colin Delany’s “Learning from Obama: Lessons for Online Communicators in 2009 & Beyond.” The article details the structure and process of Obama’s online campaign and emphasizes the key is to “integrate online advocacy into every element of the campaign.”

One impressive thing of this unique campaign is that the Obama campaign managed to put people to work on their behalf by using technology. For one thing, Obama’s campaign carefully treated their supporter relationship and respected them. Just like the article says, “Fundamentally, Obama’s campaign looked upon supporters as a resource to be maintained with great care.” Obama’s staff gave many helpful in-person and online trainings so they can trust the volunteers to spread the campaign message. For the other, the campaign wisely used the Internet to make it work on a national scale. The volunteers can use the speeches, videos, photos and varies campaign materials provided online to spread the word in their communities, which is very persuasive since the message comes from their peers, friends and family. The most important thing is to combine these two aspects and make them work together for the campaign. Delany gives tons of credit to this practice. He puts it this way, “ANYONE could employ most of the technology the Obama campaign used, but very few online communicators have ever done so either as effectively or on such a scale.”

Delany’s another article “Candidates Can Use the Internet to Win in 2010” also talks about how to conduct a successful online campaign. He specifically discusses how online technology works for outreach, mobilization and fundraising.

Delany thinks online campaign at some level is just traditional campaign in digital form. However, the online tools do excel the traditional ones in many ways, and one of them is maintaining relationships with many people at once.

For outreach, the first piece of advice is to find the audience where they’re already gathered, which means Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and blogs as mentioned in the article.

For fundraising, Delany first talks about the benefits of online donation and how the smaller donations when they add up contribute a lot to Obama campaign in 2008. From Obama campaign’s experience, Delany suggests the donation process should be as easy as possible and the prominent “donate” button is absolutely necessary.