Web Analytics and Social Media in 2009

I ran across an interesting blog article at Social Media Today titled “7 Social Media and Web Analytics Predictions for 2009“. I’d like to take a look back at 2009 and see if they got them right or not.

Prediction 1: Continued Growth of Social Networking Via Facebook Connect

Facebook connect certainly has had continued growth throughout 2009 and into 2010. I’m starting to see it on a lot of sites that I use regularly. It’s a great feature – to be able to log in using Facebook to sites like CNN if you want to leave a comment on an article, without having to fill out a bunch of profile information and register first. Brilliant! This is one trend I am glad is on the rise.

Prediction 2: Massive investment in the Information Super Highway as part of Obama’s Economic Stimulus package.

Well, we all know by now that the promises for that stimulus package have left all of us wanting, even those of us on the good old “Information Super Highway” (who uses that term anymore anyway, besides Al Gore?). Well as us Cubs Fan’s love to say “just wait til next year!”. *grin*

Prediction 3: Newspapers massively move to content creation and subcontract printing presses in 2009

Print newspapers are certainly dying a rapid, and not completely unexpected, death. 105 newspapers closed their doors in 2009, which equated to about 10,000 newspaper jobs lost (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-death-of-the-american-newspaper-2009-7). However there did not seem to be a lot of newspapers subcontracting out their printing presses. Probably with so many closing their doors, folks interested in those printing presses are able to buy them fairly cheaply at auction?

Those newspaper companies that are still in business have an online presence. In order to survive they will have to move most, if not all, of their operations online. This will require an increase in web analytics for such companies if they are to remain competitive with news sites that have transitioned to the web earlier in the game. In the long-run this is good news for Web Analysts as this will open up increased job opportunities.

Prediction 4: Facebook’s SocialRank algorithms emerge to drive the open social web.

While the concept of the SocialRank algorithm (from Facebook or any other source) sounds pretty cool, I do not believe it has yet to emerge to drive the open social web. According to Charlene Li:

“… In much the same way that Google has PageRank to understand the relevancy of Web pages to your search, Facebook will debut a “SocialRank” algorithm which determines which of your friends are most relevant and important to the task at hand.”

Perhaps in 2010 this prediction may yet come to fruition.

Prediction 5: Web Analytics is going to remain status-quo in 2009

With the economy as it has been this comes as no surprise. However companies are beginning to realize the value of having a web analyst on staff – so the trend in 2009 was to cut back on Web Analytics tools and instead shift their budget towards Web Analytics staff instead. So while the status-quo for spending remained flat, what the money was being spent on changed. Many companies switched to Google Analytics as a cost-savings measure and were then able to put their Analytics budgets into increased staff instead. This is a trend that will only continue as Google Analytics (and possibly other free or low-cost tools) continue to become more robust contenders.

Prediction 6: Better Metrics for Social Media begin to emerge in 2009.

This certainly was needed. Clients of mine in early 2009 were chomping at the bit for more analytics data from social media sources. Many vendors responded and there are ever-evolving ways to track social media through Google Analytics, Omniture, among others. There are also new companies emerging who specialize just in tracking social media – Twitter alone has spawned a glut of such services such as Twitalyzer, Twitter Grader, Klout, just to name a few. These services track everything from how many folks you follow, how many follow you back, and how much reach and influence your tweets have, among others.

Prediction 7: Social Media will earn an established place in Corporate Life by end of 2009

Definitely corporations are paying a lot more attention to social media these days. Also the more savvy companies are even using services like Twitter to provide free customer service (Omniture and Best Buy are two prime examples). Also the emergence of using Facebook to promote your business and provide updates and some customer support. In fact I was genuinely surprised that Google Analytics was one of the few analytics companies not properly represented on Facebook yet (all the rest have a very established presence).

Also companies are slowly embracing blogs from their employees – for good and for ill. Some companies, like Oracle, IBM and Omniture, have public blogs written by their employees. Increasingly a company’s web presence may be judged by the quality of their blogs, assuming they even have any at all.


All in all 5 predictions out of 7 coming to pass is not bad. It will be interesting to see where 2010 will lead us in both social media and web analytics.

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