Twitter’s simplicity has always been one of its biggest draws for users looking to network quickly and easily, but that feeling isn’t totally reciprocated by brands. The microblogging platform may have surpassed 100 million users this week, but the lack of reliable and comprehensive analytics data has made the platform less trusted and less useful than Facebook for brands looking to connect with potential customers. All that’s about to change though. Following last week’s adverts announcement, Twitter has this week revealed plans for the launch of Twitter Web Analytics. This is the first time the social network has launched its own, official analytics site (there are plenty of third party tools available) and on the Twitter development blog Christopher Golda has explained what exactly the tool will do.
He writes: “Today we’re announcing Twitter Web Analytics, a tool that helps website owners understand how much traffic they receive from Twitter and the effectiveness of Twitter integrations on their sites. Twitter Web Analytics was driven by the acquisition of BackType, which we announced in July. The product provides three key benefits: –
- Understand how much your website content is being shared across the Twitter network
- See the amount of traffic Twitter sends to your site
- Measure the effectiveness of your Tweet Button integration”
By the look of things, Twitter Analytics is nothing like as advanced as the equivalent service on Google and Facebook, but it’s certainly a much-needed improvement. Now brands not only have the means to promote themselves on the site, but also the tools to judge whether it’s a worthwhile investment. As with the paid promotions though, how much this impacts on user experience is an unknown element that could prove vital for the platform’s continued success.
Holy Keywords, Batman!
Staying with Twitter and the battle between comic book companies DC and Marvel took a turn for the digital this week when it was discovered that the former has paid for search terms relating to the latter. Last week, pop culture site Bleeding Cool noticed a curious phenomenon when searching Twitter for the keyword ‘Marvel’ – rather than producing Marvel-related tweets, the search brought up promoted tweets from DC’s @DCComics account linking to information on their newly relaunched line of comics. They changed tack when Twitter put a stop to this and instead of using Marvel’s name they used their characters, meaning American users (the campaign is IP-focused) who search for Spider-Man, X-Men, Thor and Iron Man will again find a DC tweet at the top of the results.
This is an intriguing and slightly dangerous move from DC. As Bleeding Cool points out, while not illegal, these actions can be challenged under copyright rulings, so if Marvel wanted to take action they could. From a digital perspective, it also shows the fallibility of paid advertising, the speed with which advertising platforms are willing to cover that fallibility, and the lengths to which some companies will go to get their message out there. The key question for DC is whether this harms their brand, and the answer is: not really. This is simply the latest act in a tit for tat battle that earlier in the summer saw Marvel offer bonuses to comic retailers in exchange for defaced DC issues. As long as no rules are broken, all is fair game. There is, after all, no such thing as bad publicity. Paid or otherwise.
Flash times for the iPad
These are hard times for Flash. Last year, Steve Jobs hit out at the software, banning its use on iOS devices and declaring it all but obsolete, a statement that’s been given added validity by the dawn of HTML5. There does appear to be a lifeline for the technology though as news has been announced that the company has worked out a way to get their content onto Apple’s products. The plan is to deliver Flash video content using’s Apple’s own iOS compatible formats. In the case of the iPad, for example, this will be Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming. Genuine Flash will still never be used on an Apple device and other content, such as Flash advertising and games, remain unsupported. However, this is a start for a company that seemed to be on the road to the scrapheap a few months ago.
My phone’s cooler than yours
As if DC and Marvel’s playground fights weren’t bad enough, now we’re getting it from people who really should know better. Martin Fichter, acting president of HTC America, has hit out at the iPhone by telling a conference in Seattle that the Apple product simply isn’t very cool. Speaking at the Mobile Future Forward event, Fichter revealed that he took an informal survey of students at his daughter’s college and found that the iPhone isn’t as popular among the youth as Apple would have us believe. “None of them has an iPhone,” Fichter said, “because they told me: ‘My dad has an iPhone.’ There’s an interesting thing that’s going on in the market. The iPhone becomes a little less cool than it was. They were carrying HTCs. They were carrying Samsungs. They were even carrying some Chinese manufacturer’s devices. Macbook Airs are cool. iPhones are not that cool anymore. We here are using iPhones, but our kids don’t find them that cool anymore.”
Big words indeed. Apple, time to start buying those HTC keywords.