Zennie Weighing In On New Media And "Audience Engagement"



As the number of websites and blogs and video blogs grows, and the rate of increase of readers away from traditional media and to new media continues -- apparently unabated given the fact that the currently young population that gets 70 percent of its news online is only getting older -- there are more and more debates over the "value" of new media.

These discussions are generated by advertisers and marketers, understandably upset and vexed over this rather sudden traffic shift away from the properties they use to present ads to people. A large part of the problem that generates their concerns and questions is simply a lack of participation in new media; at a recent American Marketing Association convention, only five percent of the attendees at a conference session actually knew what Web 2.0 was. In other words, the best way to understand blogs and vlogs is to run blogs and vlogs -- it seems many advertiser and marketers do not.

But they do control considerable sums of money. And faced with the ever-growing prospect of spending that money on an ad that goes into a blog, they're asking questions about value -- and who can blame them. Yes, the questions are based on a certain lack of knoweldge, but to be rather frank (not Ze) they're not being assisted by the very operators of blogs and vlogs.

Very recently there was a rather interesting dust-up between Ze Frank and Rocketboom over traffic. Ze Frank points to results from the Alexa system, which I personally do not recomend using because it incorrectly measures the number of links to Sports Business Simulations, and therefore miscalculates our traffic and by a frightening amount. Alexa, it seems, can't really distinguish between one URL used to direct a person to another URL.

In SBS case, we have URLs that send people to specific pages within our site. Alexa has a massive problem with this. Alexa also can't combine traffic from various blogs we own that are in SBS branding and design but at different URLs. Frustrated with this massive problem, I searched for the perfect traffic tool and after a period I didn't think one existed. But after a chance encounter with someone who worked for AdBrite, at The Grove, a San Francisco Internet Cafe, I was directed to an onlne device called "Hitslink."

Hitslink is perfect. It allows SBS to not only combine our sites, but see where our traffic is coming from, where it goes from page to page, and what pages it exits from. I can see what links were used to get to our sites, navigation paths in the site, how long people stick around, and what pages they use to get out of the site. I can see specific visitors and what city they came from and what pages they've went to. I've even scared the heck out of some people I know by asking them why they were looking up information on, say, CalPac, on my blogsite! I've also been able to contact potential new users of our simulations and ask them about their needs.

I find Hitslink particularly useful for those SBS vlogs which contain a specific video. Our vlog "Kate On Sports" is designed by me and such that each video is a separate page in the vlog site. Thus, we can easy track not just video popularity, but who links to that specific video because they link to the page -- even far more than any YouTube or Blip.tv direct link.

So if you're looking for the perfect engagement masuring device, look no further than Hitslink, and forget Alexa.

In closing, I find the combination of Hitlink and the video view reports from Blip.tv and YouTube to be very effective. I can see what percentage of blog viewers are actually looking at the videos posted, as well as being able to count traffic "horizontally" -- accross video distribution platfors -- and "vertically" -- from video to video. (OK, I developed those terms for SBS. I had to as there was no vernacular to describe the various traffic origination directions. Problem solved.)
Try Hitslink; dump Alexa.
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1 comment :

  1. Anonymous4:33 PM

    quite interesting read. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did anyone hear that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.

    ReplyDelete


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