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Social Media and Analytics Becoming a Tangled Web

November 14, 2011–The social web is a battleground. While the world tweets and updates status and builds photo libraries, analytics firms are...

November 14, 2011–The social web is a battleground. While the world tweets and updates status and builds photo libraries, analytics firms are fighting over the best way to harness this information. With no clear king of the scene, it’s consistently one of the hottest spots for big data innovation and controversy that we come across. One bold social media move was recently discovered in a Gigaom story, “Kontagent Gets $14M to Keep Score on the Social Web.

The story was brief, focusing on Kontagent and its recent round of funding. However, one fascinating quote came out: “Kontagent makes a software platform called kSuite that lets companies track their performance across the social and mobile web. In simple terms, the company says it aims to provide ‘Google Analytics for the social web.’ Its customers currently include EA and Warner Brothers.”

With a big client list and big talk about overthrowing Google, we like Kontagent’s moxie. However, there’s one problem with this goal: Google Analytics is already the Google Analytics of the social web. According toLuna Metrics, “Google Analytics can track the actions of a social engaged user and begin to quantifying the relationship between their social actions and their behavior on your website.” In addition, the free analytic tool updates in real time making it a force to be reckoned with.  And a force we don’t see $14M overthrowing any time soon. But we wish the best to Kontagent and other challengers.

This small dust up reminded us of other social analytic tangles of recent years. Namely, over Twitter. While the microblogging giant offers its own analytic tools that helps customers “understand how much traffic they receive from Twitter and the effectiveness of Twitter integrations on their sites,” others also want a bite of the pie. Hootsuite, Twitter Counter and others provide simple tools for everyday Twitter data monitoring. While big name analytic firms like Microstrategy and Digital Reasoning can wield their understanding of unstructured data retention to provide a more personalized handle of the info.

Here, too, there is no clear winner. But it’s interesting. In other industries, this wouldn’t be a contest, but social media analytics is wide open for the social media providers and the analytic firms. If you are aiming to harness social data, the free tools from Twitter and Facebook and Google might be alluring, but we’d recommend paying for real analytic knowledge for maximum impact.

Patrick Roland

Image courtesy of Morguefile: