Social Scanner: Analytics are the next step for young social networks

Plus a look into the collateral damage in Facebook's click-bait crackdown and why brands should think before jumping on Snapchat

For a young social network, it’s not enough to introduce ads and hope marketers will show up, cash in hand.

Metrics are the key to the marketer’s heart, which is why both Pinterest and Instagram have beefed up their analytics offerings in the past week. The two networks are by no means new, but they’ve yet to get to the stage of, say, Facebook (Instagram’s parent company), which has a robust ad offering and an evolving suite of a marketer-pleasing metrics with enough proof points to get brands to lay down big dollars.

Adding more metrics is the next logical step for Pinterest and Instagram, as it is for any similar network on the up (or one looking to validate a massive valuation). Twitter has likewise added a suite of new analytics tools, including analytics for organic tweets last month, providing a glimpse down the path Pinterest and Instagram are likely headed.

Like Twitter, Instagram now offers metrics for organic posts as well as its ad units. The offering debuted in the U.S. last fall and is now rolling out to other markets, including Canada. Instagram’s update, currently being tested with a group of its core advertisers such as a Taco Bell and Levi’s, gives marketers a breakdown of who’s interacting with their posts by age and gender. The update also includes a staging area that shows brands what their ads will look like on mobile.

Pinterest’s new offering, announced Tuesday, is a welcome update to the less sophisticated, traffic-driven stats it offered marketers with the first analytics tool it launched back in March 2013. The new tool has already been beta tested with a group of advertisers and is now available to anyone who signs up for a business account.

For the time being, Pinterest’s metrics are focused on its organic posts rather than its promoted pin ad unit. Using the tool, marketers can get information about the consumers who interact with their pins, such as their interests on the site and the country they live in.

According to the company, the new stats are geared towards small and medium sized businesses.

To snap or not to snap?

Almost every week there’s a new study that shows just how popular Snapchat has become amongst young consumers. The latest? According to Sumpto, 70% of college students in the U.S. post to Snapchat daily, compared to 46% on Twitter and just 11% on Facebook. But is it a good platform for brands? Adam Kleinberg, CEO of the digital agency Traction, concludes the answer is a resounding no in his column for Advertising Age. The trouble for established advertisers, Kleinberg said, is being associated with some of the less upstanding marketers that have gravitated to Snapchat so far.

Among the low-brow entries: penis enlarger pills and fake Rolex sellers. You are the company you keep, and as Kleinberg makes clear, many advertisers won’t want to keep company with the type of advertiser currently filling Snapchat’s coffers. “If you are advertising Gorditas to stoners (or giant wind turbines to multinational corporations?), perhaps placing your brand in this crowd makes perfect sense. To the rest of us, not so much,” he writes.

Facebook click-bait crackdown will have collateral damage

Facebook is in a full-on war with click-bait. The social network is cracking down on publishers who’s stories don’t live up to their headlines, altering its algorithm to punish publisher accounts that post stories consumers exit soon after clicking. But as Digiday points out, those publishers won’t be the only ones penalized. Take Atlantic Media’s Quartz or the popular satire news site The Onion as an example. Both regularly publish short stories that span just 200 or 300 words. While consumers may click on those links and read the story to the end, the time spent could look suspicious, leading Facebook to unjustly punish them.

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The Numbers

Privacy on social networks is a chief concern amongst consumers, at least in the U.S., where Harris Interactive and WP Engine recently conducted a poll on privacy concerns. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the report.

66

Percentage of consumers who said they are concerned about privacy on social networks like Facebook.

55

Percentage of consumers who said they are concerned about privacy on email.

30

The relatively low, by comparison, percentage of consumers who said they are concerned about privacy on mobile apps.

57

Percentage of consumers who said they have “little to no” trust in social networks like Facebook and Twitter in another recent study by Rad Campaign.

1

Percentage of consumers 55 to 64 who said they trust social networks in Rad Campaign’s study.

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