These tracking tools help analyze your online marketing efforts

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Matt Kulseth with typewriter

Matt Kulseth likes the analytics of the online newsletter service MailChimp, which allows his firm to “engage heavy-hitting social media users on Twitter.” Photo by Christopher Bohnhoff.

Evaluating the return on your efforts in Web and social media marketing? Take heart: There are scores of analytical tools available that can precisely show you how well your online marketing campaigns are going.

In social media, newbies just getting started in analytics would do well to check out Hootsuite. A social media dashboard that allows you to manage all your posting and other activity on all the major social media networks, Hootsuite is also packed with several analytical tools that show you how well you're doing on social media.

"Hootsuite is a great place to start," says Brendan Chard, president of the Modern Firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a Web design company that specializes in sites for lawyers.

Essentially, if you can imagine an analytics report—virtually any kind of analytics report—Hootsuite can most likely come up with the insights you're looking for, according to Diana Chow, corporate communications coordinator at Hootsuite in Vancouver, Canada.

Moreover, given that entry-level use of Hootsuite is free, it's a great package to cut your teeth on. "Most small firms will be completely satisfied with Hootsuite's free plan," Chard says.

Even so, once you're comfortable using Hootsuite, you may want to add some additional social analytics tools to your arsenal to ensure you're getting the deepest look at what's going on with your social media marketing.

In the process, you may also be able to save some serious coin, according to Ian Anderson Gray, a U.K.-based social media consultant and trainer who writes the Seriously Social blog.

Gray says Hootsuite analytics can get very expensive for small law firms if you're looking to go beyond the three basic reports the online service offers free. He says that, within Hootsuite, he'd opt for the Twitter Engagement Report, Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Page Insights and Google Analytics.

"The advantage of Hootsuite reports is that if you are solely using Hootsuite to manage your social channels, then you can have all your reports in the same place," Gray says. "However, some of the reports are fairly basic. In my opinion, you'll get more powerful and helpful reports by using third-party tools."

Third-party providers Gray recommends include SumAll, Twtrland, Communit and Brandwatch.

Trademark lawyer Matt Kulseth, founder of the Mighty Marks law firm in Minneapolis, also likes the social media analytics of MailChimp, an online newsletter service. "MailChimp lets me see who's engaging the news-letter content as well as the individual's social media influence. If warranted, my trademark firm can then engage heavy-hitting social media users on Twitter."

Other social media analytics to check out are Tweetdeck (by Twitter), Mention, LeadSift and Buffer.


Meanwhile, for analytics that monitor activity on your website, the free Google Analytics is a good first choice. Like Hootsuite for social media, Google Analytics is an industry standard that law firms can learn and then use as a benchmark to evaluate similar tools.

In contrast, larger law firms (with deeper pockets) looking to get much more sophisticated analytics can go for the premium version of Google Analytics, which one reseller prices as starting at $150,000 a year.

According to a report released earlier this year by market research firm Forrester, top Web analytics packages for the enterprise are made by Adobe, AT Internet, IBM and Webtrends.

The take on those packages from James McCormick, lead author of The Forrester Wave: Web Analytics, Q2 2014: "Adobe dominates the market with the largest number of enterprise Web analytics clients."

Also, IBM has beefed up the Coremetrics software it acquired by enhancing the package's behavioral analytics and mobile analytics capabilities, among other things.

This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of the ABA Journal with this headline: "Tracking Tools: These services help analyze your online efforts."
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