There are plenty of social analytics tools, but the most full-featured ones are often too expensive (i.e., geared towards enterprise-level users) and the inexpensive ones usually offer limited functionality.
And then there’s Topsy Social Analytics, which was just launched this morning and immediately becomes one of the best free Twitter analytics tools I’ve seen. There are a number of ways to use it and, if you click that link to check it out, don’t be surprised if you spend the next hour there.
How Topsy Social Analytics Works
With Topsy Social Analytics, you can analyze domains, Twitter usernames, or keywords — and they can be compared over four timeframes: one day, a week, two weeks or a month. Each type of analysis returns different results. Compare three domains, for example, and Topsy analytics will chart the number of links it found to each. Type in three keywords (including names, as in the image at the beginning of this article) and Topsy shows how many times each was mentioned. And if you compare up to three Twitter usernames, Topsy shows how many replies/mentions each received.
Have a look at the three different types of comparisons:
Topsy says it’s only counting “mentions that matter,” which they define as tweets that have a link or have been retweeted and don’t come from “bots or spam sources.” There’s no additional info on that, at least not that I’ve been able to find so far.
Scroll down the page after any search comparison, and Topsy also shows the top links in the past 24 hours that are related to your comparison — along with several data points that measure the performance of each link, such as influence, “momentum,” “velocity” and “peak.”
Marketers will like this for competitive analysis: Put your domain and two competitors’ domains in the comparison tool and see which links on each site have been most popular. And, it’s a bit hard to see in the screenshot above, but there’s also a link to download the link data in CSV format.
All of this is free. Topsy says an “expanded analytics offering” is in the works for later this year; I’d expect that to be a paid tool, but Topsy’s announcement doesn’t say one way or another.
With OneRiot and others getting away from real-time/Twitter search, this kind of analytics tool falls increasingly on either Topsy or Twitter itself to provide. Topsy has put its first stake in the ground. Twitter also has its own analytics tool, but that’s currently only available to Twitter advertisers. There have been rumors that Twitter would also offer analytics to all users, but that hasn’t materialized yet.