Analytical tools allow you to see who is accessing your online campaign. and how they are using it. Using a variety of free tools, you can track the dissemination of your campaign's message, follow public dialogue around your campaign issue and monitor the online behaviour of your targets, allies and opponents.
Before you start, ask:
- Do you have a unique, short and easy-to-remember slogan? This makes it easier to monitor how your message spreads.
- Can you set up RSS feeds on your website? This will enable supporters to keep up to date with your campaign by sending them a message whenever something new is posted.
- What actions by your supporters and allies are important for you to track?
- What else is important to monitor? For example, should you monitor buzz from the general public about your campaign or issue? Should you keep track of strong allies in order to connect them to one another?
- Is the information you need to track available online? If not, how can you find this information?
- How can you get the information you need about how many people visit your website without compromising their safety? IP addresses can reveal locations and other identifying information, should your logs be lost or seized.
What to track and analyse:
1. Your own campaign's message
Monitor how, where and when your message is mentioned by others:
- the mainstream and independent press
- non-governmental and community-based organisations
- anyone else who is discussing your message in a way that can be searched for online.
2. The issue your campaign aims to resolve
Track the broader evolution of the campaign issue. Good sources include those mentioned above, as well as:
- press statements
- announcements of public meetings
- meeting notes circulated on email lists
- informal discussions on social network sites.
3. Your targets, allies and opponents
Assess how these groups are responding to your campaign. Track their appearances in the press and at specific events, and follow their campaign messages and actions.
This enables you to
- offer relevant information or support to targets and allies
- rebut your opponents' arguments quickly and effectively.
Campaign Analytics in Action
1. Track your own message
The climate change campaign 350.org tracked comments responding to both their Facebook posts and their blog, and noticed that they received many more comments on Facebook. Facebook and other social network sites feature the option to email you whenever a comment is made on one of your posts. This way, you can track people's uptake and response to your message and make decisions about the value and effectiveness of using different online platforms and services.
The following online analytics tools can also help you measure how many people:
- download your campaign's logo
- post photos documenting a protest or action organised by your campaign
- share your promotional video on their blog, or
- send an email about your campaign to a friend or to policy-makers.
- Blip.tv video dashboard: The Blip.tv video dashboard allows you to automatically cross-post a video and track its activity on other video services such as YouTube, DailyMotion, or Vimeo, and to the micro-blogging site, Twitter. This dashboard can be used to ask for and aggregate responses to your campaign's video/s.
- Email alerts: Many social network sites allow you to receive emails notifying you when new people add you as a friend or contact, comment on your content, or send you a private message. If you dedicate an email account to these alerts, you can share them with others in your organisation, and avoid overloading your regular email account.
- AWStats/JAWStats: AWStats is a free and open source web traffic analytics tool, which can track how many people visit your website. JAWStats is a plug-in that runs with AWStats to generate more readable reports. This software must be installed on your own web server.
- ClickHeat: This is a free and open source web application that generates visual representations of where people click when visiting your website, so that you can see what parts of the page are most interesting, easy to read, or effective in getting your visitors to act.
2. Track the issue
People in Mumbai used Twitter to post live reports during the 2008 terrorist attacks. By searching Twitter for the word "#mumbai", other people - even those not in Mumbai - could track current news, organise responses to calls for help and connect people in Mumbai to one another.
The following tools can be used to track the issue online, keeping you up-to-date with developments so that you can respond to them if necessary:
- Google Alerts: Helps you search for coverage of an issue, in digitised print media as well as in online-only media and blog posts. By signing up for alerts via email or RSS feed, you can get updates as they appear.
- RSS Readers (such as Netvibes, Feedly or Reeder): Allow you to subscribe to any syndicated (RSS) content published on websites (such as blog posts, podcasts or videos) and see it as soon as it is posted.
- Twitter: Allows you to monitor what people are saying about your issue on Twitter, by using keyword searches or mentions of the campaign's Twitter username. You can track replies to your messages, and track keyword searches by hashtag (#), which makes relevant posts easier to find.
- HootSuite: This has built-in analytical tools to track how many people quote, or reply to, your Twitter posts.
3. Track your targets, allies and opponents
For a global day of action to end violence against sex workers, rights groups needed to track responses in international media sources across multiple languages. With so many different media sources to track online, groups set up keyword search alerts in each language to track how many media outlets covered their day of action. One way this was done was by using Google Alerts. The following tools can help you track the online behaviour of your targets, allies and opponents:
RSS feeds (or other syndicated feeds):On many websites where content is user-generated, you can subscribe to the results of searches for particular keywords as syndicated feeds. For example, you can add a keyword-based search of video- and photo-sharing websites such as Flickr to your RSS reader, and automatically view new posts relating to those keywords. You can also follow the RSS feeds of your targets', allies' and opponents' websites.
TweetDeck: Use TweetDeck to keep track of the Twitter accounts you follow. Sort them into groups: eg allies, politicians and media.
- CiviCRM & SugarCRM: These are relationship management systems that allow you to track actions taken from your website or from an emailing; for example, if users or recipients send an email to a target, forward an email to a friend or sign a petition.
- Wordle: Allows you to generate 'word clouds' from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can use this tool to analyse the way an organisation represents an issue, by creating a word cloud from their press releases, speeches, reports or websites.
Source: 10 Tactics