Disclosure: Postrank is a sponsor of Social Media Explorer which pays to advertise in the right hand side bar space. I have written extensively about them before they became a sponsor and will continue to do so because they offer a service relevant to you. Their advertising here does not effect my editorial comments or recommendations about them (I’m free to criticize), but it’s safe to say I dig Postrank. Fair?

If you’re in charge of reporting how successful your website is and you’re still relying solely on Google Analytics, WebTrends or some other such tool, you’re under-reporting your success. I’ve offered up some explanation of this before, explaining that the new metric for Internet marketers is not how many people see your website, but how many see your content.

We now operate in a world of really simple syndication or RSS. Your site may have RSS feeds but it doesn’t have to in order to be syndicated. Using services like FeedYes you can effectively scrape new content off any website and create an RSS feed. I could be reading your content in my feed reader without you ever knowing it.

Because content is king and must be made ultimately portable for today’s online audience to consume it (audiences will consume content where they are … not where you are) website analytics becomes less definitive of a metric. We must now practice content metrics to quantify and understand how many people we reach and how effectively.

Postrank has recently expanded their services to help us draw better insights from the content metrics around our blogs, websites and more. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company started by giving us a plug-in for Google Reader and other feed readers that gave posts a 1-10 score based on how engaging they were compared to others on that blog, in that particular folder in your reader, etc. We had a way to say one post was better received than another.

Postrank Posts - Social Media Explorer

Click for a larger version.

Not too long ago, Postrank unveiled Postrank Analytics, a subscription service ($9 monthly, U.S.) which allows bloggers (or content producers of any sort, so long as your effort includes an RSS feed of your content) to judge how socially engaging their content is. The image here shows two recent Social Media Explorer posts with their 1-10 Postrank score in yellow. On the right side, you can see how many times the posts were Tweeted, discussed (comments), posted on FriendFeed, bookmarked on Delicious and more. While I’m not 100-percent sure how the engagement points are determined, it’s an algorithm that is consistent across everyone’s content. (You can learn more about their measure of “engagement” on the Postrank Blog.)

These numbers by themselves don’t mean much, but looking at them over time gives you trending information about how your content is doing. That is relevant in measuring and reporting the value of your efforts as a content producer, blogger, public relations professional or community manager. Postrank offers a Trends tab where you can view these numbers in convenient charts and graphs as well.

And to one-up themselves again, Postrank recently released Data Services which allows your developers to request Postrank API access. Your team can take the Postrank service and use it to develop your own custom reporting and dashboard platforms for your clients.

I’m dying to be able to afford a full-time developer to start wearing this API out, by the way.

The biggest reason to familiarize yourself with Postrank and its various services is they are the one service out there that is giving marketers, public relations folks and bloggers a deep, meaningful set of measures of online content. There are lots of blogs and websites that get hundreds of thousands of website visitors. You can go out and buy traffic if you want. There are dozens of blogs that get dozens of comments, but a lot of them are meaningless, “Great post!’ type entries. Postrank gives you a look at how impactful a given piece of content or website is, both within your site and across social channels. They also allow you to judge posts in comparison to one another on a given website or in comparison to other blogs in the same category.

Postrank is systematically organizing and prioritizing blogs and websites for us based on how engaging the content is. That’s pretty valuable.

Is Postrank the know-all and end-all to the measurement piece of social media? Heck no. But they’re offering a damn fine start. Please do check them out.

Have you used Postrank’s Feed Reader plugin to filter out the best posts? (Check it out here if you haven’t.) Are you an analytics subscriber? Jump in the comments and tell us how you’re using it or how it can get better.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog and signature Explore events. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://socialmediafish.com rogermbyrne

    OK I took the plunge and signed up, well I tried, eventually succeeded.

    1. If your blog is not already registered with postrank it will not let you sign up until that is done, taking you from a registration page to the postrank homepage to add your blog, why not add that ability after signup or into the signup itself?

    2. This is just for one url, one site, one twitter account?

    3. no export of reports?

    4. For me and my one site added it only pulled in posts from June 2009

    Interested to hear what you find actually of value Jason the traffic details are pulled from GA so nothing new, twitter retweets can be totalled from somewhere else, twitter follower #'s well thats easy.

    The Engagement score well what does it mean?

    Isn't it really just a list of blogs with some metrics ranking them for consumers rather than anything that is needed for Social Media monitoring?

    • jimmurphy_pr

      Hey Roger,

      Nice chatting with you – even if the 3G connection didn't always cooperate.

      1. We're working right now on supporting multiple feeds in a single login account. That's not rocket science what so ever but we opted to get the initial 1.0 release out quick and get the feedback cycle started.

      2. The issue of flow if your feed is not in the system is a pain for sure. that's really a user experience bug that we're also working to address shortly. We're tracking over a million feeds so its a bit of a game of roulette – +95% of the time we know the feed. But, if you fall into the 5% the experience is very sub optimal. Again, we'll address this shortly.

      3. Export of reports in an interesting idea. Thanks for the details in our chat. The notion of extracting data and charts so you can incorporate it into your reports is one we'll add to the backlog.

      4. For new feeds we only know what we find in the RSS feed. From that point on we'll track and add all the new posts, so analytics will be available for those going forward.

      As far as explaining what engagement is and how we calculate it, there is this explanation: http://blog.postrank.com/engagement-explained/

      As well we have a whitepaper that does into more detail:
      http://bit.ly/info/3z6CUq

      Hope all that helps. Bottom line? The 1.0 released 4 weeks ago is a starting point. We're very keen to get your feedback – whatever it is.

      Cheers,

      Jim Murphy
      PostRank

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  • http://constructingsocial.com Colin Browning

    Thanks so much for the heads up on this Jason. I had signed up for the free version earlier, but yesterday took the plunge and I am so glad I did.

    Roger makes some great points below and I am glad to see PostRank respond. If I could add one to the wish list:

    1. Integration with Google Website Optimizer! It would be incredible to see the granularity of data that optimizer provides with their overlay of analytics.
    2. Detail on pages in addition to posts. Some of us put a lot of care into the pages on our blog and it would be great to get this same sort of analysis on these.

    Thanks again Jason!

    -Colin

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for checking them out and signing up, Colin. I'm sure the
      Postrank folks will dig the suggestions. I totally agree on the
      pages … especially as more of us build out custom landing pages for
      projects and what-not. Good suggestion.

  • wilreynolds

    Jason, thanks for posting this. I looked at your screen caps, and had a hard time understanding the added value over the FREE option. What is it that makes this worth the 9 dollars per month that you weren't getting in the free option?

    • postrank

      Hi Wil,

      Technically, aside from the initial 30-day trial, there IS no free version of Analytics. So that's the first difference.

      You do get some metrics on postrank.com. Here's Jason's page, for example: http://www.postrank.com/feed/069971097b2008cad7…. There is more data and API access available in Analytics, plus the Google Analytics integration, and the convenience of getting it all in once place, reports, etc.

      For those for whom blogging is more of a hobby, or who don't need to interact with their audiences much, postrank.com and possibly separately accessing Google Analytics (and whatever else strikes their fancy) should probably be more than enough for them and they don't need to pay for a product or service. We want our customers to be folks to have more extensive needs, especially since , given their work and efforts, they can tell us exactly the kinds of things they need or want to discover and monitor.

      Of course, PostRank Analytics is a 1.0 product at the moment. In the month it's been out we've already done two releases of improvements and new features, and we're going to keep on enriching it as time goes on.

      Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to give me a holler – melanie@postrank.com.

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