Web companies that didn’t offer social analytics in the past are slowly figuring out that they need to offer some sort of value-driven data to their customers to convince them to pour more advertising dollars into the site. But not only that, they need to retain companies from jumping to the latest competitor as new web sites pop up daily.
A few weeks ago, Pinterest opened up its analytics data to businesses and Yelp is the latest company to offer new data-measuring tools for businesses. A number of other platforms are likely to follow suit, including Polyvore.
While companies don’t want to pour resources into building comprehensive analytics packages for customers, they are finding that they need to offer something to keep businesses engaged. Pinterest just recently released Web Analytics to help companies track how many people are pinning from their website. The tool also shows businesses who is seeing and clicking on their pins. It’s just enough to keep businesses actively using Pinterest and possibly bring in more ad dollars.
Aside from pulling in more advertising dollars, web sites also need to convince brands to not jump over to the latest, hottest site. Just look at Pinterest. It’s facing competition from a number of smaller niche players like Fancy, WeHeartIt and Wanelo. Apu Gupta, co-founder of Curalate, a marketing and analytics firm focused on visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, believes that companies like Pinterest and Yelp are facing an influx of competitors, so the need to offer social analytics becomes not just about advertising dollars, but proving their relevance.
“You need to have the analytics to monetize, but there’s incredible fragmentation in the social space- where there’s all of these platforms coming online, and you have to prove your relevance,” Gupta said. “That’s what it’s coming down to, and numbers are easiest way to prove that relevance.”
Yelp is the latest company offering a new tool in addition to their current analytics offered to Business Owner Accounts. “Business Owner Accounts already had a selection of analytics data available to business owners (like traffic to their Yelp listing), but the Revenue Estimator tool is a new edition,” Yelp said.
The new tool gives businesses a sense of how much money they are making from leads through Yelp, but more importantly, it may also help Yelp fight off growing competition from sites such as AroundMe and Foursquare (which offers API data that is used by 40,000 developers.)
But if companies actually want to use that data to analyze their brands, they will need additional help from third-party analytics companies such as Piqora, which works with Pinterest. CEO of Piqora, Sharad Verma, said that companies like Pinterest won’t likely offer a deeper level of detail with their analytics because it doesn’t make financial sense.
“The brands that we work with- they want us to be able to predict when a product might go out of stock based on how well it’s trending on Pinterest,” Verma said. “That’s a feature that’s helpful for retailers- that’s a feature that’s built on top of Pinterest data, but it doesn’t help Pinterest to build those type of features.”
Gupta also believes that sites like Pinterest and Instagram will only build analytics to the extent that it helps their businesses grow. “Most of the platforms have to build analytics that cater to some extent to the lowest common denominator- you can’t make it useful just to a small set of people, you have to make it useful to a very broad set of people,” Gupta said. “It’s very hard to be very broad and very deep as an analytics provider.”
So who’s next? Gupta believes that Polyvore is probably the next site to deliver some of its own data to customers. Polyvore is considered a “social style platform” that gives users the chance to actively engage in the fashion styles. It’s also facing increased competition from new and hip sites like Gilt, Fab.com, and Farfetch.
“My understanding is Polyvore has wanted to own their own analytics platform and they’ve maintained very close brand relationship, and they feel that the analytics is important to the reason why brands work with Polyvore.” Gupta said.