Human breakups are hard. Breakups with Twitter are harder.
In its first tweet and follow button redesign since 2011, Twitter is removing share count, a schism of service to small publishers that use the metric to measure the efficacy of their content. The social giant did explain itself, blaming the feature’s deletion on the volatility of data measure and storage.
“The ‘count API’ has never existed as part of our public, supported, and documented API endpoints; it was only intended for use by our own web widgets,” Twitter explained. So, what are industry leaders across the web reading from this decision?
On the podcast “This Old Marketing,” Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose of CMI connected the move to Twitter’s relatively recent acquisition of Gnip, a social data engine for a number of massive media entities. Question the validity of Twitter’s APIs all you want. But, one must also question whether it's fair play for the company to burden small publishers — many reliant on Twitter as a distribution channel — with a large bill for access to increasingly necessary information.
As marketing is predicated upon converting impressions to leads, what will we do now that measuring impressions just became more difficult?
We may not have complete control over our content’s distribution channels, but we can find comprehensive measurements where we’re natively posting. Twitter’s announcement is by no means a death knell for all publishers. Massive entities like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal won’t be affected by this news. Small publishers, however, are going to have to develop greater awareness of where they’re posting and why.
Naturally, our goal as marketers is to leverage our paid and owned spaces as the foremost places for our content’s consumption. But, we may be overlooking two premier publishing spaces and the analytical options they offer us: LinkedIn and Medium.
LinkedIn’s ascent to a professional publishing space has been a meteoric one (and not just because its readership is 380 million users strong and growing). The network is a leads magnet; an “after hours” space that lends itself to consumer openness and accessibility.
In May, LinkedIn rolled out an extensive set of analytics features for publishers on the network.
According to the site, “you can see a performance summary of views, likes, comments, and shares, and, scrolling further down the page, see which LinkedIn members have viewed, liked, commented, and shared — a great way to say thanks and to note who’s being generous with their love for your work.”
Furthermore, the network provides a demographic breakdown of the industries, geographic locations, and traffic sources of an article’s readership. This is gold — a potpourri of resources that few, if any, publishers can match.
And Medium might be close. Born in 2012, this publishing space has become the go-to spot for writers of all types and notorieties, from your next-door neighbor to your company’s CEO. Based on a complex algorithm that sifts through content and publishes only that with profundity, a click-through on Medium often carries more weight than one coming from other platforms.
The site’s analytics suite doesn’t disappoint, either. While not as extensive as LinkedIn’s, you can still find key metrics on your readership: views, reads, referral sourcing, and more. But, of all the suite’s features, its ability to estimate your content’s reading time provides the most utility for content creators. Comparing the successes of long- and short-form content has never been easier.
Altogether, others can gain from Twitter’s loss. While the company tries to monetize, savvy publishers will look elsewhere to distribute their content and marketing dollars. And, as the publishing world is ever-changing, there can be no doubt that other platforms will soon join the LinkedIns and Mediums of the world in offering comprehensive analytics packages. For now, it’s up to content marketers to craft the sort of work that drives engagement, seduces algorithms, and deserves measure.
When it comes to ideation, I love my 4th, 5th, and 6th thoughts. The first three are often contrived. Improvisational comedy is my art, Nelson Mandela is my hero, and Zooey Deschanel is my love.