Archive for April, 2009

As we’ve said before, we see chartbeat as a great complement to Google Analytics, combining our real-time capabilities with their analysis of the archive. To celebrate Google Analytics opening their API to the public we’d like to announce the chartbeat mashup contest!

The rules are simple: use the chartbeat and Google Analytics APIs to do something interesting, useful, unique.

Every legitimate entry to the competition gets chartbeat shwag in the form of a chartbeat t-shirt.  And for the best of the best, we have something even better:

  • First prize: an Amazon Kindle and the chance to pitch to and get business feedback from John Borthwick, founder of Betaworks.
  • Two runner up prizes: a Flip Mino HD

The contest runs from now until 11:59pm on Friday, 22 May Friday, 26 June and the submission process is dead simple.  Just post a comment to this blog entry containing a succinct description, and a link to the code or project home page.

Here are the chartbeat API docs and here are the Google API docs. Get mashing!

Since chartbeat launched, we’ve had some great press and a lot of people comparing us favourably to other analytics services out there, including the 800 pound gorilla that is Google Analytics. People seem to like the work we’ve done on the UI to make things easy to understand and, of course, they love not having to wait for hours or a full day to see what’s going on. We see chartbeat very much as a complement rather than a competitor to Google Analytics measuring very different things and both of great value in their own right.

The difference between Google Analytics and Chartbeat is in some ways similar to the difference between Google Search and Twitter Search. Google Search is unparalleled at searching the archive and can deliver huge amounts of relevant information. What it can’t do and what Twitter Search is so good at is searching the now. When a plane lands in the Hudson or Mumbai suffers a terrorist attack, Twitter search is far more useful than Google search.

In the same way, Google Analytics is superb at helping you analyze the archive. You can follow how well your conversion funnels are performing and create a wealth of data that is useful over the long term. Chartbeat, in contrast, enables you to react and respond to the now. If a flood of visitors suddenly hit your site, your servers go offline, or suddenly everyone on Twitter is talking about you or your site, running chartbeat under the hood means you can react and respond immediately. To put it another way, Google Analytics can analyze the optimum placement for fire hydrants and the best path for the fire engine, chartbeat can tell you your house is on fire.

When the rest of the world is working and reacting in real-time, it’s dangerous for companies and publishers, to be working with a 24 hour delay. It’s the difference between taking control of a story and falling victim to it, between losing a couple of customers due to server downtime and losing a thousand. Combining chartbeat’s real-time responsiveness with Google’s analytics of the archive creates a powerful tool that can keep you ahead of the game.

Today Google Analytics publicly launched their api. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities for developers to bring together the chartbeat api and Google Analytics api in any number of interesting mashups. You can find the Google Analytics api documentation here and the chartbeat api documentation here. We’d love to see what you can come up with!

Videosift, a very cool online video community with a digg-style social recommendation engine has chartbeat beating underneath the hood of their site now. They’ve kindly decided to open up and share their chartbeat stats and you can see how people are interacting with the site here. (update: they removed public viewing for now)

They blogged about how they are finding chartbeat and there’s a pretty healthy comments thread too.

Start-up veteran Andrew Hyde of Techstars took the time to record a webcast about Chartbeat, and does a great job of showcasing some of our favourite features. Take a look!

[vimeo ]

If you’ve had a chance to play around with Chartbeat, you’ll have found that it is more than the heartbeat of your site. Beyond the ability to see how many people are on your site in real-time and get event alerts, another great feature is the Twitter History tool on the Historical tab. This tool enables you to get a graphical sense of how much of an impact the search terms you set have had on twitter over the past day, week or month. You can see how the twittersphere responds when Techcrunch reviews your site or you launch a new product or service.

While, the most common terms that our users track are search terms around themselves, their products or their website, this tool becomes even more useful when you realize you can also use it to track competitors. For example, when news of the Techcrunch tablet leaked today, I began to track it using Chartbeat. This graph shows how the twittersphere responded to the news over the course of the morning:

techcrunch tablet

From there you can zoom in on specific times of interest like that initial morning bump:

Techcrunch tablet zoom

Another valuable way to use the Twitter History tool is to track and compare your site against your competitors. You can track up to five search terms and see your twitter impact compared to competitors. This graph snapshot shows tweets mentioning Mashable vs. tweets mentioning Techcrunch between 9am and 12pm today:

Mashable vs Techcrunch

When you start to map this data over a week or month, you can start to get extremely useful feedback on just how effective your marketing is, benchmarked against your competitors. What’s more, you can watch the reaction in real-time as you manipulate your messaging. So, experiment with the Twitter History tool and if you come up with other creative ways to use it, we’d love to hear from you!