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Twitterific

Bit.ly, Real-Time Analytics & Twitter as a Traffic Referral

Over a year ago, I wrote about the need for analytics for the real-time web (and the potential business model surrounding it): "Twitter and Friendfeed: Understanding Referral Traffic; Arriving at a Business Model".

Since then, the real-time web has exploded (thank you Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc)... and the need for deep data, filtering and search has only become more glaring (a notion made very clear in Twitter's internal documents and memos).

I have also written about Bitly and the role it can play in this ecosystem. Recently, I have started using Bitly's sidebar and data more actively (Clicks, Referrers, Locations and retweets). I love it. It's a glimpse of: - what discussions and posts are active and engaging - where the traffic and discussion is beginning (email, IM and desktop clients like Twitterific are primary drivers) - where the discussion is occurring (for the most active topics, it is more off my site than on it... fascinating) - Twitter's ecosystem (in the below example, Twitter.com accounts for only 6.5% of the direct clicks)

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AdMob Nails Universal Mobile Advertising via the iPhone

Earlier in the week, I wrote about how AdMob, Google and Developers seem best poised to monetize iPhone Apps ...instead of Apple. Now AdMob is demonstrating that monetization can uniformly move beyond Applications and across all of the browsing / web-based utilities that the iPhone enables. AdMob has released a suite of iPhone specific real estate / ad units - and the interactivity is far better than the mobile text ads that are rendered through the Blackberry, sit across many sites and/or are used by Applications like Sports Tap (who uses Google). The question is how much rich inventory currently exists for these formats? Asking advertisers to produce a new 'standard' of creatives is always difficult and a potential bottleneck.

I love AdMob's approach: universally release the new ad units and showcase the formats in a simple, well presented video that coincides with MobileBeat 2008. I am excited about the innovations coming out of AdMob and companies like Twitterific and the New York Times who are creatively integrating ads into their popular iPhone applications.

Twitter & Friendfeed: Understanding Referral Traffic, Arriving at a Business Model

For consumers, the power of the distributed web is accessing and connecting content across one’s internet usage and social graph. For content owners, the power of the distributed web is precisely that: one’s content is distributed such that it attracts new readers and generates more traffic.

And as sites like Friendfeed and Twitter (and others) approach tipping points, they are becoming significant traffic drivers. And as sites like Twitter continue to open up via APIs and third-parties, that traffic itself is getting distributed (Twhirl, Twitterific, etc). My point in detailing this process is that social sites like FriendFeed, Twitter and Facebook are contributing very large percentages of referral traffic - with me, for instance, Friendfeed and Twitter are becoming two this blogs largest referrals; meanwhile, Facebook delivers very targeted, high volumes of traffic to beRecruited.

As this trend grows (*and it certainly will - the question is by how much*), it will become increasingly important to understand precisely where that traffic is coming from… which is currently very, very difficult. Aggregating traffic from Twitter is damn near impossible because it comes from so many sources and applications. Here is a small subset of traffic that has arrived at this blog via Twitter:

- Twitter badges on various blogs – which mark referrals as those blogs - Twitter.com (via different Twitter accounts / pages) - 3rd party apps (which represent a massive portion of Twitter’s usage): Twhirl, Twitterific, etc - Gtalk: which is marked as direct traffic - SMS-to-Mobile-Web: again, marked as direct traffic - Social / Status Feeds on sites like Facebook

Tough to keep straight.

Even tougher to understand what the true amount of traffic being delivered from these sites are. Consequently, it’s also tough (and near impossible) to understand the value of those sources and how much focus I should spend on acquiring traffic from those sources.

These questions are currently overlooked because the traffic levels are growing, but are still relatively small. But what happens when they represent 20% of your traffic? Those sorts of numbers have enabled an entire industry to exist around SEO.

So as I think about services I’d pay for - and as sites like Twitter think about business models - perhaps we’ve arrived at a start. I am not a believer that the two prominently discussed models will work (ads in streams and subscriptions). But, I would be willing to pay (and perhaps handsomely) for data around my account, users, content and traffic…. Because right now it’s a black box.