Knowing how often the links you post on social media are clicked is needless to say an important metric to measure the effectiveness of your social media strategy. By measuring clickthroughs you get an understanding about how many people have really read your post and are interested in your product or content. It also shows which type of content drives more traffic, allowing you to analyze adapt and optimize your content.
One of the questions we often get asked is how KAWO tracks clicks and why there are discrepancies between KAWO’s click counts versus the number on Google Analytics or even the Weibo dashboard. To answer this question, let’s have a closer look on how these systems work.
GA works by adding a little piece of code to -usually- the bottom of your website code. Once the this piece of code is loaded by the visitor’s browser, the Google Analytics code will send information to Google’s servers about the visitors behaviour. There are multiple reasons why this way of tracking does not always work, especially in China.
With Google not being fully accessible in China, it’s not hard to imagine you’re not tracking every visit. The code won’t be able to load or the connection might be too slow or unstable to connect to Google’s servers, resulting in missing data. The code is also loaded after the whole site has loaded, which means that if some other element on the site takes long to load, the user might be long-gone before it was able to be tracked. Another reason is that there is an every growing list of popup blockers, script blockers and “do not track me” browser plugins and settings that will stop GA from working.
Furthermore, GA tracks ‘sessions’. A session “is a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. For example a single session can contain multiple screen or page views, events, social interactions, and e-commerce transactions.” as described by Google. One of the key takeaways from this description is “within a given time frame”. This means that if a visitor opens your link and visits your page multiple times within the timeframe, these multiple visits will only amount for one session.
Weibo ‘tracks’ differently. Whenever you post a link on Weibo, it is replaced by a Weibo short link. This link helps Weibo to track your links and will redirect to the link you added.
It’s difficult to find any direct answer on how Weibo measures clicks on links in your posted content. Questions related to this (or any other topic for that matter) on their technical forums are often met with the sound of buzzing crickets and tumbleweed drifting in the wind; no response. It is believed that Weibo tracks clicks by users only once. Which means that if one user clicks a link 10 times, even over a span of multiple days, it is still measured as one single click. The statistics on the Weibo dashboard are not real-time either. It will take some time for clicks to be visible on their back-end.
KAWO tracks clicks in a similar fashion to Weibo. Whenever you publish a link through KAWO, it is replaced by a KAWO short link which helps us track clicks and redirects back to your link. To KAWO, 1 click means 1 click. If a single user decides to click your link 10 times, that’s 10 clicks. You see this is very different from how the other system’s measure clicks, hence the discrepancies. Furthermore, KAWO tracks real-time! Try it for yourself: go to your weibo account page and click a link in a post published through KAWO. Now go back to KAWO and refresh the page, you’ll see the clicks number has increased instantly.
This way you are always up to date about clickthroughs immediately after publishing. No need to wait a day - or even a week - to find out. Our direct approach will give you a more accurate number of clicks as compared to Weibo and GA.
In addition, we add Google Analytics Campaign Tags to your links, which means you’ll be able to see more statistics about visitors coming from your Weibo posts. It even enables you to measure ROI per specific channel or post. We’ll write an article about this soon.
So to summarize:
We hope to have given you more insight in how each system works and thereby giving you a better understanding of how to interpret your analytics. By having real time access to the amount of clickthroughs you can instantly understand how content is converting Weibo users into website traffic. In the near future we will further expand our analytics about your links with more in-depth insights on your most popular links, click volume over time and more.
Stay tuned for an article on how to use KAWO’s Google Analytics campaign tags to analyze traffic and measure ROI.