Twitter and Google … Analytics

// // May 08th 2009 // Analytics + Social Media + Technology

Twitter is using Google Analytics

Earlier this month Twitter launched new HTML versions of their Follower and Direct Message emails. Upon clicking through one of these newly designed emails you’ll notice that the links all contain Google Analytics parameters.

Twitter and Google Analytics

For those of you without the best eyesight, the URL contains the normal utm_ parameters. In this case Twitter is using source=follow, medium=email and campaign=twitter20080331162631.

What is twitter20080331162631?

It is not a user id since a Google search for twitter20080330062631 shows results for more than one user. The first part looks like a date, but March 31, 2008 seems like an odd choice for something just released. Any ideas?

Why is Twitter using Google Analytics?

The obvious answer is Twitter wants more accurate or easily accessible metrics. But why select Google Analytics? Sure it’s free but Twitter isn’t hurting for money, are they? Twitter could use any number of other solutions.

Many believe Twitter is a Google competitor and/or acquisition target which makes using Google Analytics more intriguing.

Wouldn’t Twitter be just a little bit paranoid that Google would peek at the Google Analytics data to gain insight into their business? Sure it’s not supposed to happen but … why take the chance?

Or is Twitter using Google Analytics to provide due diligence data to Google for a potential acquisition? Google certainly wouldn’t doubt numbers generated by their own product. Is this part of the rumored negotiations taking place between Google and Twitter?

Google Killer or Google Accomplice

Outside of the conspiracy theories, Twitter’s usage of Google Analytics further cements them as the leader in the analytics space, surpassing competitors such as Omniture and Coremetrics.

PowerPoint decks at conferences are peppered with Google Analytics graphs and screen captures. In a difficult economic environment it becomes more and more difficult to rationalize using a paid product when a free product has a similar feature set.

Twitter isn’t a Google killer. Instead it’s helping Google to kill web analytics providers.

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Comments About Twitter and Google … Analytics

// 2 comments so far.

  1. Ken Novak // May 08th 2009

    I am willing to bet that the digits after the date are just a sequence number. Is Twitter tracking us at the individual level?

  2. aj // May 08th 2009


    That was my first inclination. But I don’t think it’s by individual since a Google search for that string of numbers returns links to multiple users. So … perhaps it’s a cohort?

    Could the March 31, 2008 be all users who joined in March of 2008? It might be interesting for Twitter to look at user behavior by date of registration, particularly in light of the recent churn numbers.

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