Data Mining: Google Survey

Use:  Create low-cost surveys for editorial content or to gain additional consumer insights

Google Survey allows publishers to create low-cost surveys on any topic they want.  Questions will be presented to users when they try to access certain premium content (from those publishers who are hosting Google Consumer Surveys on their paid content products).   Google  reports more than 200 publishers have implemented GCS.

Publishers present one question at a time and can segment the audience by gender, age, geography, urbanicity and income.  Unfortunately, the smallest geographic area is at the state level.  The question can be in a variety of formats, including single answer, multiple answers, side-by-side images, ratings and open-ended.  Publishers than choose number of responses per question (200, 500 or 1,000) and  frequency (once, biweekly, monthly).  Google charges $.10 per response for general population surveys and $.50 per response for segmented surveys.

According to Google, “Google Consumer Surveys takes a new approach to survey sampling, data collection and post-stratification weighting. This produces a close approximation to a random sample of the US Internet population and results that are as accurate as probability based panels.” A Google whitepaper on Google survey methodology and accuracy available here.

GCS may not replace more intensive consumer surveys for your publication, but could provide a low-cost approach to gaining specific insights more rapidly.


TechCrunch: Google Surveys Can Make Anyone A Professional Pollster

Nieman Journalism Labs: The newsonomics of value exchange and Google Surveys

Forbes: Q&A With Paul McDonald: Co-Creator Of Google Consumer Surveys



Data Mining: Topsy

Use:  Increase engagement by surfacing relevant topics and conversations on Twitter; generate by helping ad customers target messages

Topsy is a tool that mines the full stream of Twitter tweets and, according to All Things D, “offers a set of professional analytics tools for sale, so that customers can find key data points like influential Twitter accounts, relevant content for specific time periods, even sentiment analysis around tweeted terms.”  There is also a free, limited tool at

News organizations can use the tool to identify topics and conversations that might suggest an interesting news story or possible story sources.  They can also use the tool to identify locally trending topics (e.g. “best lawn care tips”) that they can use to help local advertisers target promoted tweets.

Among the media organizations currently using Topsy are The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN, Gannett and ABC.


All Things D: Data Analytics Startup Topsy Aims for the Local


Analytics: Twitter

Use: Gauge performance of tweets to identify topics, content, etc. that get more traction with users

Twitter has opened up tweet analytics to all users.   Publishers can check how many times a tweet has been “faved”, retweeted or replied to and how many times a link in a tweet has been clicked.  The data as far back as 90 days can be viewed online or downloaded to an Excel or CSV file.  You can also chart, by date, mentions, follows and unfollows for your account.

In addition to Timeline activity, you can also get data on Followers (although when I tried to access that,  I received a message that said “there is not enough data to display analytics at this time. Try again later.”)

There are third-party programs that will provide Twitter analytics but this is a straightforward way to track your tweet activity.

To access the analytics, go to and log-in with your regular Twitter ID and password.  Then select “Analytics” at the top of the page.


The Next Web: Twitter opens up its analytics platform, lets everyone review the performance of their tweets for free

TechCrunch: Twitter Opens Up Tweet Performance Analytics To All, For Free

Christopher Penn: Official Twitter Analytics: Most Hidden Ever