New Research: Dark Social Falsely Attributes Significant Percentages of Web Traffic as “Direct”

When site owners and marketers log into their analytics tools to determine how visitors discover and reach their properties, they expect accurate information. Unfortunately, that data is often massively flawed. SparkToro partnered with Really Good Data in a recent experiment to drive 1000+ visits across 11 major social networks and observe how Google Analytics categorized these referrals. Special thanks to…

AI-Generated Content is the New Floor

Anyone can make it. Most of it is at least OK. Some of it’s pretty good. A few folks are already sharpening their skills at prompting AIs to generate increasingly high-quality material. But, the core problem with content created by large language model (LLM) outputs is that it’s so cheap, so accessible, so ubiquitous—it’s not merely table stakes; AI content…
Data Product SparkToro

NEW: Custom Search & Custom Audiences Offer Incredible New Ways to Use SparkToro

Three years ago, if you wanted to uncover which podcasts Data Scientists listened to, or find out which social accounts were most followed by people who talk about Organic Chemistry, you’d need months of surveys, interviews, and manual data collection. Then, in April of 2020, SparkToro launched, and high-quality answers to those questions could be found in seconds. Since launch,…

NEW: Audience Tracking is Now Available in SparkToro

Since our launch in 2020, SparkToro has helped thousands of marketers uncover the most popular demographic and behavioral attributes of their target audiences. Emphasis on “most popular” 😉. That data is undoubtedly valuable: it helps folks know where and how to reach their customers online. But, in the two years SparkToro’s been active, we observed a handful of our smartest,…
Data Marketing

Which 3rd-Party Traffic Estimate Best Matches Google Analytics?

In July and August of this year, SparkToro solicited (via Twitter, our email newsletter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram) voluntary sharing of Google Analytics data from the web marketing community. Over 1,000 participants shared their websites’ traffic (through GA’s oAuth function) with us. We then acquired metrics from four providers of traffic estimate data—SEMRush, Datos, SimilarWeb, and Ahrefs*—and compared these against…
Data Marketing Tactics

How to Measure “Hard-to-Measure” Marketing Channels

I’ve ranted endlessly about how marketing leaders refuse to invest in hard-to-measure marketing channels like PR, media, native social, events, many types of content, and word-of-mouth. But, never stepped up and made clear how to use metrics, imperfect though they may be, to turn impossible-to-measure into difficult, but possible. Sadly, I’ve never seen a high-quality offering to reliably point-to, either.…
Data Marketing Product SparkToro

Which Subreddits Does Your Audience Follow? What Do They Talk About? Starting Today, SparkToro Has the Answers

Today, we’re launching a new “Reddit” tab in SparkToro. It will show you the Subreddits to which the audience you search for most-heavily subscribes, and the text content of their Reddit posts. This feature is briefly available for all paid subscribers. In a few weeks, SparkToro is updating our prices & packages, at which time it will be exclusive to…
Data

SparkToro & Followerwonk Joint Twitter Analysis: 19.42% of Active Accounts Are Fake or Spam

TL;DR – From May 13-15, 2022, SparkToro and Followerwonk conducted a rigorous, joint analysis of five datasets including a variety of active (i.e. tweeting) and non-active accounts. The analysis we believe to be most compelling uses 44,058 public Twitter accounts active in the last 90 days. These accounts were randomly selected, by machine, from a set of 130+ million public,…

Provable Marketing Attribution is a Boondoggle; Trust Your Gut Instead

You’ve heard the marketing analytics spiel before. It goes something like: Marketing journeys are long, complicated, multi-channel paths. Tracking them is always imperfect, but if you employ an extensive, expensive, difficult-to-configure combination of tools, tracking systems, and deeply talented statistics professionals, you can build a high-quality, predictive attribution modeling structure that approximates reality with relatively minor gaps. My counterpoint: don’t…
Advertising Data Marketing Tactics

What if Performance Advertising is Just an Analytics Scam?

“What the pandemic showed is we can take marketing down to zero and still have 95% of the same traffic as the year before. So we’re not going to forget that lesson.” – Brian Chesky (via Campaign) In 2020, AirBnB cut $542 million of performance advertising spend and saw no measurable falloff in attributable sales. They continued this ad-slashing practice…