Interview with PostRank CEO Carol Leaman

With the sheer explosion in engagement opportunities made possible by the booming world of the social web, it pays to have a solid web analytics guru by your side to measure, track and offer feedback on the successes and failures of your company’s social media offerings. 

PostRank does that quite well. Very well, actually. As the world’s most comprehensive measurement tool for online publishers to measure the reach and engagement of their content off-site and in the social sphere, PostRank offers real-time, objective data and analysis on topics and trends most relevant to businesses – including yours. 

I recently touched base with PostRank’s CEO Carol Leaman to talk about their newest offering, the Domain API, as well as all things PostRank.

PG: Carol, thanks for allowing yourself to be interviewed. Seeing as PostRank is one of the key innovators in the Social Web analytics market, could you give our readers a brief overview of how the Domain API breaks the mould here, or at least reinvents it?

CL: PostRank is the world’s broadest and most meaningful measurement tool for online publishers  to measure the reach and engagement of their content off-site and in the social sphere. By tracking where and how audience members find and interact with content over the last 3 years, we know that approximately 80% of a publisher’s articles and stories are now found because the audience member discovered an article that was shared, voted up, bookmarked etc. In contrast, only 20% of content is found on the publisher’s site directly.  By tracking, in real-time, where an audience is actually interacting with articles and stories in social hubs like Digg, Reddit, Delicious and Twitter a publisher can now find, engage with, and build a loyal audience.

Until now, PostRank measured the engagement of content that audience members were subscribed to via an RSS reader.  With the release of the Domain Activity API however, PostRank now exposes ALL engagement activity at the domain and subdomain level, providing a top level view of off-site interaction with all aspects of a site. Just as exposes the on-site activities of audience members by measuring pageview and visitor traffic, PostRank provides the off-site view of where domain level activity and interest is occurring. It’s the off-site measurement tool that tells the part of the story you can’t get from and others like it. Ad networks and PR/Communications firms leverage the Domain API with existing data to better understand where to run campaigns and find a loyal and engaged audience for a brand.

PG: In light of other APIs such as Hootsuite, which provide a great look into specific social media applications such as Twitter and Facebook, does the URL-centric nature of Domain API make it a viable standalone tool? 

CL: Hootsuite and similar tools (e.g. Co-Tweet) are internal corporate streaming tools to do brand monitoring in a couple of specific social media hubs like Twitter and Facebook.  They are completely different than what is offered by PostRank which is a much broader, publisher/content focused measurement tool that provides insight into audience engagement with specific articles and stories.  The Domain API is a standalone real-time database of information that provides an up-to-the-minute measure of overall interaction with any number of websites – the millions that we track, or some sub-set of those defined by a customer to capture just those domains in a topic or product area they are interested in.

PG: I see, so in a sense the data you provide can help everyone from corporations to individuals find and monetize the engagement of their core audience?

CL: Yes, that’s right. At an overall level, we provide Intelligence from the Social Web that can help corporate brands, ad networks, PR/Communications firms and individual publishers find and engage with their audience translating into revenue for them in a number of ways.

PG: What other tools in PostRank’s Data Analysis toolkit would you need to pair with Domain API, in order to a get comprehensive look at your business’s web analytics? 

CL: We’ve got a  variety of other APIs to augment the Domain API that provide deeper analysis of the engagement with a publishers content. For example, we provide rolled up feed engagement, detailed engagement metrics for feeds, individual articles and static pages, sentiment analysis on content, entity extraction from content, and a variety of other metrics.

PG: I’ve met business owners who have optimized their web analytics by relying solely on tools and clients designed for those purposes, and made available online for free. How would you position the Domain API and PostRank’s Data Services tools in order to grab mindshare from them?

CL: With 80% of audience interaction with content happening off-site, and with over 50% of that engagement occurring in the first hour after publishing, PostRank provides the most comprehensive, real-time insight into what an audience is paying attention to, and where.  If all a publisher is monitoring is on-site traffic through one of the many packages out there to do that, they are missing the majority of the story in terms of where the audience for their content actually lives.

PG: Wow, it sounds like PostRank’s got its game plan framed centre. Thanks for sharing this information with us Carol, I really appreciate it.

CL: My pleasure.