How to measure what is happening on external websites?

Sometimes, you would like to measure what is happening on external websites. The typical use case may be a proprietary social network platform such as Facebook or Twitter.

As just mentioned those two platforms are proprietary platforms so it is Facebook and Twitter which are controlling their full source code. As a result you don't have many opportunitites to insert trackers and to measure something there.

Note that it would have been totally different if interactions where happening on your own social network instance such as Mastodon and/or PeerTube.

Ok so let's imagine that you would like to track interactions on Facebook or Twitter, let's see the different opportunities you have:

  1. Look at the data they can provide to you directly and then if you would like to reprocess them you normally can export them to and then import them within the analytics solution you wish such as Matomo Analytics or any BI tools. The caveat of this method is that if the data you are looking for is not there then few chances that you could get it. Remind just one thing, proprietary solutions are in control of your data so they are the one deciding what you will have an access to and will do everything to keep this control.
  2. Look if you can insert JavaScript, in fact this is the perfect solution, but almost none solutions will allow you to do it. If you can insert JavaScript code, then insert the Matomo tracking code and you are good to go. You can then technically track all the interactions happening on the page you have the tracking on.
  3. Look if you can insert HTML. If you can, then you may have the possibility to insert the image tracker. Unfortunately what most proprietary solutions are doing is that they dont' give you this possibility or allow you to insert images, once your image is uploaded on their server, they are changing it by a copy they made. As a result it is never your image on your server which is called, but theirs, so there are no logs left for you so nothing to analyse. This method will have more chances to succeed on guest blogging platforms.
  4. Tracking the links will probably be your best chance to succeed. In fact when you are mentioning a link on one of your posts, Twitter and Facebook have no choice than following it. They can of course create another url out of it but it will keep reaching the one you indicated. So to say on proprietary platforms that may be your best shot. URL shortener for Matomo Analytics.
Last modified: Tuesday, 10 September 2019, 5:45 PM