FeedBurner has always been a nifty tool for bloggers and podcasters, particularly with tracking metrics for RSS feeds. For one, the service standardizes your XML feed such that it’s compliant with RSS 2.0 specs (and hence readable by most feed readers and other applications). For podcasters, FeedBurner also provides an easy way to incorporate added information, which is especially useful if your subscribers subscribe via iTunes.
FeedBurner thinks of it as an audience-engagement package, as it does not only track direct readers, but also readers from other sources like feed readers and RSS widgets:
Our goal is to provide a 360 degree view of audience engagement for you, our publishers, detailing where visitors get at your content and how they interact with it. We’ll help you track published media, syndicated media, and shared media; that’s book-learnin’ for your site, your feed, and the widgets/chicklets your audience uses and shares. We now provide detailed feed and site statistics, and these will become even more integrated going forward. Layer in the ability to understand how your feed-based widgets are shared, and you’ve got yourself a full-blown metricstravaganza, hosted by somebody famous.
StandardStats–which is free–gets you the following information.
- Visitor summary, detail and trends
- Page summary, detail and trends
- Referral and Search trends
- Inbound referral traffic breakdown, grouped by domain and broken out in detail
- Outbound click breakdown
- Visitor city cloud and live geographic visitor detail
- Percentage inbound traffic from search and the queries that drove the traffic
- Percentage of visitors that are new to your site today
- Browser and OS breakdown, with trend indicators
- Detailed historical traffic by page and by date
StandardStats may be activated through the Analyze Tab of the FeedBurner account interface. You are required to insert a snippet of code on your blog, and FeedBurner will generate the appropriate code, along with instructions, for installing depending on your blog software.
Compared to other free analytics packages I’ve tried, StandardStats fares pretty well. It’s not as comprehensive as Google Analytics, but the interface is more straightforward (and faster-loading, too), and the data is more up to date. Of course, the main come-on here is the integration of the blog/site and feed analytics tool, which is particularly useful if you’re publishing different media types such as podcasts alongside your textual content.