It's time marketers stop collecting data for data's sake and start it for culling insights. That's where social analytics comes in. Social analytics is the evolving business discipline that studies social media metrics to help marketers use the findings to drive business intelligence. If you're new to this, have no fear. Look to the 15 influencers listed below for guidance on the topic. They can help you get started or finesse your approach. Here are the Top Social and Web Analytics Experts to follow (in alphabetical order):
Gary Angel, president of Semphonic. Recipient of the Digital Analytics Association's Award for Excellence as the Most Influential Industry Contributor.
Key Takeaway: To get the greatest value from analytics, you need an integrated approach.
Connie Bensen, Senior digital strategist at Dell
Don't miss: Best Practices for Social Media Monitoring ROI
Key Takeaway: Great tips on how to avoid spam and noise: add exclusion criteria to your searches.
Keith Burtis, co-founder of MeasureMob
Key Takeaway: Three resources to get you started with analytics.
Alistair Croll, principal analyst for Bitcurrent, contributing author to Web Operations, Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwidth.
Don't miss: Writings: December 2011/January 2012
Key Takeaway: A sampling of Alistair's thinking, including 2012 trends and how companies should think about big data.
Susan Etlinger, industry analyst at Altimeter Group
Key Takeaway: Measure your company's performance against the Social Media Measurement Compass.
Nathan Gilliatt, principal at Social Target, co-founder at AnalyticsCamp, founder at SocialMediaAnalysis.com
Key Takeaway: Insightful matrix of Intelligence/Analytics plotted against Fact/ Opinion
Taulbee Jackson, CEO and president of Raidious
Don't miss: Social Media Analytics - AMA Michiana
Key Takeaway: At the end of the day, you are trying to determine 'how good is the content?'
Avinash Kaushik, digital marketing evangelist at Google and author of Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics: An Hour A Day
Key Takeaway: An excellent getting started guide to web analytics.
John Lovett, senior partner at Web Analytics Demystified Inc, author of Social Media Metrics Secrets
Don't miss: You're Using the Wrong Social Media Metrics
Key Takeaway: Understand corporate goals, align business objectives, tie metrics to measures of success and then define operational tactics.
Jonas Klit Nielsen, CEO and founder of Mindjumpers
Key Takeaway: Listen first to relevant conversations, then break down the data to relevant insights.
Katie D. Paine, CEO & founder of KD Paine & Partners; author of Measure What Matters
Don't miss: KDPaine's How-To-Get-Good-Data Checklist
Key Takeaways: Both humans and computers make mistakes, so check your data regularly.
Eric Peterson, CEO and founder of Web Analytics Demystified Inc., author of Web Analytics Demystified, Web Site Measurement Hacks and The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators
Don't miss: Finally! Standards Come to Web Analytics
Key Takeaway: Google Analytics has become the de facto standard for web analytics.
Sean Power, data scientist at Cheezburger; contributing author to Web Operations, and Complete Web Monitoring
Don't miss: Complete Web Monitoring, (O'Reilly, 2009)
Key Takeaway: Learn everything from why, what and how to implement measurement in your organization.
Jim Sterne, founder of eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit and the Digital Analytics Association and author of Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment
Don't miss: eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summits
Takeaway: Learn from Jim in person at a summit near you.
Marshall Sponder, senior analyst and founder of WebmetricsGuru.com and author of Social Media Analytics: Effective Tools for Building, Interpreting, and Using Metrics
Key Takeaway: You need a standard process for measurement.
To learn more about what social analytics and how you can approach it, consult with our new position paper Social Analytics for Marketing and Sales Effectiveness.
Let's hear it from you, marketers: Did we list all your top analytics gurus? Did we miss anyone who deserves to be included?