Developers like Tweet Button, want better analytics

They also say that the Tweet Button's performance on mobile devices can be improved

Developers and publishers who have adopted Twitter's Tweet Button say the tool is beneficial in letting their site readers and application users conveniently share links on Twitter, but that some features can be improved, including its analytics data and mobile functionality.

The Tweet Button, launched almost seven months ago, is designed to be easy for developers and publishers to embed on their sites and applications so that their users can easily share and "retweet" links on Twitter right from their site and application interfaces.

"Twitter has done a great job with the button. They have given non-technical people an easy way to add tweet buttons to their page through a form, as well as giving developers means to extend and manipulate the button for more complex scenarios, along with providing developers with good documentation," said Peter Denton, co-founder and product marketing director at Mombo.com, a site that analyzes Twitter posts about movies and calculates an aggregate rating for each film.

"It's an easy and practical solution that [solves] pretty well the limited problem it's supposed to address," said Felipe Lavin, a front-end developer for AyerViernes, a Chilean strategy and design firm that created Clerk.im, a hotel management Web application. "It's easy for users and developers."

However, developers and publishers also see opportunities for improvement of the Tweet Button.

One area is the analytics data that the Tweet Button generates and makes available for developers and publishers, which some feel could be broader and more detailed, thus making the tool better for measuring the popularity and distribution of links to their content.

"It would be great to have more information on the usage of the Tweet Button on the sites I manage, with the option of aggregating data on a site level as well as seeing data for each shared item," Lavin said via e-mail.

Denton also would like Twitter to provide a deeper view into the paths of shared links across the Twitter network. The more detailed data would allow Mombo.com to make more informed decisions about repositioning content effectively.

It's one area where the Tweet Button falls short of its predecessor, TweetMeme's Retweet Button, which offered more analytics data and more flexibility in using third-party URL shorteners, Denton said. TweetMeme and Twitter agreed to collaborate to gradually replace the Retweet Button with the Tweet Button across the Web.

"The more analytics data that Twitter surfaces to me natively, the better I can make my product around their network," Denton said.

Nischal Shetty, a developer using the Tweet Button on his application JustUnfollow and on his blog, could also use more analytics data, ideally provided via a centralized Twitter dashboard.

"Currently, the Tweet Button doesn't really offer anything except display the count of the number of times a URL has been shared on Twitter," Shetty said.

Meanwhile, Hendra Kieran, a system engineer at Affle, maker of the Pinch iMessenger mobile messaging application, is also satisfied with the Tweet Button but finds that its rendering and functionality fall short in mobile devices, a complaint echoed by other developers in online discussion forums.

"When it is used to share a tweet, it will take the user to a non-mobile-friendly page in Twitter so users have to zoom in to get a better view of the page," Kieran said.

Twitter didn't respond to requests for comment about the Tweet Button.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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