Twitter upgrades are expected to include new tools for analytics soon.

Erica Anderson, Twitter's Manager of News and Journalism, mentioned the tools in an event at Columbia University over the weekend, according to a report on ReadWriteWeb. So far, Twitter hasn't formally responded on the tools.

Harnessing Big Data

How to analyze the massive amounts of data collected by Twitter and other social media services has been an ongoing challenge. Twitter Web Analytics were first introduced in September 2011. The latest tools expected to be included in Twitter upgrades will provide better tweet-reach tracking for publishers, according to Anderson. The ReadWriteWeb article reports that the description of the new tools sounds similar to third-party analytics offerings from companies such as HootSuite and SocialFlow.

Researchers continue to study the ability to make predictions based on analyzing Tweets. In 2010, for example, researchers reported an 87.6% success rate on predicting upswings or downswings in stock market activity by analyzing the attitudes and "moods" on Twitter. And last year, a researcher from the University of Illinois released research results that narrowed down Osama Bin Laden's hiding area to a 200-kilometer radius in Northern Pakistan based on his analysis of social media activity. 

Improved Tools

In 2011, Twitter ramped up efforts to provide better analytics. For example, the company acquired BackType in July in an effort to develop tools for the company's publisher partners that would help gauge the impact of social media.

The company acquired Smallthought Systems, creators of Dabble DB and Trendly, the previous month. At the time, we noted that Trendly offered an analytics dashboard that pulled data from Google Analytics to help users better understand how their businesses are doing.

With the massive amount of data churned out worldwide in the form of 140-character tweets, the ability to analyze the volumes of information and extract useful bits remains a challenge, with vendors racing to find solutions. In fact, we've already seen a lot of big data analysis activity in 2012, with companies such as Enkata and Oracle making headlines with new or improved analytics offerings.

With all those little tweets adding up to massive amounts of data, improved analytics tools are eagerly anticipated. Stay tuned for updates as we learn more about the new Twitter tools.