Google Analytics Offers New Social Media Analytics Tools
Tracking for social media is one area major area where Google Analytics has be lacking. While social media has increasingly become an important marketing tool for many businesses and organizations, the quality of analytics for social media has not grown at the same rate as the adoption of social media. Google has offered some rudimentary social tools for the last year or so but they have recently increased the quality of tracking available for your social media activities. The new tools give you an opportunity to measure the value of your social media activities through Google Analytics.
The Google Analytics tracking tools are built to help measure the following ways users interact with your business or organiation:
Sources: As your content is shared and people come to your site, it’s important to understand how visitors from different social sources engage with your site.
Conversions: Shared content URLs become the entry points into your site, driving traffic from social sources. Measuring the conversion and monetary value of this traffic will help you understand the impact of Social on your business.
Pages: People increasingly engage with, share, and discuss content on social networks. It’s important to know which pages and content are being shared, where they’re being shared, and how.
Social Plugins: Adding Social Plugin buttons to your site (for example, Google “+1″ buttons) allows your users share content to social networks directly from your site. Your social plugin data shows you which content is being shared, and on which networks.
While we have had the ability to gain some knowledge of these activities, they have simplified the process particularly when it comes to pages. Pages are an area that have been more difficult to get analytics data on. Below is a description from Google about the tracking they have introduced for pages:
Navigate to Pages to see engagement metrics (Pageviews, Avg. Visit Duration, Pages/Visit) for each URL. Sort by Social Activities in the table to identify your most viral content.
Click a URL in the table to see the originating social networks for that URL. For social data hub partner networks, you can also see offsite sharing for the URL: how the URL was shared (for example, via a “+1″ or “reshare” action), the networks on which it was shared, and the conversations that took place (Activity Stream). Read About Activity Stream Data to learn how this data is collected.
Another area that is important to many of our clients is conversion tracking. At one point Facebook offered conversion tracking for their advertisements but until now it has been difficult to track conversions on goals from social websites.
Another big improvement from Google is its expanded conversion tracking ability for social media:
The Conversions report allows you to quantify the value of Social. It shows the total number of conversion and the monetary value of conversions that occurred as a result of referrals from each network. Click Assisted vs Last Interaction Analysis (just below the Explorer tab at the top of the report) to see how each network contributed to conversions and revenue via assists and last clicks.
Assisted Conversions and Assisted Conversion Value:
This is the number (and monetary value) of sales and conversions the social network assisted. An assist occurs when someone visits your site, leaves without converting, but returns later to convert during a subsequent visit. The higher these numbers, the more important the assist role of the social network.
Last Interaction Conversions and Last Interaction Conversion Value:
This is the number (and monetary value) of last click sales and conversions. When someone visits your site and converts, the visit is considered a last click. The higher these numbers, the more important the social network’s role in driving completion of sales and conversions.
Assisted/Last Interaction Conversions:
This ratio summarizes the social network’s overall role. A value close to 0 indicates that the social network functioned primarily in a last click capacity. A value close to 1 indicates that the social network functioned equally in an assist and a last click capacity. The more this value exceeds 1, the more the social network functioned in an assist capacity.
Note that you must define goals and goal values in order to see data in this report.
Google has made some great strides with the updated social tracking tools that have been added to Google Analytics and they will be very helpful for our clients, however, I am still holding out for better, more user friendly social dashboard that makes it easy for non technical customers to understand the impact of their social media activities.
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