Google Analytics Now Captures Social Media

Google has released a new set of Social reports within Google Analytics that help a publisher measure the value of social media traffic.  The tool focuses on measuring whether visitors that come to a given site actually engage in a specific action — it’s not just about measuring whether people are showing up at the door through social networks.  The tool will be rolling out over the next month.

At the Google Analytics blog, we see that Google has 3 key steps in mind.

  • Identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to direct conversions or assist in future conversions
  • Understand social activities happening both on and off of your site to help you optimize user engagement and increase social key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Make better, more efficient data-driven decisions in your social media marketing programs

One of the key elements to the new system is to define a specific goal that you are looking to measure — be it video views, visits to the market page or actual purchases.  Once that is complete, Google prepares some nifty analysis of how your social media traffic is funneling through to that specific goal.

We can see that the service even allows you to put monetary values on specific conversions, which then turns your reports into a measure of financial success from your social media channel.  This is one of the biggest questions in social media – how much do I make off social – and Google looks like it’s trying to solve it.

At this point, it looks like Google is including all sorts of social traffic from Facebook to Twitter to Reddit and of course, Google+.  However, there are definitely going to be tracking abilities for Google+ that you can’t get on the other networks.  One of the features of the new Analytics is to look at the Social Plugin report which shows you the articles on your site that are “receiving the most engagement and which social buttons – for example, Google +1 – are being clicked to share them.”

Obviously, the data available on the Google+ side will be very high.  Trackers can see how their articles are being shared, who clicked what and how they got to the site.  Google may even have the data to display ideas like how many ‘groups of friends’ have come to the site.

This is the latest step in a long journey for social media analytics.  The goal is to eventually determine how users are engaging with your brand and product socially, and how that’s converting to dollars.  Do you think this new social GA update will help?

Image: NAN728 via Shutterstock

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