Today, Google announced the release of some new social reports in Google Analytics, aimed at "bridging the gap between social media and the business metrics you care about". Well put, because measuring social media has been one of the biggest obstacles businesses have faced since the rise of the social networks.
It's certainly become easier to measure it, over the last few years, after numerous tools have been launched by numerous companies, but lots of businesses rely on Google Analytics to track the success of their sites, and the better GA is at social, the clearer the success (or non-success) of social strategies will become.
Specifically, Google says it wants to help you: identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to conversions, understand social activities happening on and off site to help you optimize user engagement and increase key performance indicators, and make better, data-driven decisions in your social strategies.
A new Overview Report lets you see social performance "at a glance" and how it is impacting conversions by comparing numbers and monetary values of goal completions vs. those that resulted from social referrals. "A visit from a social referral may result in conversion immediately or it may assist in a conversion that occurs later on," explains Group Product Manager Phil Mui. "Referrals that lead to conversions immediately are labeled as Last Interaction Social Conversion. If a referral from a social source doesn’t immediately generate a conversion, but the visitor returns later and converts, the referral is included as an Assisted Social Conversion."
A new Conversion Report shows which goals are being impacted by social media by letting you measure the value of each individual social channel by seeing the conversion rates of each one and the monetary value they're driving. "For example, you can see the effect that social content (i.e. a new video you created) had on conversions," says Mui. "Look at the time graph to see whether Goal Completions via Social Referral peaked after the content was published. Remember that you need to define goals and goal values in order to see data in this report, so tailor it to the things that matter to your business. Networks with a higher assisted / last interaction conversions ratio provide greater assisted conversions."
A Social Sources report lets you see how site visitors from different sources are engaging and converting. Social Plugins shows which articles are most commonly shared, recommended, and on which social networks. There is also an Activity Stream, which shows the ways people are engaging with your content off of your site. Of course, it is missing some key data, with the absence of Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn, Pinterest and StumbleUpon are some other key networks that arren't included.
What it does include is Google+ and the partners of Google's "Social Data Hub," which ingclude:
Read It Later
Google says all the new reports will be available to all Google Analytics users over the next few weeks. They'll appear under the Standard Reporting tab.