In March, Google announced the release of new social reports in Google Analytics. These included an Overview Report, a Conversion Report, a Social Sources report, a Social Plusgins report, and an activity stream tab. Today, the company announced some further expansion of social reports. Google's now showing backlink URLs and post titles within the social reports.
"The concept of trackbacks, a protocol by which different sites could notify each other of referencing links, first emerged back in 2002," says Ilya Grigorik with Google's Analytics team. "Since then, the blogosphere has grown in leaps and bounds, but the requirement for each site to explicitly implement this protocol has always stood in the way of adoption. If only you could crawl the web and build an accurate link graph. The good news is we already do that at Google, and are now providing this insight to Google Analytics users."
"These reports provide another layer of social insight showing which of your content attracts links, and enables you to keep track of conversations across other sites that link to your content," says Grigorik. "Most website and blog owners had no easy mechanism to do this in the past, but we see it as another important feature for holistic social media reports. When you know what your most linked content is, it is then also much easier to replicate the success and ensure that you are building relationships with those users who actively link to you the most."
The social reports are certainly welcome to Google Analytics users, and any data Google can add to the mix is a good thing, especially since so much of it is now "not provided".
There was actually an interesting report from Poynter this week about the impact of the "not provided" data on news sites, citing Adtrak, indicating that it's having a huge effect. Poynter revealed that 29% of its own searches in April were not provided.
The "not provided" data, of course, comes as a result of Google's encrypted-by-default search experience for signed in users.
Hopefully some of the new data Google is offering will help ease the pain.