Google Social Analytics: How the Pages Report Can Boost Content & Social Performance
Google’s new social reporting in Analytics rolled out recently and many site owners are pleased to have data that tracks social media ROI integrated right into the analytics they use every day. With six new reporting functions, there’s lots of ways you can assess the value of social media in conversions, the value individual social networks have and how your content is shared across networks.
In this post, we’ll hone in on the Pages report and how you can use it to track content performance across social networks and grow community. This short-and-sweet post is a prelude to a more in-depth look at the new social reporting in Google Analytics in our SEO Newsletter, set to hit inboxes this week. But because we love you, we’ll give you access to the Analytics article a little early.
To get started in Google’s new social reporting, go to Traffic Sources > Social. You’ll then see the six reports available to you underneath the main navigation. Let’s get started, shall we?
Google Social Analytics: The Pages Report
Under Social > Pages, you’ll see a table with your top-performing content for any given time period.
If you select a URL, it drills down into which social networks that particular content is driving traffic from. You can see visits, pageviews, average time per visit and pages per visit per social network.
Not only can this give you an idea of how that content performed across social networks, but which social network is driving the most traffic to your site and the behavior of the different audiences and how they interact with that Web page and the rest of your site when coming from varying social networks.
When viewing this table, the default is the “social network” tab; but you can select the link next to it called “social networks and action” to view a sum of the social activities that occurred on that post. For this, go to:
Pages > Select URL > Social Network and Action link
Social activities are defined as what types of actions occurred on that content – were they comments? +1s? Bookmarks? Do people tend to save the content to read it later or share it? Does some content receive more comments than other types of content? You can find all that information here.
Keep in mind, this data is only available from what Google dubs “Social Data Hub” partners. These are social networks (about 20 of them currently) that have opted to share additional information about their activity streams with Google. Google Plus is obviously on this list. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are obviously not. Boo.
Taking the social activities data a step further, access the Activity Stream tab in the upper left corner of the Social Referral graph to have a look at who is sharing your content and what people are saying about it as they post. Again, this activity is only available for Social Data Hub partners. Go to:
Pages > Select URL > Activity Stream tab
So, are you on Google Plus yet? Are any of these people in your circles? How can you reach out to them if not? How will you join in on the conversation you’re missing about your own content? The Activity Stream offers many opportunities to expand and build community.
The Pages report also can uncover some very interesting data about the social networks you may want to pay more or less attention to. If lots of people are sharing your content in a social network you may have been neglecting, perhaps it’s time to give it some attention.
You might have to take a look to see if your Web pages are set up for easy social sharing in those networks. You may want to have a look at if certain topics spark engagement in certain social networks to understand what those audiences are interested in.
Are you using Google’s new social reports in Analytics? How do you like them? Leave a comment below and tell us about it!