Social Media as a Performance Channel with Google Analytics – SESNY

Phil Mui, Group Product Manager, Google Analytics
Ilya Grigorik, Lead Engineer, Google Analytics

This morning at the keynote, Avinash unveiled this: Google Analytics Update Connects Social Marketing with the Bottom Line.

Google Analytics for Social panelHow do marketers view social media? A MarketingSherpa social marketing report shows that social marketing is mostly considered a promising tactic, but ROI is not understood. “Since everyone is doing it we’ll look foolish if we don’t” is a common approach.

What about number of followers or number of shares? Isn’t that social media measurement? This isn’t really understanding the value of social.

Content consumption today has moved off the browser to applications. A marketer needs a 360 view of actions, which is hard to pull together. Number of tweets or followers is comforting because it gives a sense of measuring. But it doesn’t address economic value.

Assigning Value to Social: The Problems

1. Upper funnel impact is hard to capture and understand.

2. Social data silos are hard to aggregate and compare. No single system aggregates various activities across social silo.

3. Off-site engagement is hard to identify and measure. There are ambiguities of language and when conversations occur offsite it can be hard to be sure the keywords are relevant to you.

Social Web Made of Actions: Across multiple sites and networks

  • Actions on-site
  • Actions off-site

Google Analytics wants to bring the two together. That’s what social reports is geared toward.

Social Reports in Google Analytics

Your business:
site visits -> on-site social engagement
-> conversions (business outcomes I care about)

measuring the value of social

Measure the last interaction and the assisted (upper-funnel) and find the economic value lies somewhere in the middle.

Now a demo (using Avinash’s blog). Traffic Sources > Social

In December, Google announced an initiative called the social data hub. Google is offering an open standard to let other data collectors to import into a hub. Integrating all the data into Google Analytics allows for easier comparisons of data. Expanding the scope of understanding of all content sources.

Once you know the overall metrics, you want to know what people are actually saying. The Conversations tab let’s you see actual comments off-site.


Data broken down by network

Assisted vs. Last interaction analysis: the economic value is somewhere in the middle (complex attribution models)

Social Plugins: On-site activity of share buttons can be measured. An API lets you measure what happens and on which pages with these buttons. Placement of button, which buttons work for the audience and that type of content can be optimized for.

A visualization displays the flow of traffic through a site from a social source. You can see drop off points and rates at each point on site.

social visitor flow through site

These tools are meant to understand social media from a value perspective. Now for questions.

Q: Can you give me a high-level breakdown of conversions vs. assisted social conversions vs. last interaction social conversions in the circle diagram?

The blue is the bottom level of the conversion funnel, assisted are those who interacted with social at some point (in the last 30 days, touched by social media – the upper-limit of what social is worth, and you determine what exactly that means to your business), and the large outline circle is conversions generally across all channels.

Q: How current is the activity stream?

The actual activity stream is to the minute. A rule of thumb metric they use is that the half-life of content online today is 1 hour.

Q: Do you plan to have something like Ripple for other networks besides Google+?

Ripple is something we can do since we own Google+. We can’t give you ripples on networks we don’t own. The Social Data Hub is with partners who choose to give us ability to provide in-depth reporting. We’ll leave it open ended about what might come in the future.

These reports will start rolling out tomorrow and to all users in the next few weeks.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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