Google Analytics cementing its place in social media reporting

Web Analytics

Social Media Reporting on Google Analytics

With Google announcing their social media reporting extension in Google Analytics, social media marketing experts can now see the financial value of their efforts. This is already pushing new trends into existence in 2013 and the face of social media SEO may soon change forever.  Mind you, now the reports only apply to a few select social media sites that keep Google happy. So are we really getting a comprehensive picture?

The new Google Analytics social reports

Social media marketing usually piques interest and raises brand awareness, but seldom sells directly. The first new report available from Google Analytics examines conversions through social media. By using the new Google Analytics reporting, you can get a good idea of the effect social media has had on your site. It tells you the conversion value total, the maximum value of social media conversions and any sales resulting from direct social media visits.

 Segmentation graphs

Image courtesy of ddpavumba, freeDigitalPhotos.net

You can also contrast your social traffic conversions with the rest of your website, through social segment graphs. Examining your visitor referrals and channel grouping all social media sites, is how this reporting works. Segmentation of this type could be obtained before, of course, but only going back by one month. Now you can get an overall idea very quickly, and evaluate how social media is benefiting your financial goals (or not).

Social actions

This shows how well your content strategy works in terms of being shared. Unlike social plugin reports, no further tagging is necessary. Everything has been moved to the new Google Analytics social media reporting. The social actions reports do need tagging for social network buttons so they appear correctly on your site, only – in the case of Google+  – this is already done for you.

Social actions off your website

This one is important. You can now evaluate performance by figuring out which content performs well in which social media. The social networks that form part of Google’s Social Hub program, i.e. DeliciousBlogger,Reddit and Google+, will allow you to follow user discussions about your website, even if they do not click through. Facebook and Twitter are excluded, however, so the reports may not be too accurate with these two major players absent from the equation. No one knows whether Facebook and Twitter will hone their own social analytics reporting to compensate for this or eventually end up taking part in the Google Hub project.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Unknown territory

2013 will show what the new Google Analytics reporting uncovers. Perhaps we will simply find out that not many people are bothered or affected by social media (at least to the extent that they click on links to buy things). People may or may not buy the same stuff as other people on their social media networking sites.  It is always a possibility that their purchases are simply guided by what they personally want or need!

So what might 2013 bring?

Social media marketing will probably begin to look at subtler patterns in 2013, although in the process, it may well come up against user privacy issues. One thing is for sure though: 2013 will be a VERY interesting year for gathering information about the value of social media marketing!

(This article originally appeared in http://www.bluewiremedia.com.au/ way back in 2013, many things may have changed since then)

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