How to use Google Analytics Social Reporting Tool (Part One)

By Liam Foy

A month or so ago Google introduced a new social media monitoring dashboard in its Analytics. The new suite’s features provide the most value when coupled with Google+. Tracking off-site social activity is just one of the cool new features that community managers will be swooning over. This post will cover how to use the new social reporting features inside Google analytics to help you evaluate and measure your social media campaigns/accounts.

1. Social Visitors Flow

The newly added Social Visitors Flow is a visual presentation of how visitors from your social accounts are navigating around your website. If we assume your main goal is to get more traffic to your website, this report quickly gives you a holistic insight into which of the social platforms is sending the most traffic to your site and what your visitors are doing once they get there.

The visualisation outlines the top social referrer, in this case Facebook, the top landing pages and also the page drop off rate. I’d recommend that you compare the drop off rate from social channels to other traffic source i.e. Search. This is so that you can determine which traffic source is sending the most qualified visitor to your site.

The Social Visitors Flow report also outlines a user’s second, third, fourth and fifth interaction. By studying these interactions, you can quickly determine what visitors are looking for on your site and if they’re headed down your conversion funnel.

2. Social Data Hub

Google has partnered with several social networks to provide Google Analytics users with off-site activity data including +1s and comments. You can find the full list of partners for the Social Data Hub here. The notable partners are:

  • Blogger (no surprise there)
  • Disqus
  • Google+ (once again, not a surprise)
  • Delicious
  • Reddit

By navigating to your Social Sources in Google Analytics and then drilling down to the specific platforms, supported by the Social Data Hub, you can gain an insight into what types of content are driving the most engagement and then you can attempt to replicate this in the future.

As you can see above, Google+ is pretty well integrated, which would be expected. You can discover the total number of +1s, comments, posts and shares on Google+, along with a breakdown of these metrics by individual post.

3. Social Value

Google’s Social Overview report features a simple chart outlining Social Value. To get the most out of this chart I’d recommend that you set up goals or conversions within your Google Analytics account, if you don’t have them set up already.

I think it’s imperative that in a social world that you know how social media drives website conversions. The obvious conversions are either purchases or a form completion but you may also want to include micro conversions such as video views or blog visits. Google allows you to define goals based upon a few factors:

  • URL destination— A user landing on a contact form thank you page
  • Visit duration—Specific amount of time spent on the website
  • Pages visited—Number of pages visited on the site
  • Event—User actions such as white paper downloads

The conversions report allows you to quantify the value of social media. It shows the total number of conversion and the monetary value of conversions that occurred as a result of referrals from each network. Below is a breakdown of the terminology:

  • Assisted Social Conversion is the number (and monetary value) of sales and conversions the social network assisted. An assist occurs when someone visits your site, leaves without converting, but returns later to convert during a subsequent visit. The higher these numbers, the more important the assist role of the social network.
  • Last Interaction Conversions is the number (and monetary value) of last click sales and conversions. When someone visits your site and converts, the visit is considered a last click.  The higher these numbers, the more important the social network’s role in driving completion of sales and conversions.

Part Two of this blog will follow shortly, so stay tuned!

READERS: Have you been utilising the social dashboards in Google Analytics?

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This post was written by Liam Foy

As Head of Client Services, Liam ensures that all of his clients’ strategies are on track, delivering ROI and coming up with new ideas to drive them forward. Beer makes him tick, reading, learning and drinking it.