Social media marketing has had a significant obstacle to overcome, that being demonstrating its value through clear, authoritative analytical data. That all may change with the strong social push Google is making, including the addition of tracking Facebook Likes, Tweets and +1.
According to a recent report by Mashable, Google is now offering the following functionality.
“Google Webmaster Tools now has a “+1 Metrics” section, which provides reports on the impact of the +1 Button on search. The new analytics show how +1s affect your website’s click through rate (CTR). It tracks the amount of +1s on a given page, the CTR with +1 annotations and the CTR without +1 annotation. The new tool also graphs out the amount of annotated impressions and annotated clicks your website receives over time.”
Google Webmaster Tools has long been the center for link evaluation in regards to Google. This new addition verifies social media links in a new way, and provides clear new metrics to gauge performance.
Additional features in Webmaster Tools include an Activity report and an Audience report. The activity report is really cool; it shows how many +1s each of your individual web pages has received. This will give marketers clear indications on which of their pages are the most conducive to Google sharing. The audience report provides even more exciting data, as it gives geographic and demographic information on the users who have +1ed the content on your website. Google will pull this information directly from the Google account that was associated with the +1 action.
Now that we have discussed webmaster tools, let’s take a look at the new Google Analytics social media features.
According to Google, “The Social Engagement reports allow you to see how people shared content on your site via social actions. Examples of social actions on your site that can be tracked include Google +1 button clicks, Facebook “Like” and “Send” interactions, and Del.icio.us bookmarks.”
There are three main reports that will play a role in this social media analysis. Let’s take a look, shall we? I will let Google provide the main definitions for each.
Visitors > Social > Engagement: Compare number of pages viewed per visit, average time on site, bounce rate, and other metrics for visits that included and did not include social actions.
This report allows you to compare and contrast a few different things. First, you can determine how social media users vs. non-social media users interact with your site. This will allow you to evaluate the validity of the social media crowd you are drawing in. The next use is to pin social media traffic against each other, or see how traffic from a site like Facebook compares to traffic from +1s. In this report you can determine the traffic value based on things like bounce rate, goals completed, time on site, etc.
Visitors > Social > Action: Compare the number of social actions (+1 clicks, Likes, etc) for each social source and social source-action combination.
I am going to let Google explain this one.
“For example, you can compare the number of Facebook Like’s versus Facebook Send’s on your site, or compare the total number of Facebook interactions with the total number of Twitter interactions.” – Google
Interpret that explanation from Google as you will. We will need to see and test the interface to be sure how it works exactly. While this is the case, it seems as though each social share feature, be it one from Facebook, Twitter, etc, has its own identifier that will allow Google to count the number of times it is utilized, a very strong new feature for marketers.
Visitors > Social > Pages: This report allows you to compare the number of actions on each page of your site. You can see this information by social source or by social source-action combination.
This is the report that takes social actions down to the page level. In this report we will be able to see the pages that stimulated the most action on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
This is an exciting time for social media marketing analytics. It is great to see Google getting on board. With Google in the mix, we can expect to see more quality in the social media space in regards to analytics and overall functionality. It will be fun to watch the integration with Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and the Google Plus Project as things unfold.