sg1Social media is booming and cannot be ignored as an important marketing channel, however, it is particularly difficult for brands to measure the impact and effectiveness of social initiatives.



Google finally looked into the subject and added Social Reports to Google Analytics. Analyzing the complete picture of how social media impacts business, the company came up with four elements that define the social effect:

  1. Sources: As your content is shared and people come to your site, it's important to understand how visitors from different social sources engage with your site;
  2. Conversions: Shared content URLs become the entry points into your site, driving traffic from social sources. Measuring the conversion and monetary value of this traffic will help you understand the impact of social on your business.
  3. Pages: People increasingly engage with, share, and discuss content on social networks. It’s important to know which pages and content are being shared, where they're being shared, and how.
  4. Social Plugins: Adding Social Plugin buttons to your site (for example, Google "+1" buttons) allows your users share content to social networks directly from your site. Your social plugin data shows you which content is being shared, and on which networks.

Further, the Overview report allows you to see at a glance how much conversion value is generated from social channels and the Social Value graph compares the number and monetary value of all goal completions versus those that resulted from social referrals.

A visit from a social referral may result in a conversion immediately or it may assist in a conversion that occurs later on. Referrals that generate conversions immediately are labeled as Last Interaction Social Conversions in the graph. If a referral from a social source does not immediately generate a conversion, but the visitor returns later and converts, the referral is included in Assisted Social Conversions. Looking at both assisted and last interaction conversions is essential to understanding the role that Social plays in business outcomes.

But let’s get back to the four elements that define the social impact and take a closer look:

  1. Navigate to Sources to see engagement metrics (Pageviews, Avg. Visit Duration, Pages/Visit) for traffic from each social network. This allows you to see which social networks referred the highest quality traffic. For example, you may wish to increase your investment in the social networks that referred fewer visits but higher quality traffic. The Sources report is enhanced with off-site data for social data hub partner networks. Click on a partner network to see the URLs that were shared on that site, how they were shared (for example, via a "+1" or "reshare" action), and the conversations that took place about your content (Activity Stream).
  2. Navigate to Pages to see engagement metrics (Pageviews, Avg. Visit Duration, Pages/Visit) for each URL. Sort by Social Activities in the table to identify your most viral content. Click a URL in the table to see the originating social networks for that URL. For social data hub partner networks, you can also see offsite sharing for the URL: how the URL was shared (for example, via a "+1" or "reshare" action), the networks on which it was shared, and the conversations that took place (Activity Stream).
  3. The Conversions report allows you to quantify the value of Social. It shows the total number of conversion and the monetary value of conversions that occurred as a result of referrals from each network. Click Assisted vs Last Interaction Analysis (just below the Explorer tab at the top of the report) to see how each network contributed to conversions and revenue via assists and last clicks. Of course you have to define goals and goal values in order to see data in this report.
  4. Assisted Conversions and Assisted Conversion Value: This 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.
  5.  Last Interaction Conversions and Last Interaction Conversion Value:  This 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.
  6.  Assisted/Last Interaction Conversions:  This ratio summarizes the social network’s overall role. A value close to 0 indicates that the social network functioned primarily in a last click capacity. A value close to 1 indicates that the social network functioned equally in an assist and a last click capacity. The more this value exceeds 1, the more the social network functioned in an assist capacity.

The Social Plug-in reports show which articles on your site are most commonly shared and which social buttons are being clicked to share them (for example, Google "+1" or Facebook "Like").If you have     Google "+1" and Facebook "Like" buttons on your site, it's important to know which buttons are being clicked and for which content. You can use this information to create more of the type of content that's     popular with your visitors. Also, if you find that some buttons are rarely used, you may wish to remove them to reduce clutter.

Always keep in mind that in order to see values in your reporting, you'll need to establish values for your goals and/or set up ecommerce tracking. For non-ecommerce goals, a good way to manually configure goal value is to evaluate how often the visitors who reach the goal become customers.

By Anjum Siddiqi