Today, Google announced some exciting enhancements to social media reporting within Google Analytics. Though it will still be a few weeks before everyone is able to use the new reports, here’s a sneak peek into a few of the features that should provide immediate value for GA users.
Social Overview Report
All Google Analytics users will soon have access to a new report that allows you to quantify and visualize the social media contribution to your various site goals, including Ecommerce conversions. This report provides two separate measures of value: last interaction and assisted conversions.
A last interaction goal completion is logged any time a visitor is referred from a social media website and completes a goal during the same session. An assisted goal completion is attributed any time a goal is completed after a visitor is referred by a social media website, regardless of the visit that the completion occurred.
In most cases, the last interaction measure will understate the value of social media on your site, while the overly generous assisted attribution will overstate the contribution. This report effectively creates upper and lower bounds for quantifying social media value. The “true” value is somewhere between those bounds and will depend on the behavior of your sites’ visitors. This will come as a breath of fresh air for GA users who have struggled in the past to identify an aggregate social media valuation for their site based on an amount of retweets, likes, and +1’s.
The only requirement for this report is that you have at least one goal defined for your site. It’s important to note that this report is based on a large predefined list of social networks and is NOT dependent on the UTM link tracking that your organization is using to track traffic sources and marketing campaigns. This means that this functionality is available immediately and you won’t have to worry about making any implementation changes.
Social Conversions Report
In addition to aggregate measures, the “Conversions” report will be used to analyze conversions from individual referring social media sites. Last interaction and assisted conversions are both included along with a ratio of those two metrics. This ratio is meant to quantify whether the referring site is sending upper funnel (relatively high ratio) or direct converting traffic (relatively low ratio).
If your organization relies heavily on Google+ to engage with users, then you’re in luck. (If not, you probably won’t find this new feature incredibly useful.) Google has integrated off-site data from their Social Data Hub partners to provide greater insight into users’ behavior while on these participating social networks. This feature has the potential to be valuable in the future as the amount of partners increases.
There is still a long way to go to clearly define success within the realm of social media. Analysis in these channels must become more about how these networks help our sites accomplish their goals and less about ambiguous popularity metrics. It’s encouraging to see more analytics tools heading in that direction.