Is Google the 500 Pound Gorilla in Social?

Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of social media activities has always presented an issue for marketers. How do you prove to your client or company that all those hours spent chatting online with fans and followers will lead to money back in their pocket?

That’s what the new features in Google Analytics are trying to answer. Announced earlier this week, in a post by Phil Mui, Product Manager for Google Analytics (GA), Google will be rolling out social-focused reports to its analytics over the next coming weeks (the new features will be available under the Standard Reporting Tab).

How do these reports differ from the previous generation of Google Analytics reports? The social reports developed in GA will measure beyond counting mentions, retweets and analyzing sentiment. The focus will be on the business metrics that tie into the client/executive team’s bottom line, allowing for better measurement of the full value of the social channel for businesses.

As identified in Phil’s post, the new reports will help to:

  • Identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to direct conversions or assist in future conversions
  • Understand social activities happening both on and off the website to help the advertiser optimize user engagement and increase social key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Make better, more  efficient data-driven decisions in social media marketing programs

That sounds pretty amazing right? It doesn’t stop there, the new analytics can also track the harder-to-measure cases (the ones that make the marketer lose sleep at night) where they don’t lead directly to a conversion, but may contribute indirectly. So if someone visits a website by following a link from Twitter, then returns in a week to buy something, Google will track that too. Google can then assign a monetary value to those interactions which, in turn, helps companies decide whether the money they might be putting into a social marketing campaign on Facebook or Twitter is actually paying off.

Beyond all this, GA will also feature an activity stream tab that tracks what people are saying about a company on social networks. Since this tool comes from Google, the only big social media platform you will be able to track right now is Google+ (Other participants include Digg, Disqus, and Reddit) with the inclusion of larger social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to be made down the line. A key consideration is that if this is rolled out in the way that Google is expecting, this may threaten the business models of alternate social monitoring platforms.

I know that I’m excited for the new reports to roll out and would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below or tweet at me @dac_group.

Simone Coucill, PR and Communications Manager

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2 Comments

  1. SHobbs
    2012-03-27 14:33:57

    It's all about the metrics, thanks for sharing.

  2. Scott Ensign
    2012-03-22 20:12:05

    This (much like Google Search Plus Your World) is a cool thing that would be cool and useful if it included meaningful data from the real 500 pound gorillas in social. Hopefully that's on the way.

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