Tracking Social Engagement in Google Analytics

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Google recently announced the introduction of Social Engagement reports in Google Analytics. The new reports allow you to see Google +1 metrics along with other types of social sharing actions that are occurring on your website.

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Google +1 social engagement interactions are automatically tracked by default in Google Analytics. However, as you might know most websites use social button actions from other suppliers such as Twitter, Facebook, Delicious and LinkedIn. That's why Google has provided a social plugin that allows us to track these additional social interactions. By tracking social interactions in Google Analytics and using the Social Engagement reports you can gain more insights into your visitors' behaviour.

The Social Engagement reports enable you to:

1. Compare visitor engagement metrics such as visits per page, time on site and bounce rate between your socially engage visitors and your regular (not socially engaged) website visitors.

2. Analyse goal conversion rate and percentage of e-commerce transactions generated by socially engaged visits.

3. Determine which social sources are preferred by your visitors. For example, most of your users might share your content via Twitter, rather than Facebook.

4. Compare which actions are the most common for a particular source. For example, users that are social engaged using Facebook; do they use the 'like' or 'send' option more often.

5. Calculate the percentage of socially engaged visits that reached the site through a social media link and then converted.

6. Identify which content on your site is the most shared using the social actions and in which part (page) of your website these actions took place.

Most of you have been using event tracking to track social engagement interactions such as 'like', 'tweet' and 'send', among others. The method to track social interactions has a similar syntax to event tracking. The following is an example of the event method and how it should be changed using the track social method.

Before (using Event Tracking):

_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'facebook', 'like', document.location.href]);

After (using Social Interaction Tracking):

_gaq.push(['_trackSocial', 'facebook', 'like', document.location.href]);

This tracking should occur once the social interaction is completed. It is important to differentiate between social engagement actions and clicks on links that drive people to your social media sites. A link to your Twitter profile from your website should continue being measured as an outbound link while a piece of your content being Tweeted should be tracked as a social engagement action.

Watch our video on measuring Social Media in Google Analytics:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk_O0Fbcl_E

Enjoyed the video? Checkout more Google Analytics videos on our YouTube channel.