Google Introduces Social Engagement Tracking in Webmaster Tools and Analytics

In Hot off the Press by Marius Badenhorst

Google last week announced the launch of 2 new social engagement reporting tools that have been included in Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. This comes shortly after the launch of “Me on the Web”, Google +1 and Google+ which have been great motivators of getting more and more people to sign up to a Google account, effectively giving Google access to a lot of the information necessary for enabling social engagement tracking in Webmaster Tools and Google analytics.

Let’s take a brief look at the latest reporting tools introduced by Google:

1. Google +1 Metrics in Webmaster Tools

Google has introduced what they’ve called the “+1 Metrics” section to Webmaster Tools. This section essentially gives webmasters the ability to see how Google +1 is affecting the traffic coming into their site from Google’s SERPs. The +1 Metrics are split into 3 sections:

1.1 Search Impact: One is able to track how many impressions your +1’d pages have received and how many clickthrough’s you’ve had to your site as a result of these impressions.

1.2 Activity: With the Activity report, one is able track how many times any particular page on your website has been +1’d, either via buttons on your site, or buttons elsewhere such as Google search results or ads.

1.3 Audience Report: The audience report enables you to track different characteristics of people have previously +1’d a page on your website, via search engines or you site itself.

Below is a screenshot taken from the Google Analytics Blog of the new Webmaster Tools Metrics section:

2. Google analytics Social Engagement Plug-in

The Social Engagement Plug-in enables one to track social interaction on your website, across most key social platforms such as Google +1, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. If you are using the latest version of Google Analytics on your website, you will automatically be tracking Google +1 engagement, however for the remainder of the social platforms you will need to customize your JavaScript tracking script in order to analyze these.

The Social Engagement data can be found under the “Visitors” section of your analytics profile. As with Webmaster Tools, the Social Engagement Plug-in for analytics is also broken up into 3 different sections:

2.1 Social Engagement: This section enables you to see the differences in behavior of people who share pages on your site via +1 or any other social platforms. You can for example see if people who share data convert better than those who don’t, or whether they spend more time on the site than “non-sharers”.

2.2 Social Actions: A well organized collection of data in one place that allows you to see exactly how many social actions have been taken on your site as a whole via the different social media platforms that you are tracking. You can for example see how many “likes” or “tweets” your site has received in its entirety.

2.3 Social Pages: The last of the social engagement tools allows you to see compare the social activity of individual pages and track which pages are being shared the most compared to the rest of the site.

Below is a screenshot of the Social Engagement Plug-in in Google Analytics, taken from the Google analytics blog:

All in all, this is an extremely useful addition to Google analytics which could have an interesting effect on the social media strategies that are being implemented and paid for around the world. Unfortunately there are many self proclaimed “Social Media Gurus” out there who are going to be challenged by the fact that the monetary worth and ROI of social media work is becoming more measurable by the day. No longer will ineffective social media strategies get away with not actually providing any worthy results for clients. Only the best in the game will be able to back up the investments their clients are making in them with some cold hard facts and measurable social media statistics.

Either way, this is a great new addition to social media that is sure to continue evolving over the next few months as Google gets an even tighter grasp on the measurement of social engagement.

About the Author

Marius Badenhorst