Measuring the impact of Social Media on business has historically been difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. There are some very smart folks in social media are using the API’s to their fullest extent to extract actionable data from the masses of information in platforms like Twitter. For the average website owner, the effects of social media on engagement and conversion has been somewhat difficult to track and monetize.
Now Google, who recently launched the Beta version of it’s own social media platform, Google+ has integrated their Google Plus button data (confusingly different from the Google+ social network) with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.
In the screenshot above I’ve highlighted the new +1 Metrics sections. You can see Search Impact which shows +1 annotated impressions and +1 annotated clicks. This metric can be useful to see how many times your site is being shown in the SERPS based on being “+1’ed”.
The ‘Activity’ tab shows all +1’s and new +1’s. Interestingly, it hasn’t been accurately reflecting my total +1 count, only those occurring directly on my site. So, any +1’s I’ve received from the SERPS are not reflected in this list.
Finally, the ‘Audience’ tab shows unique users who have +1’ed pages on your site and shows ‘characteristics’ once you’ve received enough +1’s (which I haven’t as of this writing). All of these metrics have various usefulness, but what I found most interesting and potentially useful was the +1 integration in Google Analytics.
To access the +1 Metrics in Google Analytics, you have to be using the new version. If you haven’t used the new version yet, just click the “New Version” link at the top right hand corner next to your account settings. Once you are in, you’ll notice the new ‘Social’ tab in the dropdown menu under ‘Visitors’. This is where I see some potential in measuring the role of social media in one very important metric: ROI.
Under the ‘Engagement’ tab, you can compare “Not Socially Engaged” traffic with “Socially Engaged” traffic, comparing metrics like total visits, time on site, pageviews, bounce rate, conversion rate and e-commerce value (where applicable). I haven’t linked this to my Facebook and Twitter site links (it’s kind of involved and I honestly haven’t had the time to implement the code yet) but my +1 traffic metrics are MUCH better than my “not socially engaged” traffic.
Under the ‘Actions’ tab, you can determine the source of the social actions and when it occurred. The ‘Page’ tab displays which page the social action occurred on. I can see this feature being useful to gauge visitor response to posts and actions occurring after the post has been “socially engaged.”
For internet marketers these social metrics mean being able to assign a dollar amount for traffic that has performed a social action on the site. If nothing else, it can help us determine the pages of a site/blog that are the top performers and help us refine campaigns to increase social engagement IF the data deems the social traffic to be more valuable. What it won’t do, however, is record the efforts of a Twitter or Facebook brand building and marketing campaign outside of your site.
I’m currently running a test to see what (if any) impact Google Plus button clicks for my site in the SERPs will have on search. If you want to help out by +1-ing my site, you can find it in this SERP and hook me up! http://bit.ly/qJMBE7 I’ll produce a report with findings if I can get enough participants.