I hope that it doesn’t surprise you to hear that at Scratch Marketing + Media, we’re big believers in the power of social media. No matter your industry—whether you’re a thriller author hoping to get your 18th book on the , or the wholesale cranberry distributor educating consumers about the dangers of mislabeling, social media is a crucial way to share your story with a community interested in what you have to say.
That being said, we’re fully aware of the need to back up our beliefs with some hard data. Especially in the face of this inevitable question: What’s the ROI?
Enter Social Analytics, introduced by Google at the end of March. Through social analytics, Google identifies and measures the extent to which your social media efforts are helping your brand accomplish its goals in an efficient and consistent basis.
Despite the copious information that social reports provide (filtered data from over 400 social media channels) this tool (like most tools) is only a means to an end. It does not represent the silver bullet for improving your marketing plans. To make the most of this report, marketers need to have a clear map of their goals and burning questions in mind.
Here is the breakdown of the available metrics. You can also find a detailed overview here.
- Conversions: Measures the amount of goal conversions influenced by a brand’s social media efforts, displayed in visual charts that plot out the estimated monetary value. Conversions are grouped into two buckets: Last Interaction Social Conversions, or the instances where leads travel directly from the brand’s social channel to the goal destination, and Assisted Conversions, where there is an undisclosed amount of time and activities that occur between the leads interacting with a brand’s social content and completing a conversion. GA breaks conversions down by source, helping you to decide which channels are bringing in the most traffic and to scope opportunities ripe for more conversions.
- Sources: Social sources allow you to measure total website traffic against the channels that users came from (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc). This is a great way to track which campaigns are most successful from channel to channel.
- Sharing: Viral content—content that you immediately want to post on the wall of your best friend from kindergarten, or tweet to everyone who is also obsessed with The Hunger Games—is our favorite kind of content. Measuring the amount of people that decided to share your content across social media channels is possible through Google’s Social Plugin Analytics. This gives you a better idea of which sharing buttons on your website users are clicking on, and what types of articles they most often spread around.
So, there you have it—Social Analytics are an important way to show your CEO, boss, client, grandfather, or whoever is pestering you about the point of social media that it does contribute to the bottom line. However, in order for these insights to really matter, they need to be analyzed for opportunities for improvement and highlight tasks that are a waste of time. Marshall Sponder summed up this sentiment in a recent post on Search Engine Watch, which we highly recommend you read. He reminds us that this new wealth of information is only valuable when it’s part of a larger story. It’s up to marketers to tell the story and decide what social data they need to make the story more complete.
Have you used Social Analytics to measure your brand’s marketing efforts? What have you learned so far?