The Google Analytics team has just announced a new initiative to improve its social reporting capabilities: Social Data Hub. It’s not (yet) a set of reports but rather a way for Google Analytics to centralize social activity from a variety of social networks.
Making Social Reports More Comprehensive
Earlier this year, Google Analytics launched Social Interaction Analysis, a set of reports and functionality that enables websites to track social interaction with their content.
With Social Data Hub, Google is opening its interface to enable social media platforms to make their impact visible to marketers, publishers and analysts using Google Analytics. This means that marketers will now have access to social interaction happening in and outside their websites.
In order to do this, Google needs to integrate activity streams from multiple social networks. While this is great news for marketers and analysts, integrating this data will certainly be tricky, as we learned from Danny Sullivan analysis of how major social activities don’t agree on common definitions such as followers.
Some Reasons For Joining
In addition, some social networks won’t be running to send their data to Google, especially as social networking becomes an important part of Google’s business. But there is a clear advantage on this initiative for both networks and end users:
For customers, Google Analytics is the tool that many companies — perhaps even most — use to measure their websites. Having social data integrated into it would be a great step into having a centralized tracking platform. It can potentially provide a broad, comprehensive and inclusive picture of global social landscape to marketers and publishers along with their website clickstream data.
For social networks, if Google manages to bring in substantial players, the ones that don’t join the initiative will have a disadvantage, as their data will not be seen by marketers using Google Analytics. Professionals usually like to have all their efforts measured, so they might very well focus more on measurable networks.
Who’s In? (Hint: Not Facebook & Twitter)
Below is a list of partners that have already joined the Social Data Hub from Google Analytics.
- Google Blogger
- Google Groups
The biggest players, Facebook and Twitter, as well as LinkedIn, are missing from the list.
Activity Streams Specification
According to Google, those participating will be following the Activity Streams specification, an industry format for describing socially interesting events about the people and things an individual may care about.
In its simplest form, an activity consists of an actor, a verb and an object. It tells the story of a person performing an action on or with an object, such as ”Danny wrote a comment” or “Matt liked a post.”
Any of the data submitted may potentially be used but it must adhere to the specification.
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