Google Analytics Launches New Social Reports To Measure Social ROI

google analyticsGoogle Analytics has announced new social reports today, designed to help marketers measure the return on investment for social media activities.

“Many social measurement tools focus on social listening by monitoring keywords and buzz. While they’re helpful in many cases, these tools don’t connect the dots to show how investments in different social channels ultimately lead to sales or business objectives,” said Phil Mui, Google Analytics group product manager, explaining how the new tool is designed to go beyond listening.

“Our goal with the new reports is to tie social activities and referrals to measurable, meaningful economic value so businesses can more effectively evaluate which social channels are impacting their bottom line, and which tactics will lead to measurable economic value,” Mui said.

The New Social Reports

The new set of reports will be available under the “Social” tab in Google Analytics. Some may see them today, and they should roll out to all users in the coming weeks.

Current reports under Social include:

  • Engagement
  • Action
  • Pages

After the change, the new set of reports will be:

  • Overview
  • Sources
  • Pages
  • Conversions
  • Social Plugins
  • Social Visitor Flow

Below is a preview of each of the new reports.

Overview Report

As in most overview reports in Google Analytics, this view is a mini-dashboard containing data from all the other social reports (click to enlarge the image):

It also contains a Social Value visualization of how social networks contribute to website conversions as last source as opposed to somewhere else in the path to funnel:

Google Analytics Social Reports

See the Sources and Conversions reports sections below for a deeper explanation of what’s in the Social Value overview.

Sources Report

This report shows the source activity based on social referrers (click to enlarge):

Google unifies different URLs that can be used to send traffic from one social network. For example, Twitter may send traffic from both and Traffic from both sources are combined under the category of Twitter).

For participating Social Data Hub partners (as explained at the end of this story), there’s a prominent icon to show users that these networks offer additional information when drilling down:

Social Media Sources

For Google+, one of the partners, it will show detailed information about each URL such as +1, posts, reshares and comments. The actual conversations can be seen within Google Analytics itself, for example (click to enlarge):

Each Social Data Hub partner may report different data sets.

Pages Report

This report will show social activity per page, what happened on the site and off, offsite when it comes to specific website content. Here’s an example of how it looks when you drill-down into stats for a particular page (click to enlarge):

Conversions Report

The Conversions Report provides a quick view of which social sources drove conversions on the site. It shows both regular goals and ecommerce, enabling a quick view of which social sources create value (click to enlarge):

The report also shows key metrics based on last-click conversion rate (as in all standard reports), and it also provides “conversion assists”, similar to multi-channel funnels, but customized for social sources (click to enlarge):

This report is seen for all networks, whether they are part of the Social Data Hub or not.

Social Plugins Report

This report is very similar to what is offered today in the Social Action reports, a summary of pages and the social activity that happened when it comes to social plugins in the site, such as clicking on a like, tweet or +1 button:

Social Visitors Flow Report

A version of the Visitors Flow feature modified to social sources:

Basically, it enables marketers to understand the path followed by website visitors coming from social sources.

Integrating Social Data Hub

As you can see, some sections of the reports have the ability to drill-down further into data and reflect things like comments, shares or likes right within Google Analytics. This is possible because of Social Data Hub, an initiative that Google launched last December that allows social networks to send activity into Google Analytics.

Large networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have stayed out Social Data Hub, so the new social reports won’t include some of their activity. But most of the reports work eve without Social Data Hub participation, by tapping into referrer data.

Social Data Hub Partners: Who’s In?

According to the Google Analytics code site, the following networks are participating in Social Data Hub:

  1. AllVoices
  2. Badoo
  3. Blogger
  4. Delicious
  5. Digg
  6. Diigo
  7. Disqus
  8. Echo
  9. Gigya
  10. Google+
  11. Google Groups
  12. Hatena
  13. Livefyre
  14. Meetup
  15. Read It Later
  16. Reddit
  17. Screen Rant
  18. SodaHead
  19. TypePad
  20. VKontakte
  21. yaplog!

Will Others Join?

How about the major companies that aren’t taking part? As I wrote last December in my analysis of Social Data Hub:

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.

Since then, the number of companies has doubled. But what might really drive the big players to join up are the new reports out today. If marketers can easily measure how well those social networks perform, more resources might be devoted to them. Better visibility within Google Analytics might be the carrot to attract the hold-outs.

Related Articles

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Analytics | Channel: Analytics | Features & Analysis | Google: Analytics | Google: Google+ | Social Media Marketing | Top News


About The Author: is the Founder of Conversion Journey, a Google Analytics Certified Partner. He is also the founder of Online Behavior, a Marketing Measurement & Optimization website. You can follow him on Google+ or Twitter.

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  • tonyknuckles

    Great, one more piece of data to monitor for the already overloaded stats monsters!!

  • Daniel Ha

    It was great working with Google on this! The new Social Analytics is very, very cool.

  • Shaad Hamid

     This is welcome news! Wish Facebook and Twitter became Social Data Hub Partners as well..

  • Douglas Karr

    So I see Facebook and Twitter in the reports but not on the list of participants in the Social Hub.  So are these mockups?

  • MHazell

     Glad that Disqus is in on this.

  • James Norquay

    Interesting I wonder is social media monitoring tools will take a hit as a result of this going live?

  • Ralph du Plessis

    This is long overdue and MOST welcome. 

  • Anonymous

    Interesting and nice post, Google is narrowing down all the tools.

  • trommsdorff + drüner

    great and long overdue. hope the feature will be available in germany soon!

  • Ric Dragon

    As Ralph and Shaad mention, above, this is a welcome addition to the GA toolset. BUT! Marketers should know, of course, that the behavior of users on your site from social is only one part of the social roi mix.  Our own business has grown over 50% this past year because of our Twitter usage – but I’m not sure that a retroactive review of GA would reveal any predicators of that success.

  • Daniel Waisberg

    I think that the fact the Disqus is a partner will be highly beneficial to everyone. I will certainly be migrating to Disqus in my own website…

  • Daniel Waisberg

    Douglas, Facebook and Twitter still will be recognized as a Social sources and we will still be able to use Google Analytics to measure interaction with the their buttons *inside* the website. However, Facebook and Twitter did not open their internal data for Google, which means we can’t know what happens inside their walls, data that we will get from all the partners.

  • Nick Stamoulis

    The flow report is a great add-on. I think too often site owners are looking for a direct line from a social site to a sale, and it just doesn’t work that way. Having it outlined like that is very useful to help see the whole picture. 

  • evalperiod

    Great point James.  I actually just wrote an article on that here:

  • Anonymous

    We at Livefyre are really excited about the Google Analytics integration. It’s been the go-to analytics product on the market for years now, and we’re pumped to have our data be a part of its continued evolution. The Googlers we worked with were knowledgeable, helpful, and overall very impressive. They’ve got a great team in Analytics over there.

  • Anonymous

    Is this just campaign analytics on social referrers along with integrations to some very minor social players?

    I like that you get some tagging on your site share buttons, but given that 92% of all social time spent is done on FB, this is IMO only effective for automatic referrer measurement.

  • Anonymous

    What happens to 40% of the traffic coming from the Facebook and Twitter mobile apps?

    Apps does not have a referrer and will be deemed unknown referrer unless tagged with campaign ids.

    I like that buttons get tagged onsite, but I don’t think much of the hub without FB and Twitter there. More than 90% of all time on social media is spent on FB.

  • Daniel Waisberg

    Galoredk, Google is using an advanced algorithm to recognize traffic from a large number of networks in different formats and devices. With that said, tagging your traffic with utm campaigns ( would be extremely helpful to your data accuracy.

  • Daniel Waisberg

    Galoredk. As I mentioned in the post, it is a big issue that the biggest players (FB, TW, LNKD) did not (and probably will not) join this initiative.

    However, the fact that players like Disqus joined really made my day… Comments are extremely valuable social interactions and other types will follow.

    Hoping more news will come in the future.

  • Studio Fotograficzne

    This might sound silly but what is I DO NOT have this tab Social under the Traffic Sources section in my Analytics account?

    Can anyone help?

  • Monica Wright

    I know it’s been rolling out slowly to accounts, as of recently, for example, logging into GA with my personal account I could see the report, with other accounts I could not.

  • David Smet

    A lot of social activity comes from apps which don’t pass a referrer. Is it possible to tag the links I publish on social media so that when they are accessed from a social media app, they can be tracked as “social” in GA even though no referrer information is present?

    Can I apply utm_medium=social or utm_medium=socialmedia on my links to have that traffic automatically merged into social reports? Which one should I use: utm_medium=social OR utm_medium=socialmedia?

  • Sofie Westlake

    Does anyone know what this line means ‘’ in my GA Social Sources Report  (when I drill down into LinedIn)? I do advertise on LinkedIN – but the paid-ad visit numbers are 2644 and the Social Platform organic visit numbers are 1449. Part of the 1449 are about 640 visits from ‘’ – so it cant be all my paid-for ads that it does not add up…????
    Thanks for any advice.
    PS – nice article by the way, would love a doubly detailed one that drills into the spec / definition so that I can understand questions like the one I have above. Cheers

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