A number of B2Bs have invested significant time in social media over the last few years, only to be frustrated by the difficulty of tracking traffic coming to their site from social networks …which makes it correspondingly difficult to demonstrate the return on that investment. Why can’t I simply track this traffic via my Analytics package, just like everything else? …they say.
Well, in a reinforcement of the old saw, “all things come to those who wait”… Google has heard your prayer. In case you haven’t been watching, the 800-pound gorilla has become much more social of late, with rollouts of Google+ (its own social network) and the Google +1 button (think of it as akin to the Facebook like).
With substantially less fanfare, Google has also released an upgraded version of Analytics that goes a long way to answering the plaintive cry voiced above. Posting on the Social Media Examiner blog, Tim Ware says:
“This new Analytics feature allows you to track social interactions on your website, your blog or on your Facebook fan page. These actions include the Twitter button and the Facebook Like, Unlike and Send actions.”
Tim’s testing revealed that the following functions are currently supported…
- Facebook Like, Unlike, Send
- Twitter (only via the “official” Tweet button, not Tweetmeme or other third-party buttons)
Also, per Google: out of the box, Google Analytics provides integrated tracking with the Google +1 button; so if you’ve set up both Google +1 and the latest version of Google Analytics on the same page, all +1 social interactions will be tracked automatically.
Not yet included is the LinkedIn Share button, apparently due to some sort of bug in the Share function itself.
So what’s the catch?
Now that we’ve all overdosed on such great news… there’s probably some suspicion that there may be a price to pay. And there is… but not in dollars. Rather, it’s in the fact that implementing the capability is not quite as simple as merely downloading and installing the latest version of Analytics. Yes, you do need to do that; but you also have to go in and make some teensy-weensy changes to your web page files. Says Tim, “It’s pretty basic, but you should be somewhat comfortable working with HTML files.”
Your reward will be in the reports generated by GA, which are pretty slick and just what the doctor ordered. Warning! … now you’re pretty much out of excuses for not being able to show the ROI of your social media investment.
Has anyone tried out the new socially-enabled Analytics? …please share in the Comments.