Getting the Most out of Google+ with Google Analytics

by Jon Cilley on Apr 05, 2012

It’s a marriage we’ve been waiting for.

The ability to integrate Google’s powerful analytical tool Google Analytics with Google+. Over the past couple weeks, this update has been rolling out to various profiles and I have to say I love it.

Why?

Well in the brief time of my new blog I’ve wondered what people have been saying about my particular posts if they forgot to +mentioned me. So how do you leverage these new features as well old ones to get the most out of Google+?

Let’s start with the new.

The New:

From a standalone perspective when I was initially using Google+ as my blog, people would have to share my posts in theory from my original post or others’ who reshared.

What this did was afford me the opportunity to receive a notification of the interaction, giving me the option to engage back. But one of the initial challenges I found with possessing my own domain and posting independently of Google+ was this forgotten +mention problem.

You simply do not know when people are talking about your website or sharing it. Hence the boom in monitoring services like Radian6. And why analytics companies are getting more social, like Webtrends.

So now, by going to the standard reporting tab at the top of your Google Analytics profile and then clicking on these tabs on the left-hand side: traffic sources → social → sources → Google+ → activity stream, you can now see a breakdown of shares, direct posts, and comments.

This gives you the opportunity to engage people who may have forgotten to mention you in their post, and creates the chance for you to engage socially and hopefully spark a positive conversation or address a particular concern.

So if you come across this, and would like to engage them, you can accomplish this by clicking on the carrot at the top right of the notification and then click “view activity” sending you directly to their post.

Google Analytics also has the ability to see which pages are getting the most social engagements. You can then leverage these engagements to see what type of audience you are reaching.

For instance, some posts may warrant a +1 and/or discussion, and others may encourage shares. In my experience comments and +1’s usually go hand-in-hand from the original post, and shares are usually when readers are looking to take the conversation offline on their individual page.

To view this go to: traffic sources → social → pages.

From here you can get into even more detail, determining how these totals vary across each page. To do this – once already on the pages tab listed above – click on: individual page → social network (Google+) → Social Network and Action. From there you can see posts, reshares, comments and +1’s.

The Old

To coincide with some of the cool new features, here are a couple tools you might have missed. These are nothing new, but important to keep in mind when posting.

The first is tracking code. You should add this code on each link you post, and tailor it to each unique social media site you may use. If you manage it correctly, you should be able to create a singular “campaign” you can measure against.

Every post you have should have this tracking code within it and if it is being posted on a social media site it should be one singular campaign. So how to do this? It’s very easy.

First click here, from this URL builder you can develop a custom link built off of the original. So take whatever link you look to promote and cut and paste it in the “Website URL” box. Keep in mind, this has to be a link built off of your main domain that has been linked within Google Analytics.



Now everyone is different regarding the rest of this walkthrough, but typically this is what I do.

So for me, in the “Campaign Source” box, I will paste the title of my blog with a dash separating each word. Putting spaces will only generate “+” signs in between each word when you finally view it in Google Analytics anyways, so I chose dashes.

Then I’ll put a date on the end. Even if I post the same link twice, but on different dates, I will change the date.

The advantage of this is to see which post worked and when. From the “Campaign Medium” section I will put the social media site I’m posting on (Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter or whatever site you are promoting on), and lastly in the “Campaign Name” box I will title it “Social Media” (for some reason you can put spaces in between words in the Medium and Campaign Name boxes, but not in the sources section).

Hit “Generate URL,” copy from the bottom box and post. The link will also work from whatever shortner you use as well (bitly, etc.).

These will generate campaigns once readers start clicking on these links and interacting. The benefit of this is to see what type of traffic you are generating from posts you yourself post.

So it’s important to keep the campaign name the same, that way they will all flow into one spot. To view your results go to: traffic sources → sources → campaigns → social media (or whatever you titled your campaign).

Referral Detail

Another tool to provide more social media referral detail is by creating an advanced segment. These can be used to filter out traffic regarding any site, and are extremely helpful to see which social network site is providing the most traffic.

How to do this?

While staying in your standard reporting section click on the advanced segments tab at the top and then click on the bottom right button: “+ New Custom Segment.” For this example I’ve titled this one “Google+.”

From here click on the “add dimension or metric” box and type the word “source” and select it (it should be highlighted green once selected). Make sure the next (grey) box says “containing” and then type “plus.url.google.com.”

To also add campaign traffic in the same segment hit add “OR” statement and (in my case), I’ll click on the same “add dimension or metric” box and select “medium” this time. In the new dialogue box, this time I’ll type “Google Plus,” which is what I titled Google+ traffic in the “Campaign Medium” section in the URL builder in the previous paragraph.

Hit save and that should be it. From there you can do the same workflow typing “facebook.com,” “twitter.com,” “pinterest.com,” etc., to measure against one another. You can create as many advanced segments as you want, but only four can be viewed together at the same time.

Use these to see which sites are referring the most traffic, as well as the most quality traffic. It will be different for everyone depending on which sites you historically have the most engagement on, but these tools are fantastic for viewing your social impact. So post great stuff, analyze and have fun.

Post Author

Writer and owner of The Connected Monster, a blog site devoted to Android, Apple, social media, gadgets, and other tech-related topics....

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    Thanks for the sharing…

  • Kenneth Thomsen

    thanks for the good review. It was just what I was needed