Social Analytics Really Starting to Measure Up

As we all know, social media has taken the world by storm, and latest statistics show that Australians are spending more time on social networking sites than ever before. The average Australian will access some form of social networking up to 12.4 times per month [Source:AIMIA / Sensis Social Media Report, May 2011]. Search engines, particularly Google and Bing have incorporated “social signals” as part of their rank algorithm, and we of course all know Google’s own social networking platform, Google +. To take things one step further, Google also recently expanded their Analytics to include social media and provide more in-depth data than ever before. What does this mean? It shows Google is looking to social engagement to determine quality sites, on top of the traditional signals such as on-page factors and quality backlinks. So how can Social Media help with your organic search performance and how can it be measured?

Traffic

By sharing quality content across different social channels, such as TwitterFacebook and YouTube, you’re spreading your presence far and wide across the web. The more doors there are to your content, the more opportunities for users to visit your site. Google Social Analytics has extended their social database to more than 400 social sites. This means it’s easier to see which social sites have referred visitors to your content. One of the highlights include the  “Social Sources” feature which shows which social networks and sites refer the highest quality traffic so you can refine social campaigns. Learn more about capturing the value of Social Media using Google Analytics.

Keyword Rankings

In late 2010, Google and Bing both announced  they do take into account social media mentions as part of their ranking signals. There have been many tests conducted to see if social signals from Google+, Facebook and Twitter really do have any effect on organic search rankings. And yes, it appears that social media signals do have an influence on the search results. Changes of up to 15% have been observed in terms of increases in ranking. Placing social share buttons on your blogs, publishing interesting content, and posting videos, can encourage users to share content and spread it further across the web. “Social Plug-in Analytics” helps you see the effectiveness of the content and from which social network. For example, if you publish articles on your site, you’ll want to know which articles are most commonly “liked” or shared, and from which social networks they’re being shared. You can use this information to create more of the right type of content.

Conversions

The link between social and conversions has now been bridged with Google Analytics Social Conversions report. This allows businesses to quantify the value of social media by showing the total number and the monetary value of conversions that occurred as a result of referrals from each social network. Google further breaks down conversion types into ‘Last Interaction’ (social referral generated conversions immediately) and ‘Assisted Conversions’. Last Interaction is when someone visits your site and converts. The visit is considered a last click.  The higher these numbers, the more important the social network’s role in driving completion of sales and conversions. An Assisted Conversion occurs when someone visits your site, leaves without converting, but returns later to convert during a subsequent visit. If this number is high, it means that particular social network is very important in assisting conversions. This is useful, as it shows which content is effective in conversions and which needs attention. Insights from this, also allows better direction in creating other marketing initiatives. We can now see just how achievable measuring the value and effectiveness of your social initiatives can be using Google’s Social Analytics. By participating, optimising and measuring your social components, businesses can see the bigger picture on how their online assets work together. Are you already using Google Social Analytics? If so, what impact has it had on your business?

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