2009 / 20 October

New Google Analytics Features Can Help You Track Your Social Media Success & Failures

Avinash Kaushik at eMetrics

*This content was previously published on Social Conversations in October 2009.  Social conversations was a product of Serengeti Communications which closed in 2012.

Avinash Kaushik at eMetrics

Avinash Kaushik at eMetrics

While attending the eMetrics conference in the Washtington, DC area, Google’s Analytics Evangelist,Avinash Kaushik announced a whole slew of new features being applied to Google Analytics.  From my take on it from a social media perspective, this can help companies start to track some of their measurements they were doing manually for measurement in social media.

So what all did Avinash announce?

  • Experimental API for Google Website Optimizer
  • Unlimited unique user analysis (which also shows as trending)
    • Avinash emphasized it’s “True” unique user data
    • You also can do this by picking unique time frames, you don’t have to “add” all your data together like with other analytics packages
  • Advanced Table Filtering – Avinash calls this “In Line Analysis
    • You can choose your segmentation values
  • 2 New Behavior Types of Goal Tracking
    • Number of Pages View
    • Time
  • Custom Variables
    • Setting up variables such as
      • Comments left on blog
      • Traffic coming in from specific types of sites (such as blogs)
    • You can track things at a visitor, session, page  (visit) level
  • Free Mobile Application (Apps) Tracking
  • Custom Alerts
    • You want to know about those people coming from blogs – you can be alerted now!
  • Intelligence  – New Dashboard Additions
    • Automatic Alerts – these will appear automatically now when you log into GA and see your dashboard.  GA’s algorithm will look for anomalies in your data and alert you to them automatically
Unique Visitors Slide from Avinash Kaushik

Unique Visitors Slide from Avinash Kaushik

Avinash also went on to say that this new intelligence which is giving you a peek into the “unknowns” is only phase one of what Google’s planning to roll out.

So how does this help your social media strategy and measurement?  Well for starters as Avinash pointed out, you can now track comments in Google Analytics by setting up custom variables.  This is something currently you have to manually put into a spreadsheet to keep track of, now it can be easily integrated into your Google Analytics tracking.

The same could be said for monitoring how much traffic you are getting from blogs, or specific types of sites.  The custom alerts allow you to be notified and this could even help you discover unknown sites that are helping to disseminate your content.  There’s a lot between the custom alerts and custom variables that you can put into place to help you measure some of the things you are doing manually now, all within Google Analytics.

Then there’s the mobile app tracking.  To me, this is huge!  Before you’d have to guess someone was using a mobile app by the browser they come in on “iPhone” or “blackberry” being listed.  With this new announcement from Google Analytics, this can  help any company wanting to know how mobile applications are affecting the traffic to their sites.

If you’d like to read more about the specifics of each of these announcements, the Google Analytics blog has detailed information about how each of these new features work.  I highly suggest taking the time to read up on them and implement them into your own measurement strategy for social media.

While this isn’t the be-all end-all way of measuring for social media, these new features that Google is adding to Google Analytics can help take some of that manual counting and heavy lifting off of your plate, if implemented in the correct fashion.  One of the nice things about these new features is that as Avinash put it, you don’t need a “God” to code this stuff for you to have it work, its very easy to implement.

On an off note, wishing a speedy recovery to Avinash!  Hope that arm heals up fast!

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