Measuring the ROI of Social – Google brings Analytics to the Party
Google has been working for a long time to socially engage people the way that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn do. We’ve all heard about, and probably registered with Google +, and the jury is coming back. A really smart guy I know (the author of this newsletter) told me that Google + won’t have relevance until it has more than 100 million registered users, with REAL social relevance coming at around 500 million. Well, Larry Page reported 90 million registered Google + users on Jan. 19, so I think we can assume that the Matt Plapp Relevance Singularity (MPRS) has been reached. Projections are for Google + to grow to 250 million by the end of 2012. Interestingly, about 70% of registered Google + users are male, which should have major implications for brands.
While the Google + team has been busy developing and promoting, the Google Analytics team has been hard at work as well. Last week Phil Mui, Group Product Manager for Google Analytics, announced the release of a set of Social reports within Google Analytics. The reports, already available for many Google Analytics accounts, are designed to bridge the gap between social metrics and the business metric that drives all internet marketing; conversion.
Internet marketing has long been unique as the only marketing channel where EVERYTHING was measurable, thanks to tools like Google Analytics. From the earliest days of the World Wide Web, measurement has been an integral part of the experience; remember HITS counters at the bottom of nearly every home page? For years, however, measuring the impact of Social Media engagement has eluded us. Google has taken a first step toward solving this metric gap with last weeks’ announcement. According to Google, the new reports are designed to help businesses and marketers with 3 things:
- Identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to direct conversions or assist in future conversions
- Understand social activities happening both on and off of your site to help you optimize user engagement and increase social key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Make better, more efficient data-driven decisions in your social media marketing programs
Over the next several months, we’ll begin to see business measuring the impact of Social using these reports. Initial data will be limited to Social Data Partners that have engaged with Google for inclusion, sites like Google +, Blogger, reddit, Delicious and others. The Big 3, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, aren’t participating yet, and may not. However, the data available from the 15 platforms included should give marketers actionable insight into social engagement and their brands, helping to focus their Social Media marketing, improve ROI and deliver more business value.
Kirk Carter is a Certified Internet Marketing Consultant with WSI Web Factory in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. If your company is looking for help with your website, SEM or SEO plans then give him a call, he comes highly recommended.