Back in 2009, at that year's Monitoring Social Media conference, I forecast Google's entry into social analytics in Q1 2010. Whoops. Only fools do short-term forecasting. Wiser men look further out, by which time people have forgotten the prediction!
So here we are in Q2 2012 and the news from Google has dropped into my inbox. Verbatim:
Measure the value of social media with Google Analytics
A new set of Social reports help you measure the impact of your social marketing initiatives and evaluate the effect social media has on your Goals and Ecommerce activities. The 4 new reports aggregate key data points to help you see the complete picture of how social marketing and media affect your business. You'll find the Social Value Overview, Social Sources, Social Plugins, and Conversion Reports in the Traffic Sources section of your account. Learn More.
For those who know my views on the widespread abuse of the word 'influence', I was immediately drawn to Google's use of the phrase 'social value'. Here's what they have to say about social value, although somewhat confusingly it's accompanied by an image centred around the phrase "Your Social Impact". Either way, it's a whole lot of analytical goodness to digest ahead of the AMEC European Summit in Dublin in June.
The Social Relationship
The social web connects people where they share, critique and interact with content and each other. Social analytics provides you with the tools to measure the impact of social. You can identify high-value networks and content, track on-site and off-site user interaction with your content and tie it all back to your bottom-line revenue through goals and conversions.
Here's how we see this story:
Sources & Pages: Identify networks & communities where people engage with your content.
Conversions: Measure the value of social by tracking your goals, conversions and e-commerce transactions.
Social Plug-ins: Measure your on-site user engagement.
Social Visitors Flow: Compare traffic volumes and visitor traffic patterns through your site.