Google Analytics Rises to the Occasion: New Way to Measure Social Media Investment Against the Bottom Line

As a Content Marketing Professional, I’m always excited to attend industry conferences and seminars. March 19-23 I attended Search Engine Strategies in New York City. This particular conference covers a wide range of topics in the world of search and online marketing, with everything from analytics tools to PPC and social media tracking to mobile SEO. The opening keynote address, delivered by Avanish Kaushik, Google’s “Digital Marketing Evangelist,” kicked off the event in fine style. Kaushik discussed measuring the value of social media and announced Google Analytic’s new Social Media Measurement tool.

Of course, this new, shiny tool garnered a lot of buzz during the conference, and panelist participants presented interesting ideas on what the next generation of social media analytics will look like.

One panelist noted a study from Marketing Sherpa from 2011 that states that 64% of respondents indicated that they feel social media is important and valuable in the long run for producing ROI, but that they just couldn’t answer how it was affecting their bottom line in the present.

The new Social Media Measurement tool was designed to address that problem, so digital marketers can measure the success of social media campaigns– beyond the realm of counting how many followers or likes you receive in a given period of time or the even more general concept of, “We are doing social media because everyone else is and we don’t want to get left behind.”

With the new capabilities, social media folks can gain valuable insight into the “upper funnel” connections or purchase influencers. In other words, which conversations, site visits, mentions, etc. of your product happened early on in the buying cycle to encourage a consumer to eventually transact with you? Google understands that users create a web of actions, all interconnected and inter-influenced across multiple sites and networks. With this understanding, Google can help attribute a cause and effect to the path users are taking and allocating “credit” to the different touch points, giving marketers a clearer picture of which social media tactics are helping and which might be worth eliminating.

Marketers can look at such reports as a Page Report that shows the most used and therefore the most valuable content on your website; a Source Report that shows where referral traffic to your site is coming from and which social networks are most active in sending people to you; and a Conversion Report that helps you identify conversions by channel type.

It’s a timely launch for an area in great need of further understanding and better ways for marketers to understand the importance of social activities and how they affect the bottom line.

Aubrae Wagner
EVG VP Brand Marketing

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