Big Data and Social Media Analytics

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Big Data and Social Media Analytics

Big Data, in case you’re unfamiliar, refers to data sets that are so large that they’re awkward to work with. Forget megabytes or gigabytes. With Big Data we’re currently working with terabytes, petabytes, exabytes and zettabytes of data (over 2.5 quintillion bytes daily and growing). Social Media (as a social instrument of communication) is greatly impacting the growth of Big Data (as an industry); and Big Data is providing established and aspiring social enterprises and organizations with the data to help them understand how to better function, grow and manage as a social business.

Highlights of the daily Big Data stream

  • 1 Billion plus Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest visitors generating many Billions of messages, statuses, comments, posts, content uploads, etc.
  • 2 Million plus Blog posts
  • 300 Billion plus emails
  • 22 Million hours of TV Shows and Movies watched on Netflix
  • 2 Billion plus videos watched on YouTube
  • 900,00 plus hours of video uploaded to YouTube
  • 19 Million plus hours of music streamed on Pandora
  • 1 Petabyte plus of game content processed by Zynga

The above list only represents some Big Data data types that we’re most familiar with. There are also financial transactions, imaging data, and much more information that flows into the Big Data stream. To help understand just how big Big Data is, consider this: more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire history of the world before that. Yes, rewind and play if you haven’t heard this statistic before.

Big Data is being used in many ways and in many fields and industries

Big Data is used in Medical research, personalized medicine, computer sciences and business, to name a few. In a Social Business, we rely on Big Data daily and could not operate very well without it. We use Big Data to help manage strategic business functions including: marketing, customer support, sales, and much more. And, Big Data is also starting to help us understand how much of our Social activities contribute to Business ROI, mainly in the marketing area (i.e., we can’t yet effectively measure other business silos as well as marketing). Today, it’s important for all enterprises and organizations to know what their return on investment is relative to what they’re spending on Social. Those numbers are generally looking very good for those social enterprises and organizations that are doing social right and have been doing it for a while.

Think of how far marketing data has traveled from the days of “mention this ad to save 20%”, to today’s robust social analytics software that mines Big Data and helps us analyze what people are thinking, sharing, saying and doing in real-time. With Big Data, in the Social realm we’re able to identify important trends, gauge sentiment for brands and products, and so much more. Essentially, Big Data helps us control the conversation and respond (quickly) to what people really want to talk about; and, introduce content (quickly) that people are really interested in. No doubt, Big Data will help grow many established and aspiring social enterprises and organizations to great heights in the next 2-to-4 years.

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Related Posts in Big Data, Business ROI and Social Business ROI:

The Road Less Travelled: Social Business ROI
Google Analytics Social Reports Ties Social Channels to Business ROI
Social Business and the Growth of Shared Value
Social Business ROI: Myths and Successes

Google Analytics Social Reports Ties Social Channels to Business ROI

Posted on Posted in Random Acts of Progress

Google Analytics Social Reports Ties Social Channels to Business ROI

Marketers and business owners are now one step closer to being able to track the true value of social channels to their Business ROI within Google Analytics. Google just released their latest social tracking tool “Social Reports” and it’s fully integrated within Google Analytics.

The main reason that social media is so hard to measure is that most social interactions occur off of the business’ website. For example, there may be a vibrant and active Facebook community having constant conversations about a business product, but all these conversations are happening off of the main business website, which means that Google Analytics can’t track what the end result of that conversation is – until now. Google Analytics with Social Reports attempt to bring together social actions that are happening on the website with social actions happening off the website to provide marketers a more accurate, complete picture of business ROI.

How Social Reports Work: An Imagined Scenario

Let’s imagine that Sally is a woman in her mid-twenties who follows her favorite vintage clothing store on Twitter and Facebook. On Monday, she sees a tweet on her smartphone about a new sale on go-go boots. Intrigued, she clicks the link and scrolls through the pictures. She’s on her lunch break, though, so she doesn’t have time to do anything more than look.

A few days later, Sally is still thinking about the go-go boots and goes back to the site. This time, she happily places an order for a pair of bright red, knee-high go-go boots.

The old Google Analytics wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between a Sally who’d originally clicked through thanks to the tweet versus a Sally who discovered the go-go boot sale page on her own. However, the new Google Analytics with Social Reports can tell the difference.

To describe which social media channels and campaigns eventually result in a sale, Google Analytics with Social Reports is borrowing a word from basketball: assist. An assist is earned when you pass the ball to someone else, who then scores a basket. Applied to Google Analytics with Social Reports, an “Assisted Social Conversion” is a sales or goal conversion that originates with an action from a social media site. In Sally’s case, Google Analytics with Social Reports recognizes that Sally originally came to the site thanks to Twitter, left, came back later and eventually made the purchase. This is an “Assisted Social Conversion.”

Google Analytics with Social Reports also provides a measurement called “Last Interaction Social Conversions.” This means that the action the user took immediately preceding a conversion was a social action. For instance, if Sally had clicked on the link in the tweet and immediately purchased the go-go boots, this would have been counted by Social Reports under the “Last Interaction Social Conversions” header.

Google Analytics Social Reports Ties Social Channels to Business ROI

Social Reports: Which Social Network is Boosting Your Business?

Another feature of the Google Analytics with Social Reports is the ability to compare and contrast the value of one social channel to another. For example, Sally’s favorite vintage clothing store tweeted about the sale on go-go boots, but they also might have posted a photo album of boots on their Facebook page, as well. When the store’s marketing team examines the results in Social Reports, they might find that the tweet led to 20 conversions, while the Facebook photos yielded 60 conversions.

Which social media channels will Google Analytics with Social Reports enable marketers to better track? To name a few:

• The big ones – Facebook, Twitter and of course Google+
• Digg
• Disqus
• Blogger
• Meetup
• Reddit

Except for Facebook, these are the biggest names in Google’s Social Data Hub Partners, but there are more and Google intends to keep growing the list. As of right now, Facebook is not a Social Data Hub Partner, which means that Google can’t provide as much drill-down data to its Analytics users for Facebook as it can, say, with Reddit. Even though the drill-down information for Facebook is not available, the new social tracking still improves ROI data, especially when marketers combine information from Analytics with Facebook Insights.

How to Get Started with the New Social Reports

Google Analytics first started to offer basic social reports back in the summer of 2011. This was the time when you might have noticed that the look/feel of your Google Analytics page shifted. At that time, you should have updated the Google Analytics code on your website. If you didn’t, installing that code is the first step to better social media reporting.

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We’d like to hear your thoughts on Google Analytics Social Reports, Social Business ROI or Social Media – the good, the bad and the ugly. Share them in the comments section below.