Google Analytics Social Reports Ties Social Channels to Business ROI

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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.

Social Business ROI: Myths and Successes

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Social Media ROI

Facebook is the 850 pound gorilla of social media. With over 850 million active users, Facebook is rapidly closing in on being used by one in every seven people on the planet. From subsistence farmers in rural Africa accessing Facebook on their mobile phones, to tweeting protestors in the Middle East, to grandmothers living in Michigan sharing their family photos on Flickr, it seems that almost everyone is living a part of their life on a social network.

In some of our more recent articles, we’ve been writing about Social Business ROI and that enterprises typically achieve highly desirable business outcomes through carefully planned and executed social channels.

Businesses have flocked to join their customers on these social networks, but some are still skeptical about the social media craze. The question that presidents and CEOs keep asking their marketing departments (and it’s a question that marketing departments often have a hard time answering) is, “What is the return on investment in social media?”

Some business people take this question even further, asking the more cynical “Is there a return on social media, or does social media have more marketing bark than bite?”

While the skeptics make some valid points, social media ROI does exist and it can be measured. Some businesses are already doing just that. Here’s a closer look at the myths surrounding social media ROI and the businesses that are proving the skeptics wrong.

Three Social Media ROI Myths

Some social media marketing myths still persist despite the growing understanding of how to use the new marketing channels. Here are three of them.

Social Media is NOT free

1. Social media is free.

Signing up for a Facebook page or a YouTube channel may be free, but that doesn’t mean social media is. At the very least, successful social media content still takes time to plan and develop, and someone in the business is being paid for that time. However, the good news is that once a social media marketing strategy has been decided upon and people have been allocated to the project, the cost of social media remains relatively flat, while profitability increases over time. Whether or not profitability happens, though, totally depends upon the success of the social media campaign.

2. It’s impossible to assign a monetary ROI value to social media marketing.

Although marketers are still learning how to measure the ROI of social media efforts, stating that the monetary value of a social media campaign cannot be measured at all is not true. As you will see in the next section of this article, many businesses are already successfully measuring the dollar-value of their social initiatives.

3. Social media costs more than it makes.

This is a “myth” that is actually true–for businesses who are poorly executing social media campaigns because they don’t understand their audience, don’t understand their technical tools, or just don’t understand social media itself. Businesses who do not invest the time it takes to learn about their audience, how to grow that audience, and how to interact with that audience will ultimately spend more on social media than social media brings back to them, but this is not the fault of social media itself.

Six Examples of Social Media ROI

Want to see some recent concrete examples of businesses who are measuring the results of their social media campaigns? Try these on for size:

Social Media ROI

1. Best Buy’s innovative “Twelpforce” enlists knowledgeable, everyday employees to answer customer support questions via Twitter. Best Buy estimates that this “social help desk” saves them $5 million annually in support. [1]

2. Bonobo’s social business became 13 times more cost effective (CPA) in acquiring a new customer from Twitter than from other marketing channels. [2]

3. Paramount Pictures’ #Super8Secret (hashtag) Promoted Trend created a tremendous spike in conversations: Tweets of the hashtag reached nearly nine million impressions in less than 24 hours and mentions of the movie skyrocketed to more than 150 per minute. Receipts for the sneak preview exceeded $1 million, and Paramount said weekend box office surpassed expectations by 52%. [2]

4. Petco’s 1% of shoppers use “Ask and Answer,” that influences a 10% increase of revenue on their website. [3]

5. Sprint’s monitoring of online conversations about their brand enabled them to tweak their social media campaign messaging. As a result, the company says it picked up an extra $133 million in revenue. [4]

6. Sephora Community Users spend 2.5 times more than average customers, and their superfans spend 10 times more. [1]

Example Sources:
[1] Lithium Technologies, 2011
[2] Twitter, 2011
[3] Altimeter Group, 2011
[4] MotiveQuest, 2011

These are just six examples of hundreds of big brands that are successfully measuring the real financial impact of their social media initiatives. If you want to explore these and other examples, contact 4thWeb.

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Do you have your own social business or social media ROI story or thoughts? Share it in the comments section below.

Part 1: Social Media Chaos: The Shifting Sands of the Business Landscape

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This is Part 1 of our 2-Part series on Social Media Chaos.

In “Part 2: Social Media Chaos: How To Manage The Chaos”, we present six tips for managing the chaos. The Part 2 link is at the end of this article.

When it comes to rapid changes in business technologies and social media, the numbers are so outrageous that they’re simply mind-numbing. Since we’re constantly bombarded with all the latest social media stats, let’s go way back to the 2008 viral video “Did You Know?”. This video gives viewers a taste for just how quickly things have changed. Some of the facts the video presents include (remember this is 2008):

Social Media Outrageous Numbers

  • The number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the planet’s population
  • While it took radio 38 years to reach an audience of 50 million and television 13 years, it took Facebook only 2 years
  • More unique information was generated in 2008 than in the previous 5,000 years combined
  • Technical information is expanding so rapidly that half the technologies a student in a four-year degree program learns in their first year will be outdated by their third

Perhaps the most striking point made by the Did You Know? video is a point it didn’t even mean to make. In 2008, the video cited the 200 million users of MySpace and barely even mentioned Facebook. Today, MySpace is almost a has-been; Facebook, for its part, has enough members to make it the third most populous nation on Earth – another mind-numbing statistic that most of us can’t even conceptualize.

Today, four years after the Did You Know? video, almost all businesses recognize the need to participate in social media. A Forbes Insights/Weber Shandwick study found that a full two-thirds of CMOs see social media as “critical” to brand success; the same study estimates that in three years 65% of a brand’s reputation will be attributable to online sociability. (Source: Forbes Insights and Weber Shandwick

However, to be successful, businesses must find ways to manage the ever-evolving social media chaos. In “Part 2: Social Media Chaos: How To Manage The Chaos”, we present six tips for managing the chaos. But before you jump to Part 2 (link at the end), read on.

Social Media Precision Within Chaos

Follow the Social Media SheepExperts on what works in social media say that businesses fail when they give in to the urge to “follow” whatever the latest trend in social media is without pausing to develop and maintain a coherent social media strategy. With marketing execs rapidly coming and going from SMEs, social media practices become inconsistent and trends are pursued without being measured.

Melrose Jewelers, a high-end online jewelry retailer, proved the value of precision in their social media strategy. The multi-million dollar company of seventy employees took the time to think their way carefully through their social media position. As a result, their Facebook fan base increased over 600% in one year, generating an additional $2 million in sales.

How did they do it? Melrose Jewelers succeeded for these basic reasons:

#1 – They knew their audience precisely – They knew their target audience was composed of upwardly mobile men and women for whom high-end jewelry was just barely out-of-reach.

#2 – They tailored a precise offer to that audience – Knowing their audience was upwardly mobile but price-sensitive, the company’s promotions were all about the Benjamins: Just for signing up to be a Facebook fan, new fans got a $75 credit towards a purchase.

#3 – They insinuated their brand into their audience’s identity – With clever quizzes like “Which Rolex are you?”, Melrose Jewelers made their brand a part of their audience’s sense of self.


Instead of being tempted to recklessly pursue the various chaotic social media trends, learn from the success of Melrose Jewelers. Strategize social media campaigns around three fundamental questions:

1. Who is my audience – precisely?
2. What can I give to my audience via social media – precisely – that will be of value to them?
3. How will my brand fit in with my audience’s identity?

Social Media Chaos in Three Acts

William Shakesphere and Social Media?Shakespeare couldn’t have written a better drama than the marketing environment social media has created. If the Bard had penned such a drama, the chaos would unfold in three distinct acts:

Act One: Whereupon social media arrives on the shores of the business world and some fail to welcome the newcomer.

The fact that many marketing departments perceive social media as a chaotic tempest is due to the fact that too many departments ignored social media until it was very nearly too late for them. Now they find themselves playing a desperate game of catch-up.

Act Two: Customers choose to snub even the strongest and bravest of advertising campaigners, turning instead to vigorous young Internet denizens savvy with social media.

The waning influence of traditional, top-down advertising means that many marketing departments are being forced to completely reinvent themselves. Such a paradigm shift means that demand for social media talent is huge, but there’s not yet enough talent to go around.

Act Three: Our marketing heroes struggle to judge the outcomes of their valiant efforts.

Even those marketing departments that have taken the time and effort to implement strong social media strategies still aren’t exactly sure how to measure their success… or lack thereof. CEOs everywhere are asking their CMOs, “How is your social media strategy impacting our bottom line?”, leaving many CMOs to stare at their feet and answer, “Uh…”

The chaotic marketing environment created by social media can still be navigated by the savvy marketing professional; and in “Part 2: Social Media Chaos: How To Manage The Chaos”, we present six tips for managing the chaos.

Post your comments. Tell us what you think about social media chaos below.

Part 2: Social Media Chaos: How To Manage The Chaos

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This is Part 2 of our 2-Part series on Social Media Chaos.

In “Part 1: Social Media Chaos: The Shifting Sands of the Business Landscape”, we present the chaotic marketing environment created by social media.

To recap the last few paragraphs of Part 1, here’s how companies fall victim to hasty mistakes in each of the three Acts of Social Media Chaos:

  1. While hurrying to catch up in social media, companies pass over careful planning, instead flinging themselves into the social media fray without checking to see which channels are right for them, which can be left out, and whether or not they’re reaching their audience.
  2. Companies struggling with social media talent find themselves rapidly switching from one strategy to another as leadership changes, or else never settling upon a social media strategy that works for their business.
  3. Measuring the success of social media with the same ol’ marketing metrics is a little like trying to measure the width of a canyon using a speedometer. Companies not only need to rethink marketing strategies, they also have to rethink how they will measure social media success.

How to Manage the (Social Media) Chaos

As we stated in Part 1, the chaotic marketing environment created by social media can still be navigated by the savvy marketing professional. Here’s six tips for managing the chaos.

How To Manage The Social Media Chaos?

  1. Good social media may look spontaneous, but organization is still a must. Altimeter Group, a research-based consulting firm, found many large corporations managing an average of 178 social media accounts. As a result, businesses are struggling to coordinate their marketing message across different channels and prevent brand fragmentation. Social media management software is emerging to help businesses manage these various accounts; your marketing department would be wise to invest in a tool like this to assist with organizing, tracking, and measuring social media campaigns.
  2. Live in the present, look to the future. They say that those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it. When websites came on the marketing scene, too many businesses wrote them off at first – exactly as many would later write off Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and YouTube. Don’t make the same mistake three times: Make sure your social maedia marketing team lives in the present, not the past, while it simultaneously keeps an eye on the future.
  3. Speaking of the future, look at your mobile device. Smartphones are no longer the next “big thing;” smartphones are a big thing that’s already here. What is your company doing to reach out to mobile users, especially social media mobile users? How have you optimized your website for them? How are you making your brand a part of their on-the-go lifestyle? If you don’t have answers to these questions, you need to find them quickly.
  4. Got talent? Get it. Marketers very much need to either recruit or create social media talent within their organizations. However, the next generation of (social media) marketers that you build should be defined by their creativity, curiosity, and flexibility, not just a simple checklist of computer skills. For example, you don’t just want a Facebook wiz; you want someone who can envision a post-Facebook world – because the time will eventually come, perhaps sooner than any of us can guess, when Facebook will become MySpace and some new network will reign supreme.
  5. Be brave enough not to imitate. You may feel safe by looking at what a successful competitor is doing in social media and imitating their model. Yet remember what your mother asked you all those years ago about copying your friends: “If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you?” Indeed, many companies have jumped (or were pushed) off bridges in the last several years. The iPhone and Droid dethroned Nokia; online video streaming and Roku boxes stopped the meteoric rise of Netflix. Follow the advice in tip #4 and succeed without being a copycat.
  6. Charles Darwin and Social Media?Remember Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin observed that it wasn’t necessarily the strongest or smartest species that survives a challenging time; it is the species that is most capable of adapting. If we could boil “Social Media Chaos” down into one statement, it would be this single, astute observation.

This is Part 2 of our 2-Part Social Media Chaos Series.

In “Part 1: Social Media Chaos: The Shifting Sands of the Business Landscape”, we present the chaotic marketing environment created by social media.

Infographic: Facebook's IPO – What You Need To Know

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Infographic: Facebook's IPO - What You Need To Know

Our obsession with Facebook has propelled it to insane heights.

What does this mean for the company? Money. And lots of it.

Rumers of Facebook’s IPO are flying and Wall Street is expecting a record-shattering amount of cash to be raised.

How do the projected numbers break down?

Here are some interesting answers and projections on the proposed upcoming Facebook IPO.


Infographic: Facebooks IPO - What You Need To Know

Source Information:

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