Google Analytics Takes a Stab at Social Media ROI Reporting

Tyson Kirksey  |  March 20, 2012

Tracking social data for ROI

Newsflash! Trying to calculate ROI from social media strategies is not easy. Sure, it's fun to track engagement metrics like fans, followers, wall posts, retweets, check-ins, etc., but how do you convert those numbers into bottom line business value? There may not be an easy answer, but at SES-NY today, Google Analytics is introducing a new set of social reports that attempt to peel the onion.

You may remember in the fall of last year, Google Analytics introduced the concept of the Social Data Hub. By combining data from the social data hub and the existing Social Engagement reports, Google has put together some best-in-class social media reports, and they are now being released to the masses.

By integrating web and social metrics, brands can finally see which channels and tactics produce real business outcomes such as conversions, sales, registrations, sign-ups, etc. By beginning to understand these correlations, one can more easily calculate the value that social media strategies are providing.

The following reports will be available in Google Analytics (Standard and Premium versions) over the next few weeks:

  • Social sources and top pages receiving social traffic
  • Last-interaction and assisted conversions
  • On-site sharing activities through social plugins
  • Social source navigation flows

These reports are designed to assist with three things:

  • Better identify the value of socially referred traffic and measure direct and socially-assisted conversions
  • Understand both on- and off-site social activities to help optimize user engagement and increase social KPIs
  • Make better, more efficient data-driven decisions in your social media marketing programs

Let's Look at Some Screenshots!

The Social Overview report will provide a quick, visual look at the impact of social interaction to your business goals. You can see how many conversions and how much business value was produced directly or influenced by social traffic.

Social Overview Report_Google Analytics Takes a Stab at Social Media ROI Reporting_Vertical Nerve blog  


The Social Conversions report drills down on the different social channels to see exactly how many direct and assisted conversions resulted. In our experience, social traffic tends to assist other channels, which makes this report so much more exciting than what's available in Google Analytics today. 

Social Conversions Report_Google Analytics Takes a Stab at Social Media ROI Reporting_Vertical Nerve blog


The pages report inside the new Social section will display two sparklines to see how total site traffic and social traffic correlate. Below in the table, one can see the individual pages from a website that have been accessed via social channels.

Social Referral Report_Google Analytics Takes a Stab at Social Media ROI Reporting_Vertical Nerve blog


Be looking for these reports in your account over the next few weeks, and remember, if you don't already have social engagement tracking and reporting in place for your website, now is the time to act! 

Tyson Kirksey headshot

Tyson Kirksey

Tyson began working in the SEO field in 2003, when tags really mattered and Yahoo! nearly bought Google (oops!). Along with his vast experience in search engine optimization, Tyson has knowledge of programming and web development. He has successfully managed high-profile accounts including LaQuinta Hotels, Compass Bank, Pizza Hut and MetroPCS. He is certified with Google Analytics, Google AdWords and Microsoft AdCenter. He is a graduate of Harding University with a bachelor’s in Interactive media. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf.

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