What Happened?

Google will offer new social reports in its Google Analytics (GA) interface that will quantify the value of “social-media-influenced” sales and leads for websites. The reports will provide conversion data from last and assisted social interactions.  That means that you will now be able to tell if a person visiting your site from a social platform turns into a lead or makes a sale – even if they do so on a secondary visit to your site (an assisted conversion).

Google is also offering reports on what articles and content on your site are most often shared or recommended.

What is the Impact?

Short Term Impact

Because we will now be able to apply a value to a social click, we can measure and quantify social-media-influenced actions more accurately. Currently, last click conversions are easy to track in Google Analytics, but the new reports will also show sales influenced by social media across varied periods of latency. This will help explain where social has been most influential in driving revenue even if the conversion takes place on a subsequent visit rather than the initial one.

These reports will also improve test advertising campaigns on social platforms. Now you can set up a test scenario and see what really drives converting traffic to your site.

Long Term Impact

Once enough data has been compiled in Google Analytics to identify user trends, the long term impact is substantial. According to the official Google Analytics Blog, the new reports will help do three things:

  • Identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to direct conversions or assist in future conversions
  • Understand social activities happening both on and off of your site to help you optimize user engagement and increase social key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Make better, more efficient data-driven decisions in your social media marketing programs

When evaluated as a whole, this information can give you a big-picture overview of your social media marketing program and how it affects your bottom line. By analyzing what content on your site gets shared the most, you can publish more of the same.

What Should You Do?

How should you prepare for these new reports?

Make sure your Google Analytics profile is enabled and working properly

Double check your Google Analytics account and your website to make sure that the GA code on all of your pages is installed correctly and that your ecommerce sales are being tracked through Google Analytics.

Install Social Media Buttons on Your Site

If you don’t already have social media buttons installed on every page of your site, now is the time to do so. Don’t forget to add a Google +1 button along with the standard Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter buttons plus Digg, Reddit, Delicious and others.

Review your current social media marketing efforts

Are you posting on Twitter and Facebook regularly? Are you actively advertising on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Are you engaging your customers, providing them with information that they can use and want to share? Until now, it was difficult to measure the value of social media beyond number of followers or retweets, but that’s all about to change. Dust off and examine your social plan so your metrics are clean from the start.