About Social Analytics

Social is increasingly important as a marketing channel. But how do you measure the impact and effectiveness of your social initiatives? Four elements define your social impact:

  • Network Referrals: As your content is shared and people come to your site, it's important to understand how users from different social sources engage with your site.
  • Conversions: Shared content URLs become the entry points into your site, driving traffic from social sources. Measuring the conversion and monetary value of this traffic will help you understand the impact of Social on your business.
  • Landing Pages: People increasingly engage with, share and discuss content on social networks. It's important to know which pages and content are being shared, where they're being shared and how.
  • Social Plug-ins: Adding Social Plug-in buttons to your site (for example, Google "+1" buttons) allows your users share content to social networks directly from your site. Your social plug-in data shows you which content is being shared, and on which networks.

The Social reports allow you to analyse all of this information together and see the complete picture of how Social impacts your business.

Social Reports


The Overview report allows you to see at a glance how much conversion value is generated from social channels. The Social Value graph compares the number and monetary value of all goal completions versus those that resulted from social referrals.

A session from a social referral may result a conversion immediately, or it may assist in a conversion that occurs later on. Referrals that generate conversions immediately are labelled as Last Interaction Social Conversions in the graph. If a referral from a social source does not immediately generate a conversion, but the user returns later and converts, the referral is included in Assisted Social Conversions. Looking at both Assisted Conversion and Last Click or Direct Conversions is essential to understanding the role that Social plays in business outcomes.


Network Referrals

Navigate to Network Referrals to see engagement metrics (Pageviews, Avg. Session Duration, Pages/Session) for traffic from each social network. This allows you to see which social networks referred the highest quality traffic. For example, you may wish to increase your investment in the social networks that referred fewer sessions but higher quality traffic.

The Network Referrals report is enhanced with off-site data for Google Analytics Social Data Hub partner networks. See a list of participating social networks. Click a partner network to see the URLs that were shared on that site. Change the dimension to Social Network and Action to see what actions people are taking on the network (for example, a "+1" or "comment" action).


Data Hub Activity

The Data Hub Activity report shows you how people are talking about and engaging with your site content on social networks. You can see the most recent URLs people shared, how and where they shared (via a “reshare” on Google+, for example) and what they said.

The information comes from the Social Data Hub. Social networks send activity streams to the hub, and this information is then organised and presented in Google Analytics.

Use the networks drop-down to select different Social Data Hub partner networks. Filter by your page URL with the Filter Pages field. Click Conversations to see posts and comments about your content, or click Events to see other social actions (like +1 clicks).


Landing Pages

Navigate to Landing Pages to see engagement metrics (Pageviews, Avg. Session Duration, Pages/Session) for each URL.  Sort by Data Hub Activities in the table to identify your most viral content. 

Click a URL in the table to see the originating social networks for that URL. For Social Data Hub partner networks, you can also see offsite sharing for the URL: how the URL was shared (for example, via a "+1" or "reshare" action) and the networks on which it was shared.



The Trackbacks report shows you which sites are linking to your content, and in which context. This can help you replicate successful content and build relationships with those users who frequently link to your site.

In this report, you can see each endorsing URL's page title and publication date, as well as the number of sessions that it sends to your site. Use the More drop-down menu in each row to view the originating site or your own page that was shared. Use the Filter Pages field to filter by your page URL.



The Conversions report allows you to quantify the value of Social. It shows the total number of conversions and the monetary value of conversions that occurred as a result of referrals from each network. Click Assisted vs. Last Interaction Analysis (just below the Explorer tab at the top of the report) to see how each network contributed to conversions and revenue via assists and last clicks.

  • Assisted Conversions and Assisted Conversion Value:
    This is the number (and monetary value) of sales and conversions that the social network assisted. An assist occurs when someone visits your site, leaves without converting, but returns later to convert during a subsequent visit. The higher these numbers, the more important the assist role of the social network.
  • Last Click or Direct Conversions and Last Click or Direct Conversion Value:
    This is the number (and monetary value) of last click or direct sales and conversions. When someone visits your site and converts, the session is considered a last click.  The higher these numbers, the more important the social network's role in driving completion of sales and conversions.
  • Assisted/Last Click or Direct Conversions:
    This ratio summarises the social network's overall role. A value close to 0 indicates that the social network functioned primarily in a last click capacity. A value close to 1 indicates that the social network functioned equally in an assist and a last click capacity. The more this value exceeds 1, the more the social network functioned in an assist capacity.

Note that you must define goals and goal values in order to see data in this report.



If you have Google "+1" and Facebook "Like" buttons on your site, it's important to know which buttons are being clicked and for which content. For example, if you publish articles on your site, you'll want to know which articles are most commonly "liked" or shared, and from which social networks they're being shared (for example, Google+ or Facebook). You can use this information to create more of the type of content that's popular with your users. Also, if you find that some buttons are rarely used, you may wish to remove them to reduce cluttering. Learn more.


Visitors Flow

The Social Visitors Flow shows the initial paths that users from social networks took through your site. For example, if you run campaigns that promote specific products, you can see whether users from each social network entered your site through these product pages and whether they continued on to other parts of the site or whether they exited. Hover over a source (Google+, for example) on the chart and select View only this segment to focus on traffic from that source.


Setting Up Social Analytics Reporting

In order to see values in your reporting, you'll need to establish values for your goals and/or set up e-commerce tracking. For non e-commerce goals, a good way to manually configure goal value is to evaluate how often the users who reach the goal become customers. For example, if your sales team can close 10% of people who request to be contacted, and your average transaction is £500, you might assign £50 (i.e. 10% of £500) to your "Contact Me" goal. In contrast, if only 1% of mailing list signups result in a sale, you might only assign £5 to your "email sign-up" goal.

Next steps

Read the following to learn more about Social Analytics examples and techniques.

  • Evaluating Social Sources explains three ratios that you can use to evaluate the effectiveness of the social networks that send you traffic.