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Aug 29
2013

social mentions data activity hub google analyticsToday, any comprehensive digital marketing strategy must include social marketing. Everyone is constantly connected, either through their phones, at home, even surfing their social networks at work. They could be talking about your brand (positively or negatively)! Many organizations benefit greatly from social marketing and word-of-mouth marketing. It’s free, and the potential to go “viral” can boost brand awareness or even sales exponentially. Also, monitoring the sentiment around your brand can also help you catch any negative sentiment, ultimately allowing to to prevent or fix any potential reputation dings.

While there are a plethora of social marketing analytics tools out there, it would be nice to integrate this measurement with your main analytics tool, and get all digital data in one place. Google Analytics thinks so too.

Data Hub Activity – Social Marketing in Google Analytics

Now, when a link to your site is posted on particular social sites, you can view that data in Google Analytics in the “Data Hub Activity” report. See what type of buzz your brand is getting, and even respond to positive comments or fix negative issues.

In the current interface, go to Traffic Sources > Social > Data Hub Activity

data-hub-activity-google-analytics-menu

View the count of your mentions over specific date-ranges. Even filter by specific social network through the drop down below the chart:

data-hub-activity-traffic-date-range

See the actual context and activity around someone linking to your site and even go directly to the conversation by clicking on More -> View Activity. This will take you to the actual social network and the conversation it is referencing.

data-hub-activity-traffic-mention

Also, for Google+, there is a cool item called “View Ripple”, where you can see a visual representation of the virality of your post share.

data-hub-activity-traffic-actions

Google__Ripples

Data Hub Partners: Social Networks Included

While unfortunately, some of the more popular social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, etc., aren’t participating in Google’s Social Data Hub, but there are quite a few notable ones that shouldn’t be ignored. Especially when aggregated my provide a significant number of mentions that can still boost your brand.

  • Allvoices
  • Delicious
  • Diigo
  • Disqus
  • Echo
  • Google Groups
  • Google+
  • Hatena
  • Livefyre
  • Meetup
  • Pocket
  • Reddit
  • SodaHead
  • Stack Overflow
  • Typepad
  • VKontakte
  • Yaplog

Including Other URLs Your Brand Owns

Your main website my not be the only site you have. People might not necessarily be sharing links to your website, they may share links to one of your subdomains or even your other social network company pages. For example, someone may post your Youtube Channel on Google+ or your Facebook page on Reddit.

You can manually tell Google Analytics to include these URLs along with your website, so that if people post about them they’ll begin to show upon your Data Hub reports.

(NOTE: You’re NOT adding social networks as new partners, i.e. if you add facebook.com/yourbusiness, you will NOT see Facebook posts in your report. You will see if people post ABOUT these urls on the listed Data Hub Partners social networks).

This can be done from the Admin section in GA. Under the “Property” column, select “Social Settings”. Enter in all of your additional pages.

adding-social-urls-to-data-hub-activity

WARNING: If you enter in any urls, then ONLY the sites listed will be displayed. You are essentially reprogramming this report. For example, if you enter your YouTube page only, then ONLY links to your YouTube page will show up — links to your website will no longer be watched for by Google Analytics. Thus, make sure to enter ALL urls you’d like to see, including all subdomains, and both www and non-www versions of each site.

Here’s Google’s wording:
data-hub-warning-add-all-urls

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2464956?hl=en

Also note that if you just put in “www.youtube.com” instead of “www.youtube.com/user/<your_user_name>”, then you can get junk that is not linking to your user page.

You won’t see every single post that links to “www.youtube.com” but you will get some amount of entirely irrelevant posts.

Here’s a real example of what can happen in an account that has been mis-configured in this way:
data-hub-activity-junk-youtube-posts

Conclusion

This cool feature in Google Analytics gives you yet another perspective and insight to your online presence. To see the full social picture, you can (and we encourage you to) leverage niche third party tools for platforms that are not participating in the data hub. But with few steps of configuration, rich social content and interactions are at your fingertips within your GA reports.

Help us test our Data Hub Activity by sharing this blog post and commenting below! :)

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5 Responses to “Monitor Social Mentions in Google Analytics with Data Hub Activity”

  1. sebaspindu says:

    Hey man great post !!

    I tried to get the view ripple for google + but it says theres no data is there a way to find out which of the conversations had virality?

  2. John Henson says:

    Well, it will only show “ripple” if the post is shared by someone else publicly.

    Also, when people link to the post that links to your site, the you can’t really see that.

  3. Lauren says:

    It’s a useful solution, but why bother with GA when you can just subscribe a simple tool for that? Like https://colibri.io or https://commun.it . Those tools can do that automatically, whithout dealing with GA.

  4. Farid Alhadi says:

    True, its not the most robust tool out there, but it its nice to have all your data in one place, especially if you have a strong GA implementation.

  5. Ian Getz says:

    Great article. Thank you. This greatly helped me understand how to use the Social Settings in GA. Shame that Facebook or Twitter do not partner with Google on this.

    Question for anybody: Do the URLs that you enter on Social Settings impact any of the other GA reports (besides Data Hub Activity)? For example, if I don’t enter my primary domain could GA *not* track activity on my website?

    Thanks,

    @iangetz

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