Thursday, December 8, 2011

Say hello to Google Social Data Hub and Social Analytics

Today at LeWeb11 in Paris a lot of the participating companies chosed to announce quite some astonishing new features or completely new app versions. Most of those apps were focused on social interaction, e.g. Path, Instagram, Flipboard etc. Nevertheless, our core strategy at Nansen, to help our customers to grow their online business does not come from startup success stories only. But maybe from the people interacting within these networks and tools.

So to be able to measure the impact of these social media channels Google today announced at a workshop, where half of the Nansen Google Certified Analytics Team were present, two new services within the Analytics suite that are to be rolled out the coming 6 to 9 months:
1. Social Analytics
2. Social Data Hub

One of the key topics of this session was the announcement of complete new way of aggeragating and measuring goal conversions on all social platforms, rather than having them isolated in their own data silos. Meaning that you should be able to check your traffic from which specific social media channel the visitors come from, and what they have been discussing in that channel. This was referred to as the "upper funnel effect", if I understood it correctly, due to the fact that some of the buzz and viral nature of the social media spread often happens in the "off site" domain.

The data collection part of this project was called the Data Hub whereas the Analytics part of it dealt with the views and reports that visualises the data in the usual Google Analytics Interface.

This data retrieving is made possible thru a collaboration with the major social media networks, and the use of open standards. Also one has to overcome the fact that most of the referred trafic today comes from handheld devices, and apps within them. Those links just open up new browser windows and are reported as direct traffic. This has been adressed as well, whith specific redirect-pages, implemented on the specific social platform.

So, how can we use this? Well for instance, if you assign a price, or rather a so called dollar value (in Analytics) to each and every of the social media goal conversion one can measure how much you "earn" from specifc channels, and how specifc ambassadors and networks are the most profitable to your business and thus where you should focus your media spend and supervisioning efforts.

As for most of online intelligence one should only mesasure and analyze goals that are real and important for the actual business. So this has to be rolled out and tested in the announced pilot so that it complies to the promised level of accuracy and social network covering. But once it out there, and in the Analytics suite we think that it could be a very helpful and powerful tool.

Stay tuned on: http://www.google.com/analytics/developers/socialhub.html