With search results being affected more and more by social interaction, it is becoming very important to monitor the amount of Tweets, Likes and +1’s your site is receiving. Not only do social sites drive most of the traffic on the web at the moment, but they also affect your SERPs.
Analytics Social Plugin
Google have added a social monitoring plugin to analytics that allows you to track +1s, Tweets, Likes and Sends. It is only visible in the new version of analytics (as seen below), so be sure to switch to the new interface if you want to get the most out of analytics.
The social plugin can generate 3 reports: Social Engagement, Social Actions and Social Pages.
Engagement tracks various site wide metrics including pages visited, time on site and bounce rate and splits these into socially engaged and non-socially engaged. It then splits the socially engaged data into visits from +1s, Tweets, Likes and Sends.
Social Actions tracks the social interactions users take on your site. For example the amount of times a user has tweeted, liked, sent or +1’d a blog post from your site. Bear in mind that this does not track +1s from the Google SERPs (these can be found in webmaster tools).
Social Pages compares the amount of social interactions each page on your site has had. This page is useful for seeing what site content users like to share and is a very good indication of what information your site users find interesting.
Google has also added +1 tracking to webmaster tools. Unfortunately there is no tracking for tweets, likes and sends from webmaster tools, so there is no way of comparing what platform users prefer when interacting with your site. It is more about CTR and how +1 numbers can affect a user’s choice to visit your site from the SERPs.
+1 metrics in webmaster tools allows you to generate 3 reports: Search impact, Activity and Audience
Search impact shows the effect of +1’s on your click through rate. Google are hoping that this graph with show a correlation between the number of +1’s and your CTR percentage.
Activity shows how many +1s each page on your site has and splits them into data from your site and other sites. As mentioned above this page tracks +1s from the Google SERPs as well as clicks from your site.
I feel that the addition of +1 metrics is more of a promotional tool for +1 than a useful set of data. Which roughly translates as an attempt by Google to get webmasters putting more time and effort into getting more +1’s than tweets and likes.
Because there is no comparison the only conclusion we can draw from the data is that social interaction either has a positive or a negative effect on your site. I’m sure you don’t need fancy reports to work out that social has a very positive effect on your sites traffic, interest and search results.