Google Analytics rolling out social network activity streams: Paradata heaven?

Today in Capturing The Value Of Social Media Using Google Analytics Google announced some new features that will be appearing in Google Analytics. The post is mainly focused around ‘social value’ of defining and monitoring goals for getting people coming to your site from social networks to do something on your site (click a button, view a certain page).

The bit that is really interesting (for me anyway) is the announcement on ‘activity streams’. These will include information on:

how people are engaging socially with your content off your site across the social web. For content that was shared publicly, you can see the URLs they shared, how and where they shared (via a “reshare” on Google+ for example), and what they said. Currently, activities are reported for Google+ and across a growing list of our Social Data Hub partners including recently signed brands Badoo, Disqus, Echo, Hatena and Meetup.

Example Activity Stream

There is obvious overlap here with some of my recent work extracting ‘activity data’ from social networks for sites and repositories, but before I pack my bags there are a number of things to consider.

Twitter and Facebook probably won’t come to the party
Google’s access to activity data is limited to those who want to join the Analytics Social Data Hub. While there are already some reasonably big names signed up given the Twitter/Facebook/Google+ social network war it’s unlikely that you are going to see individual tweet analytics as I achieved here in the near future.

Access to the data
It’ll be interesting if Google will make ‘activity stream’ data available for download or access via their API. There’s very little information on the Social Data Hub website about what 3rd party services are signing up to and if there is an compensation for make their data available. For a number of the existing signups they already have their own public APIs so they may be happy for this data to be made available. Only time will tell.

Not everyone uses Google Analytics
I’m also trying to take comfort in the fact that not everyone uses Google Analytics, so there is hopefully still value is surfacing and centralising activity data for non-Analytics users.

So interesting times, but does anyone actually care about this type of data yet?


Join the conversation

comment 3 comments
  • AJ Cann

    Yes, we care. Engagement data is the next frontier, beyond simple page/tweet/post metrics.

    • Martin Hawksey

      Phew – I’m glad someone else cares 😉 There’s a lot to explore in terms of collection and analysis, but it feels like there should be gold here.

  • Lorna M. Campbell

    Very interesting. In answer to your final question, I think only a few people care at the moment, but many more will care in the future!

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