One of the most effective ways of multiplying traffic is to get your site visitors to share your website’s posts or product pages with their network of friends.
And, this is where social media can help you. You can do this by implementing several social sharing buttons for the different social media networks.
Your excitement causes you to refresh the latest post on your site a multiple times to check its Facebook likes or shares or the number of +1s on Google+. Yet, for a site that has several posts, going to every post page and checking the social share count would be tedious.
But, Google Analytics makes it easier to track the social shares for your website’s pages or posts by setting up events for the social share buttons on your site. It has also made this simpler by providing the tracking data in the Social Plugins Reports.
You can thus gather the following information by using the Social Plugins Reports in Google Analytics:
- Which social share buttons are clicked?
- For which content are they clicked?
- How many times are they clicked?
So, let us take a look at the Social Plugins Reports, including how to access them and how to set up the report display.
The Objective of the Social Plugins Reports
The aim of the Social Plugins Reports is to help you understand the type of content that is shared most often by your site’s visitors by using the social sharing buttons.
It achieves this goal by providing you with information about the number of times the visitors use the social share buttons and the number of times the users share different posts or pages.
How Do You Access the Social Plugins Reports in Google Analytics?
You can access the Social Plugins Reports by following the steps listed below:
- Log in to your Google Analytics account and navigate to the “Reporting” tab.
- Choose the “Acquisition” option, followed by the “Social” option.
- Click on the “Plugins” option, which appears just before the “Users Flow”.
Once you have followed these steps, you will be able to access the data about the social share buttons for your website.
How Do You Read and Use the Social Plugins Reports?
The Social Plugins Reports track every social sharing button on your website and look as follows:
The important thing to note is that they only display data for the Google +1 button automatically. You need to do some additional setup on your site to enable the sharing buttons for all the other social media networks.
Methods to Set up the Social Plugins Reports to Track Social Interactions
1. Adding the Tracking Code by the Site Developers
As per the coding method discussed in Google Analytics Learning Center, you need to use the “_trackSocial” method, which delivers the social interaction data to Google Analytics. The method below is triggered once your site’s user completes a social action:
_gaq.push(['_trackSocial', network, socialAction, opt_target, opt_pagePath]);
Here, the parameters involved are:
- “network” refers to the social media site on which the post or page is shared,
- “socialAction” refers to the social interaction performed by the visitor (like, share, tweet, +1, and so on), and
- “opt_target” and “opt_pagePath” denote the source site’s page URL and path.
Every social media platform uses a different mechanism to determine when the social interaction occurs. Hence, it requires integration with the API for the corresponding social networking button.
You can refer the technical steps to set up the social plugin analytics for the different popular social media networks at Social Analytics Web Tracking.
2. Using Google Tag Manager
The Google Tag Manager offers an alternative solution for setting up the social plugin analytics.
This involves the same setup as the one used for recording events, except that it uses “Social” as the Track Type, instead of “Event”. You can then set up a corresponding Trigger that should fire once a social action occurs.
You need to set up the Tag and Trigger separately for the different social media links. All the relevant technical details can be found here.
You can configure the Social Plugins Reports by using any one of the above methods and using the below mentioned metrics to track the various social actions.
This denotes the specific page URL that is shared by the user.
This displays the total number of social interactions or actions that are performed by the visitor.
Unique Social Actions
This refers to the number of social sessions during which the specific social interaction happened at least once.
Actions Per Social Session
This refers to the number of social actions or interactions carried out by the site user for a social session.
It is obvious that the social interactions with your website are a sign of high user engagement, which is exactly what you want.
However, in order to ensure that the social interactions keep increasing, you need to use comprehensive reports like the Social Plugins Reports in Google Analytics. These reports help you learn which content on your site is shared most often by your visitors and on which social networking platforms the pages are shared.
We hope that you have found the above information about the Social Plugins Reports useful to track your website’s social sharing actions. If you have any queries, please write in the comments section below.