15 reasons Google Analytics is #1 tool for social media monitoring

Posted on December 30, 2012 by Rob Petersen




Social Media Monitoring Dashboard

Social media monitoring (or social media listening) is the process of identifying and assessing what is being said about a company, individual, product or brand. The 10-top social media monitoring tools are:

  1. Sysomos
  2. Radian 6
  3. Lithium
  4. Collective Intellect
  5. Alterian SM2
  6. uberVU
  7. ViralHeat
  8. Brandwatch
  9. Beevolve
  10. Trendr

Source: Top Ten Review (price range from $1,500/month to $90/month).

However, once companies license social media software:

  • 34% say they are “happy” and “couldn’t have made a better decision”
  • 60% say they are “ok” but “if something better came along they’d consider it”
  • 6% are “frustrated” and “are looking to make a switch”

Source: Oneforty and KissMetrics

Maybe it’s not the data it’s what you do with it.

Google Analytics didn’t make this list. You may think it’s a tool for monitoring website behavior, not social media behavior. Isn’t that the point? Social media puts more control in consumer’s hand and enables them to learn about your business on their terms. If social media is working, the first place consumers are likely to go is your website.

Here are 15 reasons Google Analytics is #1 tool for social media monitoring

  1. GIVES COMPLETE PICTURE Show all the places where your target audience comes from on the internet through Traffic Sources: Search, Referral (Social Media, Email) and Direct
  2. SHOWS KEYWORDS PEOPLE USE TO FIND YOU: Identifies Keyword Flow to provide direction on words to be used in social media posts
  3. IDENTIFIES WHERE THEY COME FROM: Provides location and geography where visitors come from
  4. TELLS THE DEVICE THEY USE: Lets you know whether a computer or mobile device was used as well as the browser
  5. POINTS OUT MOST INTERESTING CONTENT: Identifies Key Content  that drives the most visitors
  6. IDENTIFIES CONTRIBUTION FROM EACH SOCIAL NETWORK: Shows the visitors that come from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+
  7. SHOWS LEVEL OF INVOLVEMENT FROM EACH SOCIAL NETWORK: Shows how much time visitors from each social network spend, how many pages they view and percent who viewed more that one page (Bounce Rate):
  8. LETS YOU KNOW HOW TO ALLOCATE RESOURCES: Once you know who is coming and from where, you can compare how you are allocating resources to manage your department more effectively and efficiently.
  9. GUIDES RIGHT MARKETING MIX: Social media is meant to be an integrated part of your marketing program. Now that you know how and what the contribution from each marketing channel is, you can decide on the right marketing mix for better business effectiveness.
  10.  IDENTIFIES YOUR ADVOCATES: Lets you know the websites that write about your business or link to your website the most
  11. MEASURES ACTIONS CONSUMERS TAKE: Accounts for more actions (e.g. email sign up, downloads, video views, purchase) to draw a closer correlation between online behaviors and sales
  12. SHOW HOW MANY CONVERT: Every business should want consumers to take a specific action. Google Analytics lets you know the Conversion Rate.
  13. PROVES RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI): Once you know conversion rate or, if you sell directly from your website, sales, you can know the return on investment both overall and for each media channel, including social media.
  14. TRACKS SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS: Tracks the effectiveness of Social Media Campaigns.
  15. IS FREE: Price should not a factor for choosing a tool to measure business effectiveness, but Google Analytics is free.

Companies should go into social media with a business goal, and an understanding of the resources required to achieve it. Since social media is still a relatively new channel, this isn’t always clear. In which case, you should consider a measurement tool that can be counted on for guidance.

Would you consider Google Analytics for social media monitoring on your business?



I definitely agree that GA is great as a cornerstone from which you can build out social media marketing, but the difference between it and social listening is that Google Analytics can only give insight into consumers that connect with your website in some way.


A lot of social conversation happens without anyone connecting with a brand's website, and this external interaction and sentiment is beyond what Google Analytics can reach. That's a pretty big gap in measurement if a significant proportion of brand engagement is confined to social.


I'm sure that eventually GA will evolve into something that's platform-independent and device-independent, but until it does there's still a need, as Paul says, to pair it with something that can complete the picture. 


 @thatsdamion Damion, thanks for the input, dialogue and another vote, along with Paul, that the best solution is pairing GA will a SMM tool. I'm learning from the two of you @pshapiro 


 @pshapiro  @thebrandbuilder  @danzarrella Thanks for the input Paul. I agree on the pairing. My observation is many companies and social media/community managers (who are the primary purchasers of SMM tools at their companies) jump into SMM tools without building a web analytics foundation, first - which account for the high dissatisfaction level.  Appreciate your comment.


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