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Social Tracking Integrations For Google Analytics

Back in June, Google Analytics unveiled a new set of Social Engagement Reports, which can be used to get content interaction metrics from social sharing icons such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other. Google+ is tracked by default (no codes needed), but other networks must implement the _trackSocial method in order to collect the interactions.

Last week, the Analytics team announced an official integration with social sharing services ShareThis and AddThis. According to their blog post:

google analytics social tracking

To enable the integration for all of your AddThis buttons, you are now just one line of code away, and ShareThis users don’t have to do a thing. If you have Google Analytics installed, and you are using a ShareThis widget, simply login into Google Analytics and check out your new social reports!

While this is great news for many website owners, which can get the social analytics without getting into code implementation, there are still a few issues with these integrations. First, one of the characteristics of the Social Tracking is that it is not filterable. So, for example, if I have two websites under the same account and I use filters to separate the data, the social data will not be separated; if I have a profile for an agency that manages my PPC account that should include only CPC data (according to the filters), they will see all the social data, unrelated to what kind of filter is applied to the profile.

AddThis gets a +1, since it provides the option to choose to add the social method if their customers want to. ShareThis tracking is automatic, so if I have Analytics users who cannot see social data in my account, ShareThis would not be appropriate, unless it provides in the future an opt out from social analytics.

In addition, as we can see in the screenshot below, some calls are still not clear as to their meaning on ShareThis. We have reached their team for an explanation on what is “ShareThis_follow: Share” and “sharethis: sharethis” which, in Search Engine Land’s social reports, represent 6% of all social actions.

Post Script: According to ShareThis, the meaning of the two unknown calls are:

  • ShareThis_follow : Share – This is twitter follow
  • sharethis : sharethis – This is from publisher’s own logging.

ShareThis social tracking


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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