Google Analytics does a lot for us, and it does so much that we can’t always find some of the cooler functionality.
I recently discovered some VERY useful information regarding social media linking in Google Analytics.
Google Analytics will let you review the social media discussions and events (+1, Like, Bookmaarks, etc) and do the usual stuff with it.
To find your Social Media actions in Google Analytics:
- Log into Google Analytics and get to your Standard Reporting dashboard
- In the left nav, navigate to: Traffic Sources -> Social -> Pages
- Here you can see your most “Liked” content, but it gets better… (and the activity incoming from social networks)
- Click on any of the “Pages” in the list, I clicked the first link
- You can now see various Social Media networks that drive your traffic (“Social Referral”)
- Click on “Activity Steam”
- Here you land on the “Conversations” section, you can also click on the “Events” section (next to “Viewing” above the actual data)
- Great — but there’s more…
- Click on “ALL” under the “Pages” title (top left corner) — this can be done under events and conversations
Using this you can see all social media conversations sending links to your site, as well as all actions (and sometimes which user) that saved/liked/plussed your site.
They go through the usual stuff, auto completing forms, inline editing, fancy uploading, email, file directory, etc.
The most interseting, to me at least, is the “ClickHeat Clicks Heatmap“.
The other effects are all standard, they are very useful, but as is noted in the article — heatmaps are an underused aspect in web development.
Way back when, I used to work on Heatmaps (although I didn’t have a name for it). I had created a webpage that was just a grid of 5×5 transparent pixels. The point of that, was that each pixel reported the mouse position on mouseover. Back then (this was in 1998 now), I had tried to find a way to get the browser to be able to track down where the user “looks” with the mouse, while on your website.
Can’t we all understand just how powerful this is?
We can finally, clearly, see what a user is looking at with their mouse. I know I do this — move my mouse around as I’m interested in something in an article. I don’t know why I do it, but I do.
Here’s just some quick ideas:
- Identify if the users can “see” parts of your navigation, or if they are ignoring it
- Which articles are they looking at?
- Optimize the functionality to report on a single user, and record the time of the mouse position — giving a view of exactly where a user moves their mouse (they may provide this functionality)
- Adding mouse movement tracking (the software seems to only report clicking locations)