A new Google Analytics feature will allow content developers to visualize a lot more than merely website visits. Google realizes that shared content rarely happens from a particular website. Instead, it happens throughout various social networking properties and feed aggregators. As such, Google has an open invitation to social media sites to integrate their data into Google Analytics.
By doing so, Google will gain valuable insight as to how content is shared across the social web and integrate those into their customers' analytics feeds. The intent, says Google, is to allow site owners the ability to know what kind of engagement their content gets through social media and measure it by social network for the purpose of being able to optimize content for additional engagement across social networks.
Google social products like Google+, Blogger, and Google Groups are already involved in the process. Other partner networks have also signed on, including Delicious, Digg, ReadItLater, Reddit, TypePad and more.
This is merely a call for developers to give Google feeds. The social reports won't be integrated into Google Analytics until next year. Until then, the Google Analytics team is offering this developer site where developers can get the scoop on how to get started sending social feeds to Google Analytics.
While social media integration into analytics packages is relatively new, there are a few enterprise-level analytics software that already offer users the ability to integrate not only social sharing sites, but also information about apps in their respective stores. Webtrends, for one, allows users to enter their usernames and passwords for various social sites and app stores directly into the software and data from those respective sites are seamlessly integrated into reports.
By entering your username and password into your analytics software, your data is pulled and integrated into reports automatically. Google's product will simply take every participating social networks' feeds and share them, presumably properly.
Is this a good idea or a bad idea for social networks? How would you use integrated social analytics in your day-to-day analytics reports?