By Michael Olson | Posted on September 28, 2012
This is the sixth and final in a series of blog posts outlining best practices for integrating social technologies on your site.
In sports, there is a reason why we keep score – to see how we’re doing and make improvements. Marketing and technology are the same way. Analytics provide the insights necessary to optimize web technology implementations and maximize return on investment. As with other technologies you already use, your user management platform solution should include a rich set of analytics to make you much smarter about measuring the effectiveness of your user acquisition and intelligence programs.
If you plan to let people log in to your site with their choice of social identities, it’s helpful to know which ones they ultimately choose. Social login analytics help you track the most popular social providers over time and adjust your supported networks to cater toward your audience’s preference and maximize the likelihood of conversion.
It’s a two-way street – marketers want to know where their site content is syndicated, and where their site traffic comes from. Social sharing analytics provide both, enabling you to drive on both sides of the proverbial road, so to speak. You will want to view reports on shared content by preferred social channel and measure referral traffic generated to your site from each social network. These insights can be used to determine the effectiveness of refer-a-friend programs, and provide a clue into which social networks are most receptive to your content as you refine your broader social media strategy.
Successful marketing strategies are predicated on an understanding of your target audience. To develop that understanding, your profile data storage solution should provide aggregate snapshots of the composition of your user database. It should help you contrast geographic, gender and age breakdowns and determine the most prominent interests or favorite books, music and movies shared by your site users.
While traditional web analytics platforms are very good at telling you, on aggregate, how people are using your site, they often fall short at telling you who is actually on it, and what an individual person is doing. Effective behavioral analytics should close the gap between user identity and site usage by reporting defined behaviors such as purchases, comments, reviews or specific page views on an individual user basis. In short, they should augment your existing site analytics by providing the intelligence needed to identify influencers and create rewards programs that generate maximum ROI.
Detailed data about registration and login events, shares, or user profile attributes are most valuable when combined with insights from your dedicated analytics platform. Whether you are using Adobe SiteCatalyst (Omniture), Coremetrics, Google Analytics, Webtrends or other software, it is crucial to pass registration events from social logins into your existing analytics funnels to test, iterate and optimize site conversion rates. For example, how do site registration conversion rates differ for social login versus those users who sign-up the traditional way? In addition, your social profile storage solution should enable you to pass user data attributes into your analytics data stream to drive deeper insights. For example, are males or females more likely to complete a product purchase flow on your site? Do older or younger audiences tend to prefer certain types of content on your site? Event and data-layer integrations with analytics platforms make these types of insights achievable.
To learn more about single sign-on as well as other social and identity management technologies, check out our Definitive Guide to User Management.
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