Sending social interactions via measurement protocol in Google Analytics

This article is related to measurement protocol in Google Analytics.

If you are brand new to measurement protocol, then read this article first: Understanding Google Analytics measurement protocol.

In this article, I will show you, how to send social interactions data (Facebook likes, Twitter tweets, Google +1s etc) via the measurement protocol.

In Google Analytics, Social Interactions (or social network interactions) can mean:

  • Facebook likes
  • Facebook unlikes
  • Twitter Tweets
  • Twitter Follows
  • Twitter Retweet
  • Twitter Clicks
  • Google +1s etc.

These social interactions are measured by tracking the number of times a user click on social sharing buttons embedded on a web page.

Social Interactions is made up of following type of data in Google Analytics:

#1 socialNetwork – the social network on which the interaction occurred.

#2 socialAction – the type of social interaction that occurred.

#3 socialTarget – URL of the web page where the social interaction occurred. The value of social target is usually a URL but it can also be any string.

The ‘socialNetwork’ field can have following values:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Disqus
  • Stack Overflow
  • Google+
  • Pocket
  • it
  • Quora
  • Netvibes etc

The ‘socialAction’ field can have following values:

  • like
  • unlike
  • click
  • tweet
  • + 1
  • follow
  • retweet etc

In order to send social interactions data via measurement protocol, use the following protocol parameters (in addition to the 4 required parameters) in the payload data:

 

#1 Social Action

Social Action is denoted by ‘sa’ parameter.

The value of this parameter should be a text string. For example:

sa=like

As in:

v=1&t=social&tid=UA-1500844-34&cid=4bae429a-8589-4d89-91d9-c3f45f2b58e2&sa=like
&sn=facebook&st=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.optimizesmart.com%2Fanalytics-consultation%2F

 

#2 Social Network

Social network is denoted by ‘sn’ parameter.

The value of this parameter should be a text string. For example:

sn=facebook

As in:

v=1&t=social&tid=UA-1500844-34&cid=4bae429a-8589-4d89-91d9-c3f45f2b58e2&
sa=like&sn=facebook&st=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.optimizesmart.com%2Fanalytics-consultation%2F

 

#3 Social Target

Social target is denoted by ‘st’ parameter.

The value of this parameter should be a URL encoded text string. For example:

st=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.optimizesmart.com%2Fanalytics-consultation%2F

As in:

v=1&t=social&tid=UA-1500844-34&cid=4bae429a-8589-4d89-91d9-c3f45f2b58e2&sa=like&
sn=facebook&st=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.optimizesmart.com%2Fanalytics-consultation%2F

 

Once you have created the payload data, ask your developer to write an application (program) which make the following similar HTTP POST request to the GA server:

User-Agent: user_agent_string

POST https://www.google-analytics.com/collect?payload_data

For example:

User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/30.0.1599.69 Safari/537.36

POST https://www.google-analytics.com/collect?v=1&t=social&tid=UA-1500844-34&
cid=4bae429a-8589-4d89-91d9-c3f45f2b58e2&sa=like&sn=facebook&
st=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.optimizesmart.com%2Fanalytics-consultation%2F

This HTTP POST request will send the payload data (which contains the social interactions data) to Google Analytics.

 

Other articles on measurement protocol

  1. Sending pageview data via measurement protocol in Google Analytics
  2. Sending campaign data via measurement protocol in Google Analytics
  3. Sending event data via measurement protocol in Google Analytics
  4. Sending ecommerce data via measurement protocol in Google Analytics
  5. Creating and validating measurement protocol requests through postman
  6. Understanding measurement protocol validation server
 

What is the difference between Digital Analytics and Google Analytics?


99.99% of course creators themselves don’t know the difference between Digital analytics, Google Analytics (GA) and Google Tag Manager (GTM).

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But Digital analytics is not about GA, GTM.

It is about analyzing and interpreting data, setting up goals, strategies and KPIs.

It’s about creating strategic roadmap for your business.


Digital Analytics is the core skill. Google Analytics is just a tool used to implement ‘Digital Analytics’.

You can also implement ‘Digital analytics’ via other tools like ‘adobe analytics’, ‘kissmetrics’ etc.

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The direction in which your analysis will move, will determine the direction in which your marketing campaigns and eventually your company will move to get the highest possible return on investment.

You get that direction from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.


You learn to set up KPIs, strategies and measurement framework for your business from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.

So if you are taking a course only on 'Digital Analytics’, you are learning to use one of the tools of ‘Digital analytics’. You are not learning the ‘Digital analytics’ itself.

Since any person can learn to use Google Analytics in couple of weeks, you do no get any competitive advantage in the marketplace just by knowing GA.

You need to know lot more than GA in order to work in digital analytics and marketing field.


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I truly hope you find it helpful.  

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Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence.

The Digital Analytics Association is a world renowned not-for-profit association which helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

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