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:


As in:



#2 Social Network

Social network is denoted by ‘sn’ parameter.

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


As in:



#3 Social Target

Social target is denoted by ‘st’ parameter.

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

As in:



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


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


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

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