Tracking Twitter and Linkedin Social Interactions in Google Analytics

This is the second article in the social interactions tracking series.

The first article was: Tracking Facebook Social Interactions with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager

Where I introduced the concept of social interactions tracking in Google Analytics and explained in great detail how to track Facebook ‘likes’ and ‘unlikes’ with and without Google Tag Manager.

Do check it out, if you have not already.

Today I am going to show you how to track Twitter social interactions (tweets, clicks and follows) and Linkedin interactions (shares) in Google Analytics with and without Google Tag Manager:

tracking twitter and linkedin interactions

Introduction to Twitter Social Interactions tracking in Google Analytics

twitter social interactions

In Google Analytics (GA), twitter Interactions/events can mean:

  1. Click
  2. Tweet
  3. Retweet
  4. Favorite
  5. Follow

‘Click’ event is triggered when a user clicks on a twitter button . The twitter button can be: Tweet button, Follow button, Hashtag button or Mention button:

different twitter buttons

Source: https://about.twitter.com/resources/buttons

‘Tweet’ event is triggered when a user publishes a tweet. The tweet can be new tweet or reply to some other tweet.

‘Retweet’ event is triggered when a user retweet a tweet.

‘Favorite’ event is triggered when a user ‘favorite’ a tweet.

‘Follow’ event is triggered when a user follows you.

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In this article we will be tracking: clicks, tweets and follows. I couldn’t find a way to track ‘retweets’ and ‘favorites’. I am also not sure whether these events can even be tracked in the first place.

To send Twitter interactions data to Google Analytics, use the Google Analytics ‘send’ command with social hit type:

ga(‘send’, ‘social’, ‘Twitter’, ‘Click’, window.location.href); // Send twitter clicks to GA

ga(‘send’, ‘social’, ‘Twitter’, ‘Tweet’, window.location.href); // Send twitter tweets to GA

ga(‘send’, ‘social’, ‘Twitter’, ‘Follow’, window.location.href); // Send twitter follows to GA

Once you have implemented Twitter Interactions tracking, you can see the data in your GA view by going to Acquisition > Social > Plugins report and then click on ‘Social Source and Action’ tab:

social source and action

Requirements for Twitter Interactions Tracking in Google Analytics

Following are the requirements for implementing Twitter interactions tracking in Google Analytics:

#1 Universal Analytics tracking installed on the website

I have written this article under the assumption that you use ‘Universal Analytics‘ on your website. If you are still using the old Google Analytics (based on ga.js library) then you are reading the wrong article. Checkout this article: Google Analytics Social Tracking – Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus & Linkedin

#2 Basic understanding of Twitter JavaScript SDK for websites and Web Intent Events

But since you are reading this article, you don’t need to develop such understanding. I have done all the legwork for you.

#3 You need the Official Twitter Plugin

Tweet button, Follow button, Hashtag button and Mention button provided by Twitter are all official twitter plugins:

different twitter buttons

Source: https://about.twitter.com/resources/buttons

I have written this article for tracking twitter interactions via the plugins provided by Twitter.

There are many social sharing plugins in the market like: Addthis, Shareaholic, Disqus, Sumome etc which provide their own plugins for twitter.

However tracking twitter interactions in Google Analytics via these social plugins is different and is not covered in this article. If you want to track twitter events via these plugins then your first you need to find their callback function and then use this callback function to push twitter events data into Google Analytics.

To get more accurate count of twitter interactions occurred on your website, just use the plugins provided by Twitter.

Note: Through Twitter Interaction tracking you can track only those twitter interactions which occurred on your website via the plugin you are tracking. You can not track twitter interactions across the internet.

Tracking Twitter Social Interactions without using GTM

Following is the process for tracking Twitter ‘clicks’, ‘tweets’ and ‘follows’ without using Google Tag Manager in a nutshell:

twitter interactions tracking process

Step-1: Install the official twitter plugin(s) from here: https://about.twitter.com/resources/buttons

Step-2: Add the following widgets.js script in the head section (before the closing </head> tag on each page of your website:

<script>
// Load the the widgets.js script in the head section of your template
window.twttr = (function(d, s, id) {
  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],
    t = window.twttr || {};
  if (d.getElementById(id)) return t;
  js = d.createElement(s);
  js.id = id;
  js.src = "https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";
  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);

  t._e = [];
  t.ready = function(f) {
    t._e.push(f);
  };

  return t;
}(document, "script", "twitter-wjs"));

</script>

Step-3: Add following Twitter interactions tracking code just after your official Twitter plugin code on each page of the website:

<script> 

// Define Call Back Functions
function clickEventToAnalytics() {
ga('send', 'social', 'Twitter', 'Click', window.location.href);
}

function tweetIntentToAnalytics() {
ga('send', 'social', 'Twitter', 'Tweet', window.location.href);
}

function retweetIntentToAnalytics() {
ga('send', 'social', 'Twitter', 'Retweet', window.location.href);
}

function followIntentToAnalytics() {
ga('send', 'social', 'Twitter', 'Follow', window.location.href);
}

// Bind Twitter events to Call Back Functions

if (typeof twttr !== 'undefined') {
  twttr.ready(function (twttr) {

    twttr.events.bind('click', clickEventToAnalytics);  
	twttr.events.bind('tweet', tweetIntentToAnalytics);
	twttr.events.bind('retweet', retweetIntentToAnalytics);
	twttr.events.bind('follow', followIntentToAnalytics);

  });
}

</script>

Tracking Twitter Social Interactions via GTM

Following is the process for tracking Twitter ‘clicks’, ‘tweets’ and ‘follows’ through Google Tag Manager in a nutshell:

twitter interactions tracking process2

Step-1: Install the official twitter plugin(s) from here: https://about.twitter.com/resources/buttons

Step-2: Add the widgets.js script (mentioned above) in the head section (before the closing </head> tag on each page of your website. Just like Facebook JavaScript SDK, the widgets.js script can’t be deployed via GTM.

Step-3: In order to capture and push twitter events into GTM data layer, create following Custom HTML tag in your GTM and name it ‘Capture and Push Twitter Events into Data Layer’:

<script>

// Define Call Back Functions

function clickEventToAnalytics() {
dataLayer.push({
              'event': 'TWEvent', 
              'socialNetwork': 'Twitter', 
              'socialAction': 'Click', 
              'socialTarget': window.location.href
          });
}

function tweetIntentToAnalytics() {
dataLayer.push({
              'event': 'TWEvent', 
              'socialNetwork': 'Twitter', 
              'socialAction': 'Tweet', 
              'socialTarget': window.location.href
          });
}

function retweetIntentToAnalytics() {
dataLayer.push({
              'event': 'TWEvent', 
              'socialNetwork': 'Twitter', 
              'socialAction': 'Retweet', 
              'socialTarget': window.location.href
          });
}

function followIntentToAnalytics() {
dataLayer.push({
              'event': 'TWEvent', 
              'socialNetwork': 'Twitter', 
              'socialAction': 'Follow', 
              'socialTarget': window.location.href
          });
}

// Bind Twitter events to Call Back Functions

if (typeof twttr !== 'undefined') {
  twttr.ready(function (twttr) {

    twttr.events.bind('click', clickEventToAnalytics);  
	twttr.events.bind('tweet', tweetIntentToAnalytics);
	twttr.events.bind('retweet', retweetIntentToAnalytics);
	twttr.events.bind('follow', followIntentToAnalytics);

  });
}

</script>

Fire this tag on ‘DOM load’.

Here is how the GTM configuration for this tag would look like:

capture and push twitter events into datalayer

If you are not sure how to create a custom HTML tag in GTM, then checkout this article: Beginners guide to Google Tag Manager V2

Step-4: To pull twitter events from data layer into the container tag, create following three data layer variables in GTM:

  1. Social Network
  2. Social Action
  3. Social Target

data layer variables

Here is how the GTM configuration for these 3 data layer variables will look like:

data layer variables configurations

If you are not sure, how to create Data Layer Variables in GTM then checkout this article: Understanding Triggers and Variables in Google Tag Manager V2

Note: If you have already created these data layers before for the purpose of tracking Facebook social interactions then you don’t need to create them again. Just use the existing data layer variables.

Step-5: In order to send twitter events to Google Analytics, create a new tag of type ‘Universal Analytics’ and name it ‘Send Twitter Events to Google Analytics‘. Configure this tag as shown below:

send twitter events to GA

Set,

Track Type: Social

Network: {{Social Network}}

Action: {{Social Action}}

Target: {{Social Target}}

Here ,

{{Social Network}}, {{Social Action}} and {{Social Target}} are the data layer variables we just created.

Fire this tag on the trigger named ‘On Twitter Interaction’. Configure this trigger as shown below:

on twitter interaction

If you are not sure, how to create triggers in GTM then checkout this article: Understanding Triggers and Variables in Google Tag Manager V2

Now test and publish your container. This will install Twitter Social Interactions tracking via GTM.

Tracking LinkedIn Shares in Google Analytics

linkedin shares tracking

Tracking Linkedin shares is tricky because its callback function doesn’t work. It stopped working years ago and I don’t think it is going to work any time soon.

To track Linkedin shares in Google Analytics, follow the steps below:

Step-1: Go to Linkedin share plugin generator page: https://developer.linkedin.com/plugins/share and grab the button code. It will look like the one below:

<script src="//platform.linkedin.com/in.js" type="text/javascript"> lang: en_US</script>
<script type="IN/Share" data-counter="right"></script>


Step-2
: Modify this button code as shown below:

<a onClick=”ga(‘send’, ‘social’, ‘Linkedin’,’Share’,window.location.href);”><script src=”//platform.linkedin.com/in.js” type=”text/javascript”> lang: en_US</script><script type=”IN/Share” data-counter=”right”></script></a>

The code in bold text is the new code added to the button code. Copy-paste this code from the box below:

<a onClick="ga('send', 'social', 'Linkedin','Share',window.location.href);">
<script src="//platform.linkedin.com/in.js" type="text/javascript"> lang: en_US</script>
<script type="IN/Share" data-counter="right"></script>
</a>

Linkedin doesn’t let you add the ‘onClick’ event handler to its button, so I wrapped this button with empty anchor tag (the tag without anchor text) and add the onClick event handler to it.

This onClick event handler sends the linkedin shares data count to Google Analytics on button click. This is not fool proof tracking as a user may click on the button but may not share your article. But this is the best solution I have found so far.

Other article you will find useful: Tracking Facebook Social Interactions with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager

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