March 21st, 2012

Wave Goodbye, Hello Social Reports

Back in August 2010 I wrote Rethinking failure: Google Wave and the time has finally come for Google Wave to sunset as an email yesterday announced This is a reminder that the Wave service will be turned off on April 30, 2012. You will be able to continue exporting individual waves using the existing PDF export feature until the Google Wave service is turned off. We encourage you to export any important data before April 30, 2012.

I’ll have to check if I have anything I consider important in Google Wave to export but in revisiting Manhunt: Google Wave for Community (Emergency?) Communication in November 2009 I’m struck by what a difference in time that was when Twitter and Facebook usage was not nearly so prevalent in society. Today Twitter turns six! I’ve been usurping Twitter hashtags since 2009 but who could have envisioned their power with the Egyptian revolution last year?

Enter Google Analytics’ introduction of social media reports within their tools as announced today-

We wanted to help you with 3 things:

  •     Identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to direct conversions or assist in future conversions
  •     Understand social activities happening both on and off of your site to help you optimize user engagement and increase social key performance indicators (KPIs)
  •     Make better, more efficient data-driven decisions in your social media marketing programs

The bullet points are pretty full of marketing jargon, but I think all of us in the information field can see the value of all of them: we want people to turn to us and our resources (‘conversions’ means the transition from casual to intentional browsing), we want to actually engage with our users via our communication channels, and we want to show that we’re actually engaging with them instead of flinging up a Facebook page and Twitter account like all the other libraries are.

The first step is defining goals, as explained in an overview, in categories including URL destination (the last page of a multipage tutorial on a library website for example), time spent on the site, pages per visit and events (more complicated).

I am behind in my exploration of Google Analytics tools but this one has me particularly excited about potential and I’ll be poking around with it when I’m not having our son change his muddy baseball uniform into one for  Scouts while in a mad dash for time without mooning everyone from the car a bit more free and report back.

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