Keeping and tracking information about social sharing and actions becomes more and more important for anyone that cares about site’s visitors and site itself. However, not all tools allow easy tracking “out of the box”, so there is some work for developer. I assume that google+, share and retweet buttons are already on the site.

1. Add the site to Google Webmaster tools

Obvious, huh? However, this allows tracking of Google+ button clicks easily and produces valuable data about click profile changes. This should be a basic step for each larger website anyways.

2. Fix the Facebook open graph tags.

Facebook’s open graph like buttons do not work properly “out of the box”. There are couple tags required for them to become useful and traceable. You will be able to contact page liker’s from within FB after the fixing the tags for home page. You should not forget to define facebook admins for the site in the web page headers. Then you will be able to add and monitor your webpage in Facebook’s business insights.
This tool will allow easy validation of each page:

3. Add social events tracking to Google Analytics

This one is very important if you are using Google analytics. Although GA tracks Google+ clicks out of the box, it does not track other social events. So, you should add some custom JS in the page code to launch specific analytics events on social button actions. The generic code is to launch trackSocial method in Javascript:
_gaq.push(['_trackSocial', network, socialAction, opt_target, opt_pagePath]);
Only the network and action are required and they are passed as custom text. The opt_target parameter is useful when one uses like button for other page than default one. This page offers the best explanation how to implement facebook likes and tweet tracking :
Note, that this code is for asynchronous tracker. It will require some modifications if you use synchronous tracking, and you should probably switch to asynchronous tracker anyway. Also, you should switch to new Google analytics interface to see the tracking results.

Fix the JS of sharing buttons to track social actions as well

The code above is not universal. It tracks clicks on the default sharing/like buttons only. However, you will not be notified after shares resulting from social sharing plug-ins like AddThis or similar. However, as long as you have access to API or can modify JS, you can track these events as well:

<script type="text/javascript">

var addthis_config = {
data_ga_property: ‘UA-xxxxx-xx’,
data_track_clickback: true,
pubid: “addthis-id”


This configuration is enough to start tracking social Addthis actions in google analytics. Similar approaches might be applicable by other social sharing services.

5. Consider installing Seevolution or other JavaScript heatmap tool

Some services cannot be tracked easily. In such cases there are one option only: track clicks directly. And the best tools for that are javascript heatmap trackers. There are some choices there, though Seevolution ( ) is great and allows tracking several sites for free.

6 (bonus). Add google Alerts for tracking your website name and brand names over the web

Not every social interaction originates on your site. You should monitor your mentions on google alerts and some other services as well. This might lead to perfect opportunity to get more exposure and new visitors.

Will these 6 things cover all social interactions about your website? Definitely not. However, implementing these steps will result in much better understanding of what is happening around your site.

Any additional ideas or comments?

Categories: SEMSocial

Giedrius Majauskas

I am a internet company owner and project manager living at Lithuania. I am interested in computer security, health and technology topics.


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