In March, HootSuite announced their release of Social Analytics which combines the power of HootSuite’s ow.ly statistics with Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and more. They already boast an easy-to-use interface for managing social media channels, and now HootSuite Pro users have an expanded social reporting dashboard that is providing best-in-class reporting options starting at $5.99 per month.

What HootSuite Pro Does Well

One-Click Report Creation

The social reporting dashboard allows users to set up a variety of automated reports including Ow.ly stats, Facebook Insights, and Google Analytics. They have made it fairly easy to create reports by providing templates and a system of widgets that allow you to quickly drag and drop reporting elements onto your dashboard.

HootSuite provides users with one-click reporting templates

White-labeled Reporting for Agencies

One nice feature is that they allow you to provide customized headers for the reports. This is great for agencies who want a white-labeled reporting option for clients.

HootSuite Offers a Personalized Report Header

Drag and Drop Custom Report Creation

HootSuite is known for their simple interface and they certainly continued with the same approach in their reporting suite. Users can create custom reports by simply dragging report modules onto their report interface. This makes it very easy to quickly create reports with the statistics that are most important to any user.

HootSuite allows users to drag and drop reporting widgets

Third Party Reporting Integration

HootSuite did a good job of combining multiple reporting systems into one dashboard. They have integrated Twitter stats, Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, and most recently Google + Page stats. It is really nice to get an overview of your stats in one place without having to leave the dashboard. The data within the reports is fairly interesting as well. For example, you can overlay your website traffic with your tweets so you can see if the frequency of your tweets impacts site traffic.

Hidden Google Analytics Features Make this the Best Value in the Market

HootSuite Pro users also have the ability to integrate Google’s campaign tracking on every shortened URL. This is where the reporting features start to get really interesting. Now, HootSuite users can input Google’s custom URL parameters on every link with a simple interface. Why is this important? Because now users will have the ability to tie in campaign tracking from their social media channels and view conversions right within the Google Analytics dashboard.

The feature is hidden behind a difficult to see gear when you go to shorten your URLS. HootSuite does a great job of providing a clean interface, however I wish this feature was highlighted more prominently. This integration is HootSuite’s big differentiator and you have to know it’s there to use it.

HootSuite Pro users Can Add Google Campaign Parameters to URLs

What HootSuite Could Work On

Pricing

On one hand HootSuite does pricing exceptionally well providing a tremendously intuitive platform starting at $5.99 per month. As mentioned previously with the Google Campaign Tracking integration it is the best value I’ve been able to find in the market and with their price point it is a great option for small businesses too. But on the other hand they made it confusing for reports. While the ow.ly click stats report is free for all users, each of the other report modules has a points value. This is somewhat of a complex system for figuring out how much the report will cost. While the data is really nice, this pricing system could be simplified so that users know exactly how much the reports cost.

More Google Analytics Campaign Integration

There are a couple of items that I think HootSuite could do better with this integration. First, you have to know it’s there if you want to use it because it is hidden in the interface. Second, when I went to view campaign conversion data, I was surprised that HootSuite didn’t have the report available. For marketers, this is one of the most powerful data sets that we can find, so I’m hoping it is on their radar. For now, you will have to log in to Google Analytics to see your data. If you have goals and funnels set up within Google analytics you will be able to see how your social media traffic converted.

Google Analytics Social Campaign Reporting

Finally, the addition of Google Analytics Campaign parameters was not added into the bulk scheduling feature which is a huge time saver for marketers. I would like to be able to add my campaign tracking within the bulk scheduler and be able to take advantage of both of these great features.

Summary

Overall, the social analytics reporting features are a nice addition to the HootSuite interface. But the game changer is the integration of Google Analytics campaign tracking. This finally gives us the ability to compare apples to apples and make better decisions at a price that won’t break the bank. This is a huge differentiator for HootSuite. There are three types of tools in the market: social media engagement, social media monitoring and social media measurement. HootSuite has done a great job of combining robust features for engagement and measurement with basic monitoring tools at a reasonable cost.

What do you think of HootSuite’s Social Analytics Reports? Did you know you could integrate Google Analytics campaigns? What social media measurement tips do you have?

Hear more about Social Media Measurement at the Explore, a Social Media Explorer event. 

*Disclaimer: Nichole Kelly is an avid HootSuite user who has collaborated with HootSuite on multiple projects to help their users better understand social media measurement including a white paper series. HootSuite provides Nichole with a free HootSuite Pro account for content development purposes. Nichole has not received any other compensation from HootSuite or Google.

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About Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly is the CEO of Social Media Explorer|SME Digital. She is also the author of How to Measure Social Media. Her team helps companies figure out where social media fits and then helps execute the recommended strategy across the “right” mix of social media channels. Do you want to rock the awesome with your digital marketing strategy? Contact Nichole

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.bazaarvoice.com/blog/ Ian Greenleigh

    Could not. Agree. More. I love the ways Hootsuite incorporates data from GA, and I want more of it. I also love the Ow.ly click stats–I bought a vanity URL through them and can see how each tweet performs right from Hootsuite. 

    Something I see as lacking across the entire platform is historical analysis. Sure, you can trend things, but you can’t see percent changes over past performance, or even raw numbers (depending which chart you’re looking at). Agree about pricing–the a la carte menu is a little strange and confusing. Also, the enterprise accounts don’t add too much functionality for the price. More seats and G+ integration aren’t worth the extra $$$ yet. 

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      Ian – Great feedback. I agree there could be more control over historical analysis and data output. Perhaps they will read your feedback and put it on the list! Thanks so much for commenting.

  • http://www.contentequalsmoney.com/ Serena

    Wow!  This sounds like a great new resource, and your article was very thorough in describing it.  Thanks for the information, and I can’t wait to see how social media evolves over 2012!

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      I’m thrilled you found the post useful Serena. Thanks for commenting! I can’t wait to see what is in store for 2012 either!

  • http://blog.hootsuite.com Andy from HootSuite

    Hi Nichole,
    Thanks for sharing this great article. As always, you’ve done a great job breaking down our features. Hoot on!

    • Nichole_Kelly

      Thanks for stopping by Andy! Good stuff from HootSuite as usual.

  • http://www.customessays.co.uk/dissertation.php dissertation writing

    Hey Nicole really nice name! Thanks for the post~!

  • http://www.san-diego-marketing.com/ San Diego Marketing

    I used hootsuite once, and it was a pretty great tool. The google analytics campaign integration seems like it would be quite useful in terms of tracking twitter response and reaction.

  • http://twitter.com/passionmuse The Author Pro

    I’ve used Hootsuite before but switched over to something else. After reading this, perhaps it’s time to take another look again. Being able to build a great looking report monthly for the authors that I help would be an invaluable tool. I really like that it can be customized so as to avoid info overload and only give them the actual numbers that they want to see or understand.

    I agree with you about that ‘points’ pricing structure though. Plain and simple pricing is sometimes really the best way to go. I hope Hootsuite takes a long hard look at changing that.

  • http://twitter.com/passionmuse The Author Pro

    I’ve used Hootsuite before but switched over to something else. After reading this, perhaps it’s time to take another look again. Being able to build a great looking report monthly for the authors that I help would be an invaluable tool. I really like that it can be customized so as to avoid info overload and only give them the actual numbers that they want to see or understand.

    I agree with you about that ‘points’ pricing structure though. Plain and simple pricing is sometimes really the best way to go. I hope Hootsuite takes a long hard look at changing that.

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