How to Track Social Media Interactions with Adobe SiteCatalyst

Many sites these days incorporate social media elements – ways to like, tweet, digg – their content. Since these elements live on your website, you should have no problems tracking the interactions your users have with the social media elements on your site.

There are a number of different ways in Adobe (formerly Omniture) SiteCatalyst to track and capture these interactions.

Traffic Variables

One easy way to track the interactions of the various social media elements on your site is to track them through the SiteCatalyst traffic variables, also known as s.Props. This is fairly straight forward, with just the addition of an onClick event added to the link in each element which would look something like this:

<a href="http://twitter.com/share" data-url="http://somesite.com/pagename.php"
class="twitter-share-button" data-count="horizontal" onclick="s.Prop1='Twitter'">Tweet</a>

This will populate your s.Prop1 (Custom Traffic variable 1) and increment on “Twitter”. Similarly if you have a Facebook Like button, you would use

onClick="s.Prop1='Facebook Like'"

s.Props can be used with 2 and 5-item correlations set up in the Admin tool.

Conversion Variables

Similar to using Traffic variables, you can also capture these same social media elements using the conversion variables, or s.eVars. In this case instead of using s.Prop1 you could use s.eVar1:

<a href="http://twitter.com/share" data-url="http://somesite.com/pagename.php"
class="twitter-share-button" data-count="horizontal" onclick="s.eVar1='Twitter'">Tweet</a>

In SiteCatalyst 14 and older, conversion variables have some basic subrelations that are typically enabled by default. In version 15, full subrelations are enabled for all eVars by default, or can be enabled by ClientCare in version 14 or lower. In addition to the subrelations, eVars can use s.Events as metrics.

Combination of Custom Events and Conversion Variables

While the previous two methods will give you a count of interactions with your social media elements, and even allow you to correlate and/or have subrelations against other variables within SiteCatalyst, this method would give another way to view the interactions and give you a view on a per-page basis.

This requires you to set up a different s.Event for each type of social media element on your site:

onclick="s.events='event1'"
onclick="s.events='event2'"

Where event1=tweets, event2=likes, and so on.

Then you would set up an eVar to capture your s.pageName

s.evar1=s.pageName

This will allow you to view how many tweets, likes, etc. you are getting, per page. The reason you want to set up the eVar to capture the pageName, is because the out-of-the-box Pages report will not attribute the events accurately per page. For example, if you view 10 pages before “liking” a specific page, each of those pages gets 10% of the credit (or basically increments 0.1 times for that single “like”). This will not happen with the eVar.

Which Method is Right for Me?

The method to choose is entirely dependent on your site, your business requirements, and the KPIs you have defined. Although it may not be a bad idea to use all three methods as I personally find they are all useful to on extent or another, and each gives you a different perspective on how your social media elements are being interacted with. Ultimately I’d recommend just setting up all three methods.

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