As Google continues to set the bar for website analytics, Hootsuite, the social media management service, is promoting its ability to create sophisticated visualizations based on data available through the Google Analytics API. In the crowded world of social management and analytics tools, Hootsuite is poised somewhere between a multichannel social publishing platform and social analytics tool. Their recent focus on data visualization shows just how important the analytics part of the business is. While Hootsuite offers a free entry-level service the advanced Google Analytics integration is only available to paid subscribers.
Hootsuite already supports a large array of social media APIs, including the major players Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and some of the key sharing channels such as YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr and others.
Hootsuite’s Analytics integration includes Sparklines, a data visualization system (available as a JQuery plugin) that generates abbreviated charts that present KPI data in a dashboard environment. Sparklines differ from conventional charts in that they leave out all extraneous information in favor of concise visualizations that can be read at a glance.
Hootsuite will also support goals and funnels, two key features of Google Analytics. Goals allows site administrators to establish desired actions and evaluate their sites performance against visitors success rate at reaching those goals. Funnels tracks visitor path through a site in relations to an established goal.
Google Analytics and their API have destabilized the field of website metrics by making their robust service available freely. However, it is only a matter of time before brand managers and media buyers clamor for a single integrated tool to conduct social monitoring and website analytics.