14 April 2010

Track visits from Buzz with Google Analytics

In spite of numerous critics, continues to evolve and add features at a fast pace. Just yesterday the team released a set of official ‘Share on Buzz’ buttons that can be easily added to blogs and websites. Almost immediately people started to adapt it for Blogger's home page or as a bookmarklet to share any site. Personally, I prefer to share pages in that has similar tools, because you can collect the entire page and search it’s contents later, if it offers a full RSS feed.

I have also included a compact button on my blog and, after reading Rick Klau’s article, got an idea how to make the button even better: add Google Analytics page tags to track clicks originating from Google Buzz. It’s just a matter of changing the original code to add some parameters to the regular blog post URL. The text you should insert in the Blogger template looks like this:

<a class='google-buzz-button' data-button-style='small-count' expr:data-url='data:post.url + &quot;?utm_source=Buzz&amp;utm_medium=BlogButton&quot;' href='http://www.google.com/buzz/post' title='Post on Google Buzz'/>     
<script src='http://www.google.com/buzz/api/button.js' type='text/javascript'/>

After you save the template, the Buzz button will share the URL with these tags attached to it and every time someone clicks on the Buzz link this will be recorded separately in Analytics. You can change the text highlighted in italics to anything else to make it more relevant for your personal needs. Using this method would bring the data about your Buzz audience to the surface; normally Analytics doesn’t report Buzz as a referrer, as Matt Cutts explained here. Of course, this only works if people share the blog post through this button, not if they use Google Reader or a bookmarklet in the browser, but it’s a start nonetheless. This could probably be adapted for WordPress as well. Ideally larger sites would introduce this, then we could have a better idea about the real usage of Google Buzz.Google Analytics Buzz as traffic source

Together with the new buttons for sharing, the Buzz team launched a small API for buttons and sharing and it can be adapted to create a Google Reader ‘Send To’ link. You may wonder why would you need another way to feed links to Buzz, since sharing does the same thing quicker. But you may want to share something only with specific contact groups or disconnect Reader shares from Buzz completely; in these cases a custom link can make occasional Buzz posts much easier. Use these settings to create it:

Name: Post on Google Buzz     
URL: http://www.google.com/buzz/post?message=${source}: ${title}&url=${url}
Icon URL: http://code.google.com/apis/buzz/images/google-buzz-16x16.png


  1. Hi! With the combination of your advice and Rick Klaus's article, I managed to add this to my blog. I did notice that with some long post titles it hide the end of the title so I played around with it until I got it right, that is, under my post title.

    Do you mind if I write a post on this with reference to the both of you?

    Many, many thanks - Peter

  2. Hi! I just buzzed this article and the your counter reset itself to zero. Any ideas on what is happening?

    Take Care,

  3. Hi, Peter!
    Now that you mentioned it, I also see my counter is stuck at zero. I naturally made some tests with Buzz before writing the article, but I used private buzz and delete them afterwards, so I didn't pay much attention to the counter.
    The only explanation I can think of is that if you add the Google Analytics parameters, the button interprets the URL as a different one and doesn't add it to the Buzz count of the original URL. The Digg button has the same problem.

    P.S. Of course I don't mind if you write a post mentioning this one, and I'm sure Rick won't mind either ;)

  4. I read the whole article and I really had a great time read it. I am looking forward on reading more amazing post from this blog.