Google My Business Post Insights: Just How Insightful Are They?
Google recently launched Insights specifically for the performance of Google My Business Posts, but how accurate are they? Before you start weeping about poor Post performance, take a look at this analysis by contributor Ben Fisher, who also has some fantastic workarounds for getting the most accurate Post performance data.
Google My Business Posts are a fantastic way of using the real estate Google gives you and your clients in search. I’ve discussed how you can create Google My Business Posts that will help you win more business, but when they initially rolled out to all businesses it was a tad difficult to find out how your efforts were translating into results.
Surprise! It’s still difficult to see if your efforts are being rewarded, but Google has taken a (very) small step toward giving you visibility in a more aggregated view. No more adding things up manually!
On August 6th, 2018, Google My Business announced the addition of aggregated Google My Business Posts Insights.
Here was the announcement from Google My Business:
Post Insights help you better understand how your posts perform with potential customers. From the Posts tab, you can view insights for:
- An individual post
- All posts from the last week
- All posts from the last month
How it works
Post Insights shows your views, clicks, and the percentage change in the rolling period. The rolling period is the last 7 or 28 days and can have a delay of up to 3 days. Your summary is found on the Posts tab of your web dashboard. To determine why you may have a change in views, you can see more insights on individual posts.
If any of the following occurs, your percentages won’t show in the summary:
- Your posts received no views. (Okay, Duh!)
- You don’t have any posts. (Another DUH!)
- Your percentage change is over 99.99%. (Interesting?)
How are GMB Post impressions recorded?
From what we can tell, a Post impression is registered when a Post is fully displayed on the screen on mobile or desktop. What I mean by this is it’s not registered when the Posts section is, say, displayed on the Knowledge Panel but when the user actually clicks on the Post itself or scrolls through previous Posts.
This makes some sense, but it doesn’t show you the value of a visual impression when a user sees your Knowledge Panel. Yet it does show that a user has the intent of looking at your Post. This should give you even more incentive to write a compelling headline for your posts!
How do the impressions of GMB Posts align with impressions in GMB Insights?
Below is a side-by-side view of Google My Business Posts Insights and only the Direct searches for a real estate client. This image proves that Google is not counting the impressions of a user if they only see the posts on the Knowledge Panel.
How are GMB Post clicks recorded?
Google reports on clicks on the call-to-action button. I think this makes total sense, but as with all data that Google provides, we have seen that there is a disparity in the data Google shows us in reports within GMB and the data we see in Google Analytics.
To look at how bad the data disparity really is, we only need to look in a few places.
The above image shows how Google My Business Posts Insights are performing versus what we see in Google Analytics. As you can see, GMB Post Insights shows a whopping ZERO clicks on the CTA, while Google Analytics shows 20 total sessions (14 of which are unique).
When we look at the stats reported via the Goo.gl shortened URL, we see a correlating 20 clicks, so the question is ‘Why does Google decide that 20 is not enough data?’ That is 7.11% CTR on GMB Posts… certainly not a bad CTR for a chiropractor!
What can you do about the disparity in data?
As an agency, we are held accountable for our actions and have to prove our worth to our clients. They demand it and we should be able to provide some proof that the tactics we employ deliver some tangible benefits.
Yet the data we are given by Google Insights always seems to be off, as Gyi Tsakalakis has pointed out before. We don’t know exactly how things are counted internally and the numbers have been proven to be lower than what they actually are.
At best, the data from GMB Post Insights can be a guide to show if your Posts are on-point or not. If we use tracking URLs and call-tracking numbers, at least we can get some insight as to what the actual results are.
Moreover, when using a UTM tracking string for Google Analytics you will be able to see historical data, which is currently not available in GMB Post Insights.
Pro Tip: Use the utm_term option on each post. I use the format of Date_PostType (e.g. utm_term=9-8-18_BackPain_Call)
For each Post type, here are some ideas on how to track the results:
Posts, Events, Product Posts
- Book: Track in your booking system and use UTM strings
- Order Online: Track in your e-commerce system and use UTM strings
- Buy: Track in your e-commerce system and use UTM strings
- Learn More: Use UTM strings
- Sign Up: Track in your e-commerce/email system and use UTM strings
- Call Now: Use a custom tracking number just for Posts
- Coupon Code: Educate clients on keeping track of this code for walk-ins and track via e-commerce systems.
- Link to Redeem Offer: Track in your e-commerce/Email system and use UTM strings
So there you have it! GMB Posts Insights still suck, but at least we have something to reference as a trend.
Google My Business has been making improvements at a rapid pace this year and will continue to do so, so I predict we can only expect that the data will get better and hopefully more accurate over time.
What have you observed? Share with me in the comments your numbers and any disparities between Google reports that you’ve seen. I’ll then show this to Google and maybe… just maybe… we will get better data.