What is the Social Data Hub - Overview

This document provides a high level overview of the components used to integrate with Google’s social data hub.


The social data hub is a free platform that social networks and other social platforms can use to integrate their social data with Google Analytics.

In order to integrate you will need to publish a global Activity Stream feed of activities from your social network/platform. This feed then needs to be delivered to the social data hub. To minimize the resource load for both you and Google, we recommend implementing a “push-based” mechanism, via the PubSubHubbub (PSHB) protocol.

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Before You Begin

Verify that you are eligible to integrate. At a minimum you must meet the following criteria:

  • You operate a Social Network/Platform.

    Examples: Social Networks, Social Bookmarking, Blogging Platforms, Social News.

  • You own the social data and/or are legally able to share it with Google.

Note: Additional criteria that will be reviewed are volume of data, quality of data, and service reliability of the Social Network/Platform.

Social Data Hub Overview

How does this work? What is the process?

Most social networks already make their data publicly accessible via an API and want to surface the actions and value of their members. Surfacing through Google Analytics provides a way for this data to be consumed by a large audience of marketers and publishers interested in understanding how social impacts their business. The steps and requirements for an integration between Google and a Social Data Provider (SDP) are:

  1. The SDP must own the social data and/or legally be able to share it with Google.
  2. The SDP will publish a global Atom/RSS Activity Stream feed of social activities for their social network/platform, and deliver it via PubSubHubbub.
  3. The SDP must sign up to integrate with the social data hub.
  4. Google will review the application.
  5. The SDP must agree to the terms of service.
  6. Google will send the SDP the technical details for integration with the social data hub.
  7. Once the integration is complete, any activities posted to the SDP’s Activity Stream are pushed to the social data hub.

How exactly will the data be used by Google Analytics?

Google Analytics will provide a social reporting suite so marketers and publishers can see how their content is being shared or interacted with off their site. This will include visibility into social actions such as voting, commenting and sharing amongst other reports helping marketers tie social activity back to engagement and conversion. The social data hub will supply the data needed to enable these Google Analytics reports.

Why should I integrate with Google’s Social Data Hub?

Social is now a key channel for top advertisers and marketers. If you’re a social network or publisher of social content, your opportunities with these advertisers and marketers have never been brighter.

However, advertisers and marketers focus on networks that offer data visibility and transparency. And at Google, we think everyone in the Social space should have the opportunity to show off the value of their traffic to advertisers.

That’s why we’re making Google’s social data hub available to all social networks and publishers. It’s an open platform --free and secure -- with which anyone can integrate. Your data will be used by sophisticated social analytics tools adopted by top advertisers and marketers.

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Activity Streams

To integrate with the social data hub, you will need to publish a global Atom/RSS Activity Stream feed of social activities for your social network/platform, and deliver it via PubSubHubbub.

In its simplest form, an activity consists of an actor, a verb, and an object. It tells the story of a person performing an action on or with an object. For example, "Geraldine posted a photo" or "John shared a video." In most cases these elements will be explicitly declared, but they may also be implied.

The Activity Streams specification defines a format for describing socially interesting events, or "Activities," about the people and things an individual may care about. The social data hub expects you to deliver an Atom/RSS Activity Stream feed. For details on this specification visit:

Example implementations:

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PubSubHubbub Protocol

To integrate with the social data hub, you will need to publish a global Atom/RSS Activity Stream feed of social activities for your social network/platform, and deliver it via PubSubHubbub.

PubSubHubbub (PSHB) is an open, server-to-server, web-hook-based pubsub (publish/subscribe) protocol that is an extension to Atom and RSS. Parties (servers) speaking the PubSubHubbub protocol can get near-instant notifications (via WebHook callbacks) when a topic (feed URL) they're interested in is updated.

Visit pubsubhubbub for more information

Combining your Atom/RSS global Activity Stream feed with the PSHB protocol will allow for near-instant notifications to Google’s social data hub of any new, user generated activities from your service.

To enable this combination of PubSubHubbub and your Atom/RSS Activity Stream feed, the suggested steps are:

  1. The Activity Stream feed is auto-discoverable on the HTML page::
    <link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" href="http://profile.typepad.com/apparentlymart/activity/atom.xml" title="Martin’s activity feed" />
  2. The Activity Stream feed includes a link to the chosen PSHB hub:
    See Discovery for details.
  3. A notification is sent to the PSHB hub when the feed is updated:
    See New Content Notification

Following the steps above will allow Google to subscribe to your Activity Stream feed and receive near-instant notifications via the chosen PSHB hub.

Google hosts a public hub that is free to use at http://pubsubhubbub.appspot.com/

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