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Using Google Analytics to Measure Social Media Success

Using Google Analytics to Measure Social Media Success

Measuring the success of social media has grown immensely within the last five years. There are even social media management tools that automate your social media efforts and provide social media reports. Not to mention social media platforms have added analytical tools to their platforms.

Current Tools for Analyzing Social Media

Current Tools for Analyzing Social MediaFacebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter all have FREE tools to analyze your business’ social media efforts. Facebook’s Page Insights allows you to see when your fans are online, which posts received the highest engagement, the demographics of your fan base, and much more. Pinterest Analytics allows you to analyze your profile impressions and your audience’s engagement activity and demographics. Twitter Analytics shows your twitter highlights including your top tweets, mentions, and followers. LinkedIn and Google+ also have tools to assess your social media efforts, however we’re still waiting on Instagram to step into the analytical realm and offer analytical insights on its social platform. But let’s step away from the social media platform tools and look at a different platform. Let’s take a look at the relationship between social media and your website’s traffic. Specifically looking at which social networks are driving the most traffic to your website. We can accomplish this via Google Analytics.

See also: When is the Best Time to Post on Social Media?

Basic Social Media Reports in Google Analytics

Basic Social Media Reports in Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics was launched in 2005 to analyze websites and marketing campaigns, yet some might not know that it can also analyze your business’ social media strategy. If you’re not an analytical person, Google Analytics might sound like a scary topic. One that you’d rather not learn. Ever. But it is a very useful tool, providing you with detailed data to see where your site traffic is coming from and what your visitors are doing when they are on your site. Even better for you social media marketers, there is a section in Google Analytics specifically focused on social media. And if you don’t have Google Analytics set up, the setup is simpler than you would think – at least that’s what our developer says anyways.

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  • Overview – This is a basic overview of your social media efforts. It displays the social value consisting of sessions and conversions. It also provides a table showing which social networks brought in the highest amount of traffic to the site.

  • Network Referrals – This report compares the total number of sessions to the number of sessions via social media. So you can see which network brought in the most traffic to your site and you can look at peaks in traffic to see which social posts were most effective in bringing in traffic to your site. This helps you identify which platforms are performing well and which platforms need improvement.

  • Data Hub Activity – Reports how people are engaging with your site content on social media platforms like Google+.

  • Landing Pages – This tab is useful for identifying what products or services your social followers are most interested in. In this report, you can identify the first page visitors are landing on from social media networks. You can click on the Secondary dimension tab and choose Social Network to see the social network that brought in the most traffic to a particular page on your website. Landing-Pages-Animation

  • Trackbacks – The Trackbacks report shows you which external sites are linking back to your website.

  • Conversions – A report showing you the value of your social media based on your Google Analytics goals. If you are selling a product, you can have an ecommerce goal that allows you to see the number of sales and revenue from each social network. Ahhh, the ROI, we’ve been waiting for!

  • Plugins – If you have the Facebook “Like” or Google+ “+1” buttons on your site, there are social media plugins that will identify how frequently they are being clicked. This can be useful in determining what social media platforms you visitors are using.

  • Users Flow – Here you can visually see how users are interacting with your website and which social network brought them to your site most frequently. This displays the path from what social network your visitors came from, what page they were first brought to, and further engagement after landing on the initial landing page.

See also: Analyze This!

Compared to What?

Compared to WhatAfter analyzing the Social section of Google Analytics, it is important that you look at other data too. By just looking at the social media section and not comparing it to other traffic channels, your interpretation of the data can be skewed. While your social media report could look promising, it could be bringing in a small percentage of traffic to your website. When you want a quick overview of how social media is performing compared to other channels, click Channels under All Traffic. This report will provide you with the default channels created by Google Analytics and which channels brought in the most sessions, users, and revenue. You can also expand your data and narrow down the source of those channels by looking at the source and medium of the traffic.

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Become a Master

Become a MasterGoogle Analytics has an overwhelmingly vast amount of data but is an extremely powerful tool when you begin to master it. The best part is it’s free! Which means you don’t need to have some fancy analytics and reporting platform to analyze your website traffic from social media. Once you’ve set up your account and have played around in the Google Analytics dashboard, you will become more and more comfortable with understanding all that it has to offer.

About The Author

Courtney Peffley is a Project Manager for Marketing In Color. She is a 2014 graduate of the University of Tampa's MBA program with a B.A. in marketing—also from UT. Courtney, who began as a social media marketing intern for MIC, is on the social media team and also supports the account services team.
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