How to Track & Optimize Social Media Traffic in Google Analytics

The power of social media marketing has been demonstrated over and over again, in almost every industry. Small business report increased sales within the first six months of implementing targeted social media campaigns. The ability to connect ‘directly’ with audiences builds better relationships between businesses and their prospects.

Social media and content marketing have been branded the dynamic duo of digital marketing, but it’s not enough to  just publish and wait for the traffic. Do your social media followers read your posts? Are you tracking the conversions? Do you know when your social media followers are most active? Which platform drives the most leads? Do they convert into buyers or are they only reading content?

Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you tweak your marketing strategy and improve conversions. While many social media platforms offer analytics of some kind, they suffer from a lack of customization.

To get around this and accurately measure your efforts, the free Google Analytics platform comes in handy. We’ve spoken about how it can:

  • Show Visitor location.
  • Show which keywords bring visitors to your site.
  • Show what your most-read (top) content is.
  • What devices visitors are viewing your site on.

But the tool does all that and more, including being able to provide a detailed report of the impact of your social media efforts. By integrating the power of Google Analytics into your social media strategy, you can track key metrics and adjust strategy to drive more traffic to your site.

To get started using Google Analytics to manage your social media marketing efforts, you must:

Create Social Media goals: Before you start optimizing your campaigns in GA, you must create specific goals. These goals must be aligned with the overall marketing and business strategy.

What is important for you to get from your social media efforts? Increased site traffic? Do you want to track specific actions like sign-ups, downloads, purchases etc? All these metrics can be set up as trackable goals in GA.

To Set Goals:

  • Log into GA → Admin → Select the account that you want to set goals for.
  • In the View column → Goals.

Choose one of four goal types, Event, Duration, Destination and Pages per Session, depending on the business goals you are trying to accomplish.

  • Give the Goal a description, this makes it easier for you to remember.
  • Next, define the destination where the goal will be completed, e.g. a thank-you page.

Use Advanced Segments: Creating these segments in Google Analytics allows you to filter data by demographics, referral source, specific keywords, browser etc. For a detailed explanation about segments, click here.

UTM Parameters: You can also track your social media marketing efforts by using UTM codes. Added at the end of a link you want to track, the UTM tags send tracking data to your Google Analytics whenever the links are clicked. They allow you differentiate between campaigns and referral sources. To learn more about adding UTM tags, click here.

Analyse Reports: With all the data amassed, separated and organized, it’s time to pick out the information relevant for optimization. Google Analytics offers eight reports that will give you all the information you’ll need.

Found under the Reporting tab → Acquisition → Social, these reports help you understand the effectiveness of your social media efforts.

  1. Overview: Offers a snapshot of how much your social media traffic is converting.
  2. Network Referrals: Shows how much traffic each social media platform is sending.
  3. Data Hub Activity: Tells you how people are sharing and talking about your site on social media.
  4. Trackbacks: Allows users see what other sites are linking back to their site.
  5. Plugins: If you use any social sharing buttons on-site, this report tracks which content is being shared and where it is being shared from your social sharing buttons.
  6. Visitors Flow: Tracks where your visitors from social media channels went after the initial navigation of your site.
  7. Landing pages: Displays key metrics like sessions, number of page views, average session duration and pages per session, based on landing page URLs.
  8. Conversions: Arguably the most useful report for measuring ROI, it displays the number of conversions for each social network and the total number of conversions. It can also compare assisted and direct conversions.

With your data presented in such a straight forward manner, it becomes easier to find which campaigns are working and calculate their ROI. The clear reporting gives you insightful data to improve your social media efforts, make them more effective and drive more goal conversions!

With different social media platforms available, some businesses try to maintain a presence on all of them. Simply creating accounts everywhere won’t work if you’re not tracking conversions. Use these tips to generate reports and find a platform that’s in line with your business goals.

Have you tinkered with Google Analytics? Which of these reports do you use often? If all this sounds like gibberish to you, and you’d like some help with setting up and tracking, contact us.

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