How to Feel Lucky(er): Optimizing Your Social Strategy with Google Analytics

By Serena Goldberg

You are generating more and more social media content every day, and if you are smart, are analyzing the resulting data to optimize your efforts. What types of content are generating the most likes and retweets?  What content produces the greatest increase in Facebook fans? The big question remains however: What is the value of all that activity? While reporting number of tweets and retweets are fine measures, you can go further in your measurement analysis and connect your social activity with your website activity using a web analytics tool.  There are many out there but this post will focus on Google Analytics.

Google announced back in March a new reporting feature added to its Analytics division – Social Reports.  There are many reasons for using Google Analytics for your social media efforts. Here are three important ones:

  • It will help you improve and understand your overall social media results.  You will not only be able to report on social media activity but how that activity translates into more engaged visitors on your site,  more orders purchased, and more feed subscribers, to name a few.
  • It can track specific campaigns and see how certain campaigns performed compared with others when it comes to acquisition, behaviors, and outcomes on your website.
  • It’s free.  All of this great additional information and you don’t have to pay a dime -- enough said.

So how can you use Google Analytics for your own social media measurement? First things first. Before you can do anything, see if you or your company already has access to Google Analytics.  If not, you must sign up, set up your account, and implement Google Analytics on your website.  Google Analytics tracking code collects visitor data for your website and returns that data to the interface where you can see it in reports.

Once you have Google Analytics set up and in place, it’s time to get crackin’. Whether you are a Beginner using Google Analytics for the first or second time, or an Expert with lots of experience, there are an array metrics and tools you can start using today.  Think of what type you are and start following these recommendations today:

Beginners: Start using Google Analytics by viewing traffic to your site. What sites are the most successful? Using the Traffics Sources Report you can create segments to group your efforts by network and see how overall visitors from your social media efforts are behaving and converting.  Then, based on the results, you can determine which network to invest more time in.

Intermediates: Take a deeper dive into engagement with the Pages report to see what content resonates most with your visitors from social media.  See where these visitors go from one page to another, as well as the exit rate by individual page. This will get you started measuring interest in specific topics and types of content.

Experts: Why just see which network is driving the most traffic when you can see which campaign, link, picture, or video is the most successful? This is when you will want to implement tracking codes on all of your links that are driving to your site.  Google Analytics allows you to create custom campaigns using its URL builder tool and implement across your URLs that are driving to your site.

There are many more features in Google Analytics to help you understand your social media results. What have you done to view the impact of your social media efforts on your site? Share your thoughts and comments below!

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