How To Use Google Analytics For Social Media

Isabel Sandercock-Brown

January 19, 2020

Isabel Sandercock-Brown

January 19, 2020

Google Analytics can be a blackhole – one second you’re looking at ‘Pageviews’, the next you’re in something called ‘Search Console’, and you have no idea how, why or what.

Been there. But don’t be deterred – Google Analytics is one of the most important (and free) tools in measuring social success and ROI, it’s just about knowing which features will help you.

We’ve broken down the key Google Analytics elements Social Media Managers need to know in order to draw real insights and improve their marketing strategies. Fun, yes? Yes!

 

Adding Google Analytics

If you don’t have Google Analytics on your website, add it ASAP – you’re missing out on valuable data. To set up Google Analytics, you create an account and add a unique Google Tracking Code to your website via one of two ways: 

  • Directly – In Google Analytics, under ‘Admin’, select your website property. Under ‘Tracking Info’ you’ll find ‘Tracking Code’ that needs to be added to your website. 

  • Tag Manager – In Tag Manager, set up a Tag Manager Container code and add it on your website. When creating the new tag, ensure you select ‘Universal Analytics’ as the tag, and ‘All Pages’ as the firing trigger. 

 

Understanding Tag Manager

Tag Manager is part of Google’s suite of marketing tools, along with Google Analytics. It’s a free tool that allows you to set up, manage and deploy tracking pixels on your website, without having to adjust your website code.

It’s essentially a ‘go between’, sending data from your website to Google Analytics. If you use a lot of tags, Tag Manager is a tool you should be using as it makes tracking and managing your tags a lot easier. 

Find out more about Facebook event tracking in this article.

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Now, let’s get into Google Analytics. 

 

Goals

One of the key functionalities that you’ll want to spend some time setting up, particularly as it’ll save you time moving forward, is ‘Goals’. Once you’ve set up your individualised ‘Goals’, Google will automatically track them for you and pull the results into a dashboard. 

‘Goals’ can be anything in Google Analytics that you want to measure, across the four categories:

  • Destination 

  • Duration 

  • Pages Per Session

  • Events

To set up your ‘Goals’, go to ‘Admin’. Under ‘View’, you’ll find ‘Goals’. Click the red button to set up a ‘New Goal’ and move through the prompts. 

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The ‘Goals’ you set up should reflect your social media objectives and what you’re reporting on. Ask yourself: what are you trying to do on social media and how will analytics show if you’re achieving that?

There are a lot of options, and some are more complicated than others, but some ‘Goal’ suggestions:

  • Funnel landing page destination – an easy way to keep track of daily success on your dashboard 

  • Short-term visit duration – by monitoring short-term visits (using a duration that reflects people not taking action), you could determine pain points and where the short-term visit traffic is coming from

  • Social landing page button event – track how often the button on your social landing page is clicked to measure effectiveness 

If you’re unsure, try using one of Google’s pre-filled templates as a test. 

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Once they’re set up, you’ll find all your ‘Goals’ tracking under ‘Conversions’: 

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Audience: Demographics

As you know, it’s all about audience. Google knows this better than anyone – which is why they’ve done all the hard cyber-stalking for you. 

Under ‘Audience’, you’ll find ‘Demographics’ which shows you the gender and ages of people using your website. 

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In particular, you can see the demographics of those coming from social media, and measure if your target market is responding to your content and ads. 

To view and compare the demographics of your social media traffic to the overall traffic, use the ‘Segments’ feature. (You can set up your own segments or use Google’s pre-set segments.)

 

Audience: User Explorer

Another feature under ‘Audience’ is the ‘User Explorer’. It profiles return visitors individually, showing you which social platforms are driving them to your website and their behaviour once they get there. 

You can use it to draw insights on how your most common users interact with your website; find patterns; and assess what leads people to take action. 

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Once you’re in ‘User Explorer’, click on the ‘Client Id’ to see each individual data set. 

 

Acquisition 

One of the key metrics social teams should be tracking is ‘Acquisition’, i.e. the traffic that comes to your website from social. 

‘Acquisition’ shows you which social platforms are driving people to your website, as well as the specific source. If one of your social goals is website traffic, ‘Acquisition’ is your best friend.  

Under ‘Acquisition’, you’ll find: 

  • ‘Overview’ – this will show you a general overview of all the acquisition elements. 
  • ‘All Traffic’ – where you can break traffic down further and get specific through:

    • ‘Channels’ – an overview of the specific channels, grouped together (i.e. ‘Social’, which you can click and see ‘Facebook’ and ‘Instagram’)

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    • ‘Source/Medium’ – which breaks traffic down into specific links (there can be multiple per platform).

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And if your social platform isn’t appearing, it might be time to review whether that platform’s strategy is achieving is working. 

 

Acquisition: ‘Social’

Given that social traffic is a huge part of ‘Acquisition’, it even gets its own special ‘Social’ section. 

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Under ‘Social’, you’ll find:

  • Overview – provides a quick overview of the amount of people converted via social media. You’ll also be able to see the ‘assisted’ conversions that show the conversions that social media played a role in.

  • Network referrals – shows engagement metrics so that you can identify which content is delivering ROI. 

  • Landing pages – tracks engagement metrics for every individual URL, including the originating social network of that URL. 

  • Conversions – shows you the total number of conversions including their monetary value and those that occurred from social network referrals. This report is important as it will help you quantify your social ROI. 

  • Plugins – tracks the use of social share buttons on your website. 

  • Users flow – details the user journeys so you can see what page people landed on, and where they went from there. 

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All the features under ‘Social’ will help you measure and track your ROI, it’s about finding the features that work best to demonstrate what you’re trying to achieve. 

FINAL TIP: Set up automated ‘Dashboards’ under ‘Customisation’ – it will pull all the data you want into one nifty report so that you don’t have to jump around every time you want to pull out your key stats.

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And if you’re still feeling lost, remember that Google is your friend. Pun intended – but seriously, they have a killer help section.

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