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Social media has the potential to be one of the most powerful marketing tools ever created, but only if used properly. While marketers and advertisers have long had outlets for distributing their messages and materials, and even to some degree to target specific demographics, social media offers something that no other outlet previously has: the ability to interact with your audience.
Even more importantly, with tools like Google Analytics, you have more ability than ever before to actually gauge how well a specific campaign is performing in a very selected venue based on people’s response to it. Here are 4 key Google Analytics metrics that will help you track your social media results and fine tune your campaigns to perfection.
View Social Media Traffic
With social media traffic analytics, you can determine which sites are delivering the most visitors. By understanding which campaign or outlet is performing best, you can do one of two things: double down on the ones that are performing best or figure out why the ones that are not performing as well aren’t doing so.
In some cases, you may find out that the outlet you are using is simply not the one most conducive to reaching your target demographic, while in others the outlet works just fine but the material you are using is simply not connecting. Analytics give you the power to tweak, tease and toy with your campaigns until they produce a veritable gold mine of engagement.
- To view all social media traffic, go to: Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels.
- To view social media traffic from a specific outlet, go to: Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals
Track Goal Conversions
While getting visitors can be beneficial in and of itself, since it will affect your SEO, the end goal of all marketing is not just to attract visitors but to convert those visitors into clients and consumers.
Google Analytics can do more than just tell you where visitors are coming from, they can also tell you what visitors are doing once they arrive. Keep in mind, what is true for traditional retail stores is also true for online consumers: the longer they linger, the more likely they are to buy.
When evaluating analytics, conversion rates are certainly important, but they are not the only key metric. Bounce rate – or how long visitors are staying on your site – is also critical.
Follow Conversion Paths Related to Social Media
Another key metric is determining where your biggest influencers are. For instance, your conversion rate for one social media site may be off the charts, which might lead you to assume your campaign on that site is what is performing so well. You might try that same campaign on another site, however, only to have it either tank or not perform nearly as well.
By tracking conversion paths, however, you may discover that is not actually your campaign that is doing so well on a certain outlet, but rather a key influencer that is sending business your way. By tracking and understanding this, you can ditch what is not working as well (your campaign) and focus on what is, by developing a stronger relationship with a key influencer.
The default metric for Google Analytics is “last click”, which will tell you what link users clicked on to get to your site. This is a helpful metric if users convert the first time they click through to your site, but many (if not most) visitors will not convert on their first visit. Therefore, what you are looking for is not how they got to your site on the visit that they actually purchased something, but what drew them there in the first place. This is where funnel reports can help.
Assisted conversion data can help you understand the earlier customer journey. Assisted conversions are those in which a user is detected visiting the site multiple times prior to conversion. Understanding what is drawing visitors to your site the first time around, rather than on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th visit can help you beef up what is working rather than wasting time on what is not.
In addition, however, Google Analytics can also help you determine what – if anything – changed between the first visit and the conversion. If a media influencer got a number of visitors to your site in the first place, but they did not convert to sales until you offered a specific promotion, that can give you insight into the magic combination to use in the future to convert visitors to sales.
Monitor Social Reports
Social reports offer valuable insight into whether or not social traffic is meeting your goals once they arrive. Social reports offer critical insights into sessions, page views, average session durations and how many pages per session were viewed for each shared URL.
This will give you key insights into what content is resonating with your audience and what is falling flat. The ultimate goal of marketing is to give your consumers more of what they are actually looking for and stop wasting resources on what there is no market for. By having the power to track what people are looking at, how long they are looking at it and what they are looking at just prior to conversion, you can fine-tune both your site and your campaigns for maximum profitability.
Social media offers a previously unheard of level of access to the wants, wishes, desires, interests and tastes of your consumers. Unlike a poll, which relies on consumers to not only tell you what they want but to know what they want in the first place, analytics will tell you what they are actually doing even when they themselves may be totally unaware of it.
Guest Post: Eric Gordon is a business-focused marketing professional based in Houston. His mission in life is to help his clients get quality and consistent leads using the latest online marketing and SEO strategies. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf and watching sports. Follow him on Twitter @ericdavidgordon