How to Measure the Impact of Social Media on Your Business

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For entrepreneurs trying to stand out in the bigger audience is not enough to have a million followers. You need to be able to measure the impact of those followers to your real business.

Social Media giants like Facebook, twitter and instagram have not only reduced distanced but provided an opportunity to entrepreneurs to connect with real audience.

Social media is not just an opportunity to market your brand but a game changer for your online business. You will find many entrepreneurs like you, who have built a huge audience and run a successful business.

The trick is to learn from their success and use social media to drive your own online business.

This article aims to help those entrepreneurs hunting to understand the behavior of social media traffic and measure the success of their social media campaigns through google analytics.

Getting Started With Google Analytics

The internet is full of guides on how to install google analytics, so I am not going into the very basics. I would rather outline the important prospects to get started with google analytics. Below are the few simple steps to to follow which will direct your website traffic to google analytics.

  1. Create a google account
  2. Sign in to google analytics
  3. Fill your website information
  4. Get the analytics tracking code
  5. Paste the code on your website
  6. Verify setup

Once you complete the above steps, you should be able to see the real traffic coming to your website.

Why Every Website Owner Should use Google Analytics

Google analytics is a free traffic analysis tool and is used by millions of website owners to segment and analyze user behavior. Below are few most important reasons why every website owners should use google analytics:

  1. You can measure your website’s objectives by defining goals
  2. You can track specific actions on your website like pdf downloads or video plays
  3. The user interface is very simple and easy to navigate between different reports
  4. You can track your ecommerce transactions
  5. You can track your social media campaigns and see the most engaging social channel
  6. Measure how users interact with your site content
  7. You can see the geographic location of your audience
  8. You can create your own customizable reports
  9. You can use your google analytics data for remarketing in adwords

There are several more important things you can do in google analytics according to the type of your online business. All you need is to get along well with metrics and dimensions.

Tracking Social Media Campaigns

Social media campaigns play a vital role in driving valuable customers to your business. The crucial point is to figure out which social media campaign performs exceptionally and which doesn’t.

Tracking social media campaigns is a painless and straightforward process in google analytics. The only requirement is that you should be tracking your website traffic with google analytics.

UTM tags in google analytics come handy when you are tracking any custom campaign. It consists of three very important parameters which send visitor information to google analytics. These tags are embedded at the end of the campaign, beginning with a question mark(?) and separated by ampersand(&).

http://example.com?utm_source=social&utm_campaign=winter_sale&utm_medium=facebook

The parameters utm_source, utm_medium and utm_campaign are required for every custom url and the order in which they are placed doesn’t matter. While tracking your custom campaigns, it is recommended to use a url builder tool.

One of my favorite url builder tool is utm.io, because it is more user friendly and easy to shorten urls once you tag them.

Using a tool doesn’t only embed utm tags but also shortens long customized urls. When you start your social media campaigns, you can then view campaign reports in google analytics by navigating to Acquisition >> Campaigns >> All Campaigns.

Understanding the Analytics Reports for Social Media Marketers

For a social media marketer, it is important to be able to understand the google analytics social media reports. It contains data related to traffic coming from all social media channels and how different social media channels contribute towards a conversion.

Segment Social Media Traffic

The social media reports are already included within the channel reports(Acquisition>All Traffic>Channels), but to get a better understanding of your social traffic you can create a segment to isolate all of the traffic originating from social sites.

Identify Top Social Media Channels

One of the biggest challenge would be to determine the top social media channels which drive more conversions. The Google analytics social media reports feature is useful in determining which social channel to focus on and which to say good bye to.

blog2As you can see in the above picture, YouTube is driving a huge chunk of traffic as compared to other channels. But, when we look at the avg. session duration and pages/session it is clear that youtube visitors don’t interact much with the content.

Although Facebook, reddit and google groups have less sessions their users have a higher interaction percentage with the site content. From the above data, we can assume that our potential customers are coming from channels with more website interactions. We would tend to focus more on these channels to drive more traffic and hence conversions.

To verify which social channel drives most conversions navigate to Acquisition >> Social >> Conversions.

Understand behavior of Social Media Visitors

A catchy title and a picture is enough to drive traffic from social media channels but understanding what this group of visitors do on your website is a bit difficult.

Luckily, user flow report in google analytics displays the journey of social media traffic on your website. What was the landing page for the particular session, where they navigate next and finally the exit page.

You can access user flow reports in google analytics by navigating to Acquisition >> Social >> Users Flow.

blog3This chart displays the social media channels which are driving traffic and the behavior of each channel’s visitors across your website.

From the social network drop down menu you can change the dimension to set ‘Campaigns’ and see which campaign is more engaging. In the essence, you can determine which channel works out for you and which one is only consuming your valuable resources.

You can further explore user flow reports to build funnel for any page and understand which set of pages a user views to achieve a specific goal.

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Noman Karim is a Content Marketer at Marketlytics, conducting in-depth analysis of latest marketing trends and aligning them with his personal prospects to produce stage-managed and engaging content. He is a passionate blogger, a cat hoarder and is an enthusiastic writer when it comes to analytics, online marketing, and SEO.

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