Capturing The Value Of Social Media Using Google Analytics

By Liam Foy

Measuring the value of social media has been a challenge and with good reason, it’s hard to understand exactly what is happening in an environment where activity occurs both on and off your website. Social media is often an upper funnel player in a shopper’s journey. The upper funnel of a shopper’s journey is early in their consideration of purchasing a product but they have not made up their mind, this is why it’s not always easy to determine which social channels actually drive value for your business and which tactics are most effective.

Given the increasing importance of social marketing and social network traffic, it was probably inevitable that the Google Analytics team would add social-focused reports. The new reports bridge the gap between social media and the business metrics you care about – allowing you to better measure the full value of the social channel for your business. This is what they’ve taken into consideration:

  • Identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to direct conversions or assist in future conversions
  • Understand social activities happening both on and off of your site to help you optimise user engagement and increase social key performance indicators
  • Make better, more efficient data-driven decisions in your social media marketing programs

Companies using the new social reports can tell Google the goal that they’re interested in, whether it’s making a purchase, registering a user, or just having someone click on their about page. Then Google will show you not just how many visits are coming in from social networks, and which social networks in particular, but also how many of those social visits are “converting” to that goal.

Overview Report

The Overview report allows you to see at a glance how many conversions are generated from your social channels. The Social Value visualisation compares the number, and monetary value of all your goal completions against those that resulted from social referrals. A visit from a social referral may result in a conversion immediately or it may assist in a conversion that occurs later on. Referrals that lead to conversions immediately are labeled as a “Last Interaction Social Conversion“. If a referral from a social source doesn’t immediately generate a conversion, but the visitor returns later and converts, the referral is included as an “Assisted Social Conversion“.

Conversions Report

With the Conversions report, marketers can now measure the value of each individual social channel by seeing the conversion rates of each social network and the monetary value they drive to your business. For example, you can see the effect that social content has had on conversions. Look at the time graph to see whether Goal Completions via Social Referral peaked after the content was published.

NOTE: Remember that you need to define goals and goal values in order to see data in this report.

Social Sources

The Social Sources report shows engagement and conversion metrics for each social network so you can see how people are interacting with your content and whether it’s leading to conversions. For example, if you run social campaigns that promote specific products, you can see via the Social Visitor Flow whether visitors from each social network entered your site through these product pages and whether they continued on to other parts of the site or whether they exited.

Activity Stream

While the other reports show you the impact that social engagement is having on your site, the Activities Stream tab (located within the sources report) shows how people are engaging socially with your content off your site across the social web. For content that was shared publicly, you can see the URLs they shared, how and where they shared (via a “reshare” on Google+ for example).

These new social reports will be available for all users over the next few weeks under the Standard Reporting Tab – please take a look and tell us what you think.

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This post was written by Liam Foy

As Head of Client Services, Liam ensures that all of his clients’ strategies are on track, delivering ROI and coming up with new ideas to drive them forward. Beer makes him tick, reading, learning and drinking it.