Google Analytics tip: can you quantify social media marketing?

GA-Social (1)As social media becomes a more widely used marketing tactic, it becomes more and more important to be able to measure its effectiveness. Thankfully, Google Analytics offers ‘Social Reporting” to help you measure the more intangible figures associated with social media marketing and, hopefully, to put you that much closer to being able to justify your social efforts.

To access these reports:

  1. Log in to Google Analytics
  2. Select “Traffic Sources” on the left-hand side
  3. Click “Social”

The social reports, including Overview, Sources, Pages, Conversions, Plugins, and Visitors Flow, will all be in the drop down menu. Select the one you’re most interested in.

Some of our favorites

  1. Sources reports
    Traffic Sources > Social > SourcesDoes your business have a Google+ account? A Twitter account? A Facebook account? A Pinterest account? Is the effort you’re putting into a social platform producing the traffic you expect? You’ll need to take a good hard look at which platforms are working for you, and which are just not worth your while. That’s where ‘Social Sources’ comes in. Google will provide a breakdown of engagement metrics, allowing you to determine which networks are providing the best quality traffic.Take it a step further by clicking on each source to discover the best-performing content for each social platform. Interested in getting more folks to share your content around? Look here to see what types of content perform best!
  2. Conversion reports
    Traffic Sources > Social > Conversions Sure, this is something you could have previously set up with custom advanced segments, but now, you don’t have to. Conversion reports show you the rates and monetary value of conversions that came from social sites. Google also allows you to specify goals like a white paper download or filling out a form, and then see whether social is proving to be an asset in meeting those goals. This is helpful, because social ROI might not always be quantifiable in a monetary sense.

GA-Assisted-v-Last-IntWhen you are done looking around that report, switch over to the Assisted vs. Last Integration Analysis tab. We have talked about this report previously (see Google Analytics tip: the BIG picture – see your total marketing effectiveness).

This report is especially important for social because many times you will find that social has a bigger impact on assisted conversions than last interaction conversions.

  1. Plugins
    Traffic Sources > Social > Social Plugins

    Do you have Facebook “Like” buttons or Pinterest “pin it” buttons on your site? How do you know which buttons are being clicked and what content is being shared? Google Social Reports allow you to track your social plugin interactions, helping you to not only identify which content is most likely to be shared, but also potentially helping you reduce the clutter on your page by removing the least popular buttons.

Making social work for you


Sure, you can tally numbers of like and followers on a social platform, make sure to generate X amount of posts per week, and even count up the number of interactions with your ‘followers,’ but how will you ever know the ROI these efforts have for your company? Social media can be subjective and open to interpretation as to whether it’s beneficial or not. Gathering objective data in the form of revenue, traffic, and goals can help remove some of the ambiguity associated with social media marketing.