We're all aware of the massive power of social media but one thing that I've frequently found to be is true is that social isn't transparent enough. It's fine to know how many tweets or shares that you've had but what else can we do to track and measure the success of our social activity; enter Social in Google Analytics. In this guide I'll explore the basics and what we can learn from the recently added tab.
Snapshots Of Social Success With The Overview Tab
With the recent developments to Google Analytics, we can now see a huge amount of information on social activity interacting with our website. By logging into our account and visiting:
Traffic Sources -> Social -> Overview
We can quickly see how many social visits have been sent to our site and more importantly how many have converted into real sales.
Trackbacks – Where The Discussions Are Happening
With the social tab, we can also see where conversations are being had and how much traffic has been sent to our website. Giving the ideal opportunity alongside other tools such as Topsy to find and jump on conversations.
Traffic Sources -> Social -> Trackbacks
This alone won't give you a full account of where your site is being discussed off website but it offers a valuable quick overview of which opportunities to engage are happening.
Knowing which pages visitors look at in a tabular view is helpful but with the Visitor Flow report, we can begin to truly understand where people are landing on our site and how they process through it, highlighting potential trouble areas like never before within Google Analytics.
Traffic Sources -> Social -> Visitors Flow
The visitor flow can be daunting at first but we can see a flow of traffic from each of our social sources and which paths they take through the site. We can segment this down further by clicking on the desired social platform and selecting "View Only This Segment".
We can also use inbuilt and custom advanced segments to get even more granular data. For example, we can easily segment returning users from Facebook by selecting the "Returning Users" segment and highlighting Facebook as our only segment. We can then see which path these visitors took through the website and where they dropped out.
We can also highlight traffic that flows through certain pages to see where it goes next and if it drops out. Again, showing us potential problem areas and where we can improve.
Don't Get Lost In The Data
It's easy to burn many hours in the visitors flow tab and you should always use it in line with other data provided by Analytics and elsewhere to make an informed decision however I hope this has given you a good start into the social tab. There are many other sections that haven't been discussed such as the Data Hub Activity report and Conversions report that you should also check out.
If you have any suggestions or tips for the social tab then I'd love to hear below!
Ed Baxter is the SEO manager for Ignition Search – a PPC Management & Internet Marketing agency based in Sheffield. In his spare time he’s an avid mountain biker and loves all things to do with the web.
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