As the social media revolution continues to mature, its measurement is critical to any online business. Google Analytics just got better, as a tool for tracking and analysis how your website performs, in terms of traffic and conversion of that traffic into actions. All websites need traffic to stay relevance in their niches. Website owners also need the people who get to their sites, to take their time and read or watch though the content, interact with it and leave feedback. Any action by the visitor that leads to the advertisement of the website to other people is a bonus. Social media provides that advertisement part but website owners have to optimize their sites for social sharing, otherwise they will miss the opportunity. Optimizing requires tracking and Google Analytics provides that social tracking ability.
Here is a brief guide on incorporating Google Analytics with your social media campaign.
The first step on Google Analytics social features is the creation of goals. Goals refer to the business impact that you want to achieve with social media. Once you have goals, you can then use them to check which source led to which goal. Your goals could bespecific actions on your website that you want visitors to take. They could be response rates, e-commerce transactions or mailing list opt-ins.
On the Google Analytic interface for a website, you will need to navigate to ‘Traffic sources’ then ‘Social’ and finally choose ‘Conversions’. After you input your goals, you will be able to view reports of how social media is influencing your goals. Google Analytics offers reports that are easy to comprehend and you can share those reports with other stakeholders.
Social networks carry different weights of influence on your website. This happens because they attract different types of audiences, just like your website appeals to a specific target group and demographic. Previously, you could only assume how much a particular platform is influencing visitors and their actions to your website. Now, with Google Analytics, you can view the exact social media platform that contributes most to your success.
Reports that you view will give you the exact number of visitors referred to your website by a particular social media site. The report is comprehensive and includes all known social sites including those that command a small percentage of overall online traffic such as StumbleUpon.
Social plug-in analytics
The most impressive social feature on Google Analytics is the social plug-in analytics option that lets you view the performance of different social web integrations that you use on your website. On your website, you will likely have a button for every major social networks to encourage your visitors to share your content. The social plug-in analytics option lets you see the number of times that visitors use each button. It also shows you the URLs that receive the most counts of social button activity.
The results help you decide what social media integration tools to use extensively on your site as well as those that you should discard to reduce clutter. You can also alter the positioning of the social sharing buttons and view your action’s effect on user activity. To use the plugins option, navigate to ‘Traffic source’, then ‘Social’ and then ‘Plugins’.
Once you start tracking the influence of social media on your website, in terms of traffic generation, you benefit by finding out the type of content that elicits most reactions. You may also want to know where people discuss your content. Google Analytics will track the URL of your pages on various discussion forums on the internet. It will let you see the features that led people to discover and talk about your content. Some of these features include “reshare” options, “blog posts”, “blog comments” and the profiles of individuals on social network sites like Google+.
After people see your content through the above features, some of them will proceed to interact with it. Interaction includes events and mentions on other websites and discussion forums. The activity stream provides you with all this information thus letting you know where you should focus if you want to engage your users outside your website. The activity stream monitors your URLs throughout the internet. To find activity stream features, you should navigate to ‘Traffic sources’, then ‘Social’, and then ‘Sources’.
As you use Google Analytics social features, you will get an overall idea of where your visitors are coming from and how long they take on your website before bouncing to other sites. You will see all their actions and above all, you get a chance to filter all the information based on traffic sources or visitor actions. Now you can know whether your social media campaign efforts are bearing fruit at the rate you want.