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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Connecting Social Media with Google Analytics

Measuring Return On Investment on social media used to be difficult because all of us needed a new paradigm to test conversions. Should I measure success by likes, comments, traffic to my main website, others? These and other questions needed answers in the form of tools and establishing new metrics. Social media marketing is here to stay, that is why we needed new tools to measure results in order to improve them.

Most tracking is done by "listening" to social media conversations, which means counting likes, tweets, comments, sentiment analysis and what is happening overall. But the question remains, is this the best way to measure Return On Investment?

Connecting Social Media With Google Analytics answers this question by providing users with a reliable way to measure how all this activity affects the bottom line. I will show the elements responsible to make this a reality:
  1. Overall Analysis: Where do your visitors come from? do they like your content or do they become a bounce statistic? Each website wants to achieve specific things, therefore setting up goals matching business goals and testing how close your offer is to consumer's demands is now possible. The most important benefit from Google Analytics in general is new knowledge in the form of insights provided by how your visitors behave. When adding social media to this mix it becomes a powerful source of actionable information so you can be able to tune your website and offer in accord to behavior from visitors from these social sources.
  2. Foundations: The first step is using the latest version of Google Analytics. Although Google rolls out new specs incrementally there are always deadlines to upgrade to the latest version. It is always advisable to be among the first in trying new features because sometimes the only way to learn about cutting edge specs is through trial and error. If you are using the latest version, the first step is identifying your cornerstone traffic sources. These traffic sources can be the ones providing you the most visitors, the most conversions and specifically the ones most important to achieve your business goals. In this phase you should determine which social media sites where you have a profile provide more traffic for you.
  3. Advanced Segments:Once these social media traffic sources are determined the next step is the creation of Advanced Segments for these websites and to divide this traffic on order to see individually what these visitors do inside your website. There is always the choice of creating various Advanced Segments if you wish to see the difference among each other. As an example you can create an advanced segment for Twitter, Facebook and of course, Google+ in order to compare them side by side according to your criteria.
  4. Traffic from Different Sources:
    Once you are in the phase of adding advanced segments you can add filters to divide traffic sources from the same social media site. This gets increasingly important in order to test for promotions and advertising and its Return On Investment as I mentioned in the first paragraph. It is at this point where the powerful tools brought to you by Google aid directly in measuring not only the effectiveness of your advertising and efforts but to see where you can improve by checking the ratio of traffic and conversions themselves.
  5. Integration:
    When the investment or presence on social media is considerable you might want to use other tools to check your efforts outputs. This is where Google shines by providing best in its class API's support to 3rd parties which add extra value to your social media Analytics. An example is Hootsuite, which besides providing you with tools to measure your conversations you can integrate it with Google Analytics. The tracking features enhance the base specs of Google Analytics by making it less time consuming to check several websites at a time, all in a single dashboard. The credit goes to Google Analytics because they make it possible.
Connecting Social Media With Google Analytics gives you the possibilities to track your impact. The predefined reports are also the standard to test the effectiveness of your individual or team's effort by pre-selecting Key Performance Indicators (KPI) brought to you by best practices and the talented guys at Google. Analyzing Social Media gets increasingly easier and this only helps to fire its already booming explosion and reach.

Author Bio: Jason Smith consults companies on online marketing, product development, and strategy. During his free time he enjoys reading about human behavior and visits christian church san jose regularly.


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