Get a Deeper Understanding of Social Engagement Using Google Analytics

The importance of social media cannot be ignored when it comes to digital marketing. If you own or maintain a web property, you know that there's value in social media marketing, but quantifying that value is difficult. What is a "like" or a "retweet"? worth to you? Facebook and Twitter analytics platforms are informative when it comes to measuring things like social reach and content engagement, but fall short when it comes to measuring how those posts/tweets/pins impact your website.

Fortunately, all is not lost. Google Analytics has expanded their social reporting to help you derive valuable insights about how your social efforts effect desired user behaviors. Let's review a few of these reports and how they can be used.

Network Referrals. This report will give you a snapshot of how many users are coming in from each social network and how engaged they are in the content by providing statistics like pages per session and average session duration. You can drill down to see which pages users landed on when coming from each network. This will give you a good idea of the type of content that resonates well with your social media audience.

Plugins. Social plugins are now a part of every site. Nowadays, content posts like blogs, news articles, and press releases seem naked without them. Google Analytics now offers a report where you can see all plugin activity in one place. Initially, the report lists the pages on which the social action occurs. When you drill down into each page, you can see which social buttons were clicked, the total number of clicks (or unique clicks) and the dates on which they occurred.

Conversions. Conversions are the most important metric for any website. If you're not currently tracking conversions, you should stop reading this article and set up conversion tracking immediately. From a social media perspective, you want to know if your efforts have led users to perform desired actions on your site. The conversions report allows you to see which social networks are driving conversions and which landing pages they’re converting from.

Using these three reports in Google Analytics in conjunction with the analytics solutions provided by social media sites will help you diagnose how well your messages are being received and how they translate to site activity. You can then use those insights to inform future content creation for optimal reach and engagement.
 

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