First off, I want to preface this post with the fact that social media shouldn’t be done only with the goal of making direct conversions. Social media is about building new relationships, generating word of mouth marketing, and strengthening brand loyalty with your customers.
That said, I know that there are a lot of you who may be curious about the monetary value of your social media campaign, have clients that are asking the value of the social media services you provide for them, or simply want to learn more about how your social media strategy is leading to conversions.
The following are the steps you must implement to be able to see the return on investment and goal conversions for your social media campaign. When you complete these, you will be able to:
The Google Analytics you have grown to love is changing with the new version. You can see this version by clicking on the New Version link in the top right of your Google Analytics dashboard.
Since the new version is closing in, I thought I would cover the new setup features of your Google Analytics for social media ROI measurement.
Before you can do any kind of measuring in terms of your social media success, you will need to setup your goals in Google Analytics. The signal of a completed goal in Google Analytics can be anything including when someone lands on a specific page of your website, when someone spends a certain amount of time on your site or browses a certain number of pages, or when they click on a link to download a whitepaper or leave your site.
This means that you can track anything from:
To setup goals, go to your website’s analytics dashboard, and click on the Settings wheel icon to the right of the orange toolbar.
From here, click on the Goals tab and click on + Goal to add a new goal.
The following are the four goal types you have to choose from, and some sample ways to use them.
This goal type is achieved when someone lands on a specific page on your website. For example…
You should setup your Goal Value to be the average amount of the common conversion. So if your average sale amount is $30, enter 30, or if your average mailing list subscriber is valued at $5, enter 5.
This goal type is achieved when someone spends a specified amount of hours, minutes, or seconds on your website.
This one is a bit tough to associate with a Goal Value, but if you can estimate that people who have been on your site for over 15 minutes likely purchase an average of $15 in goods, then you can enter 15.
This goal type is achieved when someone visits a specified amount of pages during one visit. Again, it is a tough one to associate with a Goal Value, but if you can estimate that people who visit more than 10 pages on their site likely purchase an average of $20 in goods, then you can enter 20.
This goal type is achieved when someone clicks on a link or button to do things such as download a whitepaper PDF file, play a video, or leave the site to purchase an item elsewhere. To use this goal type, you must:
For example, if the event you are tracking is the purchase of an eBook sold on another website, then you would have a link that looked like the following:
<a href=”http://domain.com/yourebook.html” target=”_blank” onClick=”_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'eBook', 'Purchase', 'BPP']);” >
You would then enter the following into your Goal Details under Configure a combination of one or more event conditions from the list below:
Finally, you will want to associate a Goal Value to be the average amount of the common sale. So if your eBook, on average between regular price and discounted pricing, is a total of $33.30, then enter 33.3. Your final goal setup would look like this:
Note that the downside of tracking external events (like someone clicking on a link to go to another site to buy something) is that you are tracking visitors leaving your site, not making the purchase. So you might want to match up the number of goal conversions with the number of actual sales you make in a month and adjust the value of your goal to match accordingly.
As a disclaimer, this is the most basic of goal setups in Google Analytics. You can do much more with event tracking including solutions specific to ecommerce sites. There are also goal funnels which can show you where people drop off during the conversion process on your own site to help you further optimize your sales process.
Next, in order to see your goals in relation to your social media referrals, you will need to setup a custom advanced segment in Google Analytics as follows.
Click on ADVANCED Segments , and to the right under Custom Segments , click on the button for + New Custom Segment.
Name your new custom segment Social Media, and then start adding social media referral domains by clicking on the dropdown to the right of the Include and selecting Source. Leave the next dropdown on Containing and enter your first social network domain. To enter additional domains, click on the Add OR statement link.
The following is a key to the major social media referrers. You may want to lump them all under Social Media or break them down as follows between major social media networks and social bookmarking networks.
You may also want to go through your traffic referral sources list to see if there any other social networks which are more niche specific that you want to include in your social media custom segment.
Click on the Preview Segment to ensure that your segment is pulling in the right data, and then click on Save Segment to save your changes.
Whenever you want to view data specifically related to your social media referrals, you can do so by clicking on Advanced Segments , checking the box next to your custom Social Media segment, and clicking Apply. Now you can go through all of your Analytics looking at only Social Media related data including your conversions.
Under Conversions > Goals > Overview, you can see the following from only the social media referrers you setup in your ADVANCED Segments .
If you click on the Goal Option dropdown, you will be able to see and click on specific goals for their detailed metrics as well.
The above screenshots are taken from my personal blog which does not offer a lot of products, and therefore has lower numbers. You can probably expect that any website which offers more conversion opportunities through products and services will have stronger social media referral numbers and higher goal values.
Before we end this post, here are a few extra tips for those looking to increase social media conversions and track those conversions more effectively.
If you’re not seeing the amount of conversions you were expected via social media, then you might want to look into better conversion optimization for your website. The following are some great articles and infographics on those lines.
For many businesses, one of the reasons this methodology doesn’t always work is because people may see a message from the business on a social network, but then their conversion is made within a physical store or on the phone.
In these cases, you will want to have something that customers can reference, such as a customized discount code based on social network. So in your tweet, be sure to tell people to mention TWITTER20 for 20% off, and on a fan page update, tell them to mention FACEBOOK20 for 20% off. This way you can get a better idea of how many people are being referred to your stores and phone ordering systems via social media.
Now that you know how I’ve started tracking social media goal conversions, now it’s your turn. How do you track your social media referral traffic in relationship to your conversion goals? Have you found it an adequate way of explaining social media ROI to clients? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below, and happy converting!