How to Track Social Media in Google Analytics

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As they say, ignorance is bliss.

Unfortunately, this generally doesn’t apply to digital marketing. In fact, ignorance may be as far from bliss as possible, especially if your social media accounts aren’t performing to your standards.

For those with no way to track website performance and metrics, it can be easy to believe that you’re hitting all of your benchmarks, driving new traffic, and harvesting adequate leads. Overlooking weak spots and missing pain points completely is also possible without a good way to objectively evaluate how your social media accounts are functioning.

Luckily, there’s a better way. Google Analytics is a free tool widely used by novice webmasters and seasoned veterans alike. It offers an easy way to evaluate traffic sources and determine the effectiveness of social media campaigns. Providing insight into the many facets of site functionality, Google Analytics can unwrap your website’s performance, uncovering the truth about what your digital marketing is able to accomplish.

Curious? Here’s how you can make the most of your social media stats:

Track Traffic Sources

Many marketers erroneously believe that as long as website traffic stays steady, everything must be fine. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Without a solid understanding of where your customers are coming from and how they’re getting to you, it’s very challenging to get a full picture of consumer web behavior. Google Analytics is extremely valuable in this arena, breaking down traffic from exact point of origin.

Under the category Real Time there is a section called Traffic Sources. From here you will be able to see exactly where traffic to your website is originating, a function that silos results based on individual traffic sources. Many of these sources should be expected; most marketers see many results from Google and direct access, as well as social media sites, blog posts, and more. Take the time to go through your most popular sources, and determine which are social media sites and see how these sites rank overall.

Set Goals with Campaigns

In order to truly hone in on how your social media marketing campaigns are working, Google Analytics lets users set up goals. This feature allows you to narrow your results, tracking specific features regarding how consumers perform once they reach your site.

Under the Admin tab, click Goals, and then select New Goal. In the fields provided, enter the data you wish to track, including pages visited or viewing duration. Choose a name that summarizes what you’d like to accomplish, and select Destination as the type. Then, in the destination field, enter the tail end of the URL you’d like to track. For example, if you’d like to see how many Twitter followers make a purchase, you can set this field to reflect your Thank You page. Users can also add monetary value tracking or incorporate a sequence of pages through the Funnel feature.

View Conversions

For most marketers, conversions are an end goal. Fortunately, Google Analytics makes tracking conversions easy, providing access to one-click insight by going to the Acquisitions menu, selecting All Traffic, and then choosing Channels. From here, users can enable the Social view to see exactly how social media sites break down.

The report generated here will include many valuable stats, including goal conversion rates, goal completions, and goal value, providing a great overview into how your goals are performing for each social site. Users can also utilize the Assisted Conversions report, accessed under the Conversions menu under Multi-Channel Funnels. This report maps which leads were originally, but maybe not specifically, a result of social media marketing. For example, a customer may have found your site through social media, clicked away, and then used Google to find your page again days later in order to make a purchase.

Draw Conclusions

Google Analytics is a great start, but numbers alone can’t tell you how to improve. Instead, you need to learn from what information you have available, using it to develop insights that can be applied to boost your social performance. Devise questions that relate to social behaviors and see how your customers are fitting into the mold. What social media sites have the highest visits? Do Facebook leads have a longer page duration? Is your traffic from Twitter viewing more pages on average?

Formulating these questions can help you get to the root of your social media successes and failures, especially when you are running specific campaigns. For example, if visitors from Twitter are spending more time on your landing page but don’t see a reason to click through, perhaps your marketing materials are misleading.

For marketers at all stages of the game, access to analytics can be the demarcation between growth potential and slowing sales. Google Analytics can provide many of the insights you need to improve performance, putting game-changing resources right at your fingertips.

Why Your Business Website Needs Google Analytics

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You invested in a great website and spent time working with designers and web developers to truly capture your brand, but nothing has changed. Your traffic is stagnant, leads aren’t converting and sales aren’t increasing. Why?

In good times and bad, monitoring your website is a valuable way to determine performance, source traffic and receive feedback that can help you make wise business decisions. Whether you’re doing great or struggling to keep up and need to know why —the right analytics can make a huge difference.

The most popular free tracking opportunity for businesses of all sizes and industries is Google Analytics. It provides the opportunity to track many of the important metrics related to operating a successful website. With capabilities like determining traffic sources, calculating key performance indicators and providing insight into average duration and views per page, it’s easier than ever to monitor your site’s performance on the web.

Here’s why your business website needs Google Analytics:

Identify Traffic Sources

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Having traffic is a great start, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Where your traffic is coming from also makes a difference. Google Analytics can help you track your traffic sources, offering insight into what marketing is working and what marketing isn’t. It also tells you what most of your viewers are doing to get to your page.

This information can be extremely valuable in identifying weak spots in marketing and advertising that can be bolstered, successful areas that can be perpetuated and even the keywords most important to your operations.

Stay Up to Date on Google’s Changes

As all website owners know, Google is anything but consistent. With frequent algorithm changes that may or may not be announced in advance, or even announced at all, keeping up with Google is often an uphill battle.

Google Analytics makes things easier by helping you to identify what was working before that isn’t now, or what new requirements your site isn’t meeting. For example, if your formerly adequate mobile traffic plummeted overnight, it’s highly likely that Google made a change that’s negatively driving your performance. By understanding your positioning, it will be easy to make the changes necessary to maintain your position in the search engine results page.

Explore Mobile vs Desktop

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As Google’s Mobilegeddon update proved —mobile use matters. While desktop ranking was left alone, Google made changes to how mobile sites are ranked. This change boosted companies with mobile-specific or responsive web design and penalized those without.

Instead of assuming all is well, get the scoop with Google Analytics. You’ll be able to see where traffic is coming from across all devices. The information is beneficial to noting strengths and weaknesses across laptops, desktops and phones. Platform breakdown can also help identify areas of improvement, especially when users appear to favor different functionalities from desktop to mobile.

Learn What Your Readers Value

You know your site viewers are invested in what you have to offer, but what information means the most? Without knowing what pages, blog posts and product descriptions are hitting home, it’s hard to know what to prioritize when it comes to site design and product creation.

By analyzing metrics, like page visit duration, you can ascertain which posts and pages are successful and which ones fall short. This data can also help you to identify what visitors landed on your site and left right away and how many stayed to read, absorb and invest in what your company has to offer.

Keeping an eye on performance behind the scenes can be extremely valuable. By understanding more than what you see at the surface you can fine tune what works and tweak what doesn’t. With Google Analytics on your side, you can ensure your site will always stay at the top —no matter how the tides may shift.

How to Turn Marketing Data into Actionable Results

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If you’re trying to turn your analysis into actionable items, we have a few tips that can help to get you started so you can focus on the analysis that matters.

Marketers all over the world are looking for keys to success to help them strategize how to get their Google search data optimized for increased traffic. If you look at the various types of analytical data that can help fine-tune the particular strategies that you’re working on, it can be time intensive. With different types of tools and resources to increase your marketing’s effectiveness, there are also different case studies and different ways that can help you to strategize how to optimize your landing pages, social media management, and so forth.

While a lot of the data analysis and market studies are great, if you’re looking for effective ways to help cross-channel your marketing campaigns, there’s a true road map for success that can help you to build your business and to give you a better presence online as well as to maximize your web traffic.

Getting from point A to point B

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When you look at your website, your business and how you want to get customers drawn to your pages, it’s like having a road map that’s going to guide you from one direction to another. Tapping into your ad campaigns and creating a strategy along with your Google analytics can help to ensure your business strategies will flow in a direction that’s the most effective for increased sales.

There are also key considerations in terms of how much you set in your budget, your finances, the status of your business, i.e., new, successfully scaling, and even how your customers view your products and services.

Because customers are online now more than ever, you want to ensure your online presence is not only going to set you up strategically with Google, but also effectively help you with mobile devices. This ensures that customers can access your business no matter what device they are using.

Descriptive analytics

When you look at your business, you may want to think about what you’ve done in the past that has strategically worked before starting new campaigns and exploring analytics. If you’re a new business, a great way to learn business is to look at a competitor to see what’s working on their landing pages, the various social media tools they’re using and how they reach their customers.

Consider tapping into a website that can help you to view your competitors’ web pages to better understand the various links and data points that they’re using and this may help you to translate this into your own pages to build your analytical data. Because filter analytics can help turn the data that you have into actionable items, this will give you more meaningful results and increased insight.

Action item: Make sure when you set up your Google analytics page so that you’re also looking at it from a marketing perspective. Also look for things like negative keywords and other areas that can help you to better filter your ad campaigns. Crunch Base can help. Check it out here…

Cross-channel insight data and attributions

Another way you can effectively build up various customers’ accounts is to use social media across all different channels. Consider using websites that will link all of your messages, blasts and blogs at once so you don’t have to keep posting the same messages again and again across Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

Targeting customers strategically

As you look at your analytics, keep an eye out for the various points where you’re building your customers and what they’re responding to so that way you know how to maintain that momentum. If you see them drawn to one particular ad, mirror the ad. If it’s a landing page, mirror that.

Actionable item: Look at your competitors’ sites to see how their ads are set up and note which are getting the most attention so you can build your ads in a similar format. You may even want to factor in guest speakers for your particular website to get more focus on your landing pages.

Predicting demand

To better understand what your customers need, you have to be a customer. That means you need to see it from their perspective and understand what your competitor is giving them that you are not. Sign up for competitors account to see how their email subscription is set up and what they send customers. Buy a product from them so that way you can better understand the benefits of being under that competitor as well as how you need to make changes on your own site.

Filter out the noise

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Another area that you may want to target and strategize is how to build a better customer base and not just get tweets out there that no one’s really responding to. An effective response is one that’s going to elicit a customer coming to your website and your pages and making a purchase.

If you simply send a tweet about Mother’s Day or nationally televised sporting event, while it may draw a response, that’s not necessarily going to lead to increased revenue. Quantifind discovered that with online stores, where social media has a strong presence, only about 20 percent of the ads will actually correlate into future sales.

Actionable item: Make sure that you’re looking at that 20 percent because that’s the main point that you want to consider. Strategize effective ads, don’t waste space, and minimize random tweets and emails to help get customers to your landing pages and make that sale. Check out sites like HootSuite that can help you with effective ad campaigns.

Other Findings

It is important to understand your data but don’t over exhaust yourself.

Check out that great ad – and mirror it: Sometimes people shop at a particular site or store because they have a great ad or color scheme that they like, so it may not be their campaign or key words per se. Also, ask other people what they are looking for when they shop and that’s it relates to your particular type of business and who they use and recommend because you really need to get better at a better feel for your customers.

Don’t abandon them: Next, don’t ignore the abandoned cart information that you have on your pages because when you look at the data for this, each person who has an abandoned cart should be getting the subsequent emails that follow up. These are still potential customers so don’t abandon them.

Give them a voice: You also want to make sure you’re not just focusing all on data. People want a voice they can identify with. Having a personal approach when you send a blog message or sending a note from the owner can sometimes lead to more increase sales as opposed to just random ads that will just generate likes, shares and hits.

Key Takeaways

The takeaway from this is that the more data that is online, the more you have to filter through. You want your ads to be effective and you also want actionable items that are going to drive traffic to your pages and increase your sales. Look for areas like your correlations to the various KPIs and different types of visuals that people are drawn to as a way to better understand how you can keep customers happy. Then look at your competitors’ pages to help you get an idea of what they’re doing with their ads as this can help lead to increased sales in the future from your effective ad placement to help turn all that analysis into actionable items – and increased sales.

Essential Marketing Analytics Tools for Small Businesses

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Just about every business out there is beginning to recognize the importance of online marketing. Whether they are building a website, creating social media accounts, or maintaining a viable email list, every business is moving into the digital marketplace. Once they show up, however, many tend to fizzle out. This generally comes from a lack of understanding of the digital world, a poor marketing plan, and no idea how to make improvements or read data. This is where marketing analytics come into play.

What’s the point of having a website or a social media account if no steps are taken to measure its effectiveness? Without knowing who is visiting a business’s page, where they are coming from, or how long they stay, it’s difficult to determine if the time and money being spent is even worth it. Luckily, there are plenty of digital marketing analytics tools available all around the web to help combat the confusing world of marketing data analysis.

Keeping Track of Your Website and Its Effectiveness

Nearly every business with an online presence has its own website at the very least, but just having a website isn’t enough. It is important for every business owner to fully understand the performance of their website. This includes tracking audience engagement, data on demographics, topics and pages that are viewed and used the most, and how people are finding the web site in the first place. Luckily there is an incredible resource through Google called Google Analytics that will track all of this information free of charge.

Once a website’s traffic and engagement is being tracked, it is easy to move into search engine optimization (SEO) analysis. Tracking key word rankings, the number and quality of back links (links from one page to another), and general SEO effectiveness are all types of data that need to be sifted through and analyzed as often as possible. This is where Google steps up again with Google Web Master Tools. Designed to make website and SEO analytics free and easy to use, Web Master Tools is a great resource for any small business on the web.

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Analyzing Your Social Media Presence

Social media is easily the most expansive and complicated form of marketing online, and encompasses so much more than most realize. Including websites, apps, games, shares, and links across multiple platforms and companies, social media has become a wild beast that few have been able to tame. Luckily for the small business owner, companies like Scoop.It, Quintly, Cyfe and a few others have all stepped into the ring with lassos in hand.

Scoop.It and Buffer – Provided free with the option to upgrade, were both designed to measure social media views, visitors, comments, and daily shares across multiple social sites. Scoop.It also provides product guides, case studies, demos, and FAQ’s to its 1.2 million users, and is fully integrated with Google Analytics. Both websites will also help manage social media posts through their useful tools, and help compare average and daily hits on each post.

Followerwonk and Quintly – Created by Moz, Followerwonk is a comprehensive resource for tracking posts on Twitter, while Quincy provides the same service for Facebook. Both provide clean and easy to use interfaces and graphic representation for analyzing posts, likes/ favorites and shares/retweets. Followerwonk also provides its users with popular hashtags and optimal times for tweeting content, and is a statistics based open information application. This means that businesses aren’t limited to their own information, but can research the competition as well. Quintly, on the other hand, limits its users to 3 Facebook pages per free account, with more available with a paid subscription, and is ideal for small businesses.

Cyfe and Addvocate+Trap!t – Both of these websites follow content sharing across multiple social networks, and each one has a unique method for sorting its data. Cyfe leans more towards full internet presence and includes data for websites outside the normal social media channels, while Addvocate+Trap!t (two companies that recently teamed up into one super squad) provides comparative data between channels to help small businesses determine which works best for them. Both are free, easy to use, and incredibly reliable.

Making the Most for the Small Business

Generally speaking, most small businesses do not have the time or money to invest in a large scale digital marketing plan. These services tend to be costly and require a serious commitment to creating an expansive digital presence. Luckily, companies like Google and Buffer have stepped up to help the little guy build his online portfolio and get up to speed with the big players. Using these resources will allow any small business to improve both their website usability and social media effectiveness.