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Social Media: How to Evaluate Performance with Analytics

by Alex Musk

Social Media: a cross and delight of every company, a source of trafficengagement, and new customers for those who have learned to use them appropriately for their business.

Yes: but how much?

How much traffic comes from social media, how much returns to reverberate on social media, and, above all: how much does it convert?.

Google Analytics, as usual, if correctly set up, can give us a big hand in answering all these questions, enabling us to analyze Social traffic from a myriad of points of view thanks to two families of reports. The one that explores traffic for channels and examines in detail the characteristics of social traffic.

The Topic of this Post

  • 1 Social traffic reports
  • 2 Create summary views with custom reports
  • 3 Social Media: Evaluating Performance
  • 4 The value of your social plugins
  • 5 Social impact: don’t stop at appearances

Social traffic reports

What can you do with these reports?

First, you can check how much organic traffic landing on your website comes directly from social media.

The report by channels, once only the social medium has been selected, is an absolute mine of information, capable of giving you for each social media all the peculiar characteristics of your web traffic. From the number of pages per session to the bounce rate, from the conversion rate in web marketing, conversion means when a user takes a specific – measurable – action that is important to your business.

 Examples are access to the site, each goal’s visit, and the relationship between new users and returning users.

As for family reports on social traffic, these are an essential source of information regarding the two flows from the social universe to your website and vice versa. While some words summarize and sometimes better specify the information that you can easily find elsewhere within the Analytics, or web analytics, is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of web data for understanding and optimizing the use of the web. When…, others – such as the one on plugins – measure how much each website’s content is shared directly from your page (and not, for example, by retweeting or sharing a post).

In short, how to say: a lot of information. Too many, probably, concerning the objectives that each of us sets when it has to analyze a channel with a single purpose in mind: to make it more performing.

Create synthetic views with custom reports

After all, we know that the world of marketing is divided into two significant needs: that of evaluating entire forests, in search of those macro-optimizations that can guarantee in general terms and improvement of the customer’s user experience (read, therefore: of his descent along the funnel. The conversion), and to evaluate every single tree in detail, to understand micro-behaviors of some families of users and, once again, improve their user experience.

This second aspect requires a medium-large company, which is mature and solid on the web and entrusts web analytics to a specialized team, allocating a budget. A budget estimates income and expenses over a specified period in the future and is usually compiled and re-evaluated periodically. THE… specific that often even reaches four-zero figures.

For everyone else, my impression is that these reports often constitute for the average marketer and entrepreneur a sort of data overload, of significant crowding of data that ends up generating only confusion and discouragement.

In short, there is a need for synthesis in each of us.

For this, I want to teach you here to build two customized reports which, in my opinion, should be more than enough to evaluate at a glance the “social” performance of our websites and understand which improvements to operating to optimize our presence in these virtual channels of interaction with our users.

Social Media: Evaluating Performance

The first report aims to understand how the organic traffic of each element of the social channel contributes to creating value on our website.

Translating: Social is defined as a channel that returns one of the strings separated by the | character as information relating to the medium (pipe).

When you do advertising, advertising (abbreviated ADV) means advertising; it is a paid message that a company sends intending to inform or influence the people who receive it … on a social channel. However, you should set your URL.URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. Colloquially called a web address, it is a reference to a web resource such as a site, page, or file so that the medium attribute is set to accommodate the following match:

Medium matches regex ^ (CPV |cpaCPA: acronym for Cost per Acquisition or cost per action. It is the average cost of an advertisement when a specific action is taken. These actions …| CPP | content-text) $

Otherwise, the absolute risk will be mixing potatoes and onions and no more comprehensive understanding of which part of the social traffic is or is not the result of your capacity for organic involvement.

Closed on this brief excursus, let’s try to check how your social channel is doing. Then open Analytics, create a new custom report by clicking on Personalization (at the top) and then on + New custom report.

For example, let’s give it a name: “Social Media Performance,” and let’s start filling the report with the metrics that interest us.

Social media: what are the metrics that matter?

In my opinion, for a monthly report, we should focus on some values ​​that immediately give us an outlook on the three fundamental directions of our traffic: acquisitionbehavior, and results achieved.

So let’s try to do it by focusing on the number of unique users, on the number of sessions generated by these users (or rather, on the sessions generated on average by each user), on the PPV (that is, the number of pages per session) and – obviously – on the rate and value of conversions generated during these visits.

The reference dimension, of course, will be the name of the Social Media ( Social Network, for Analytics) that generates the traffic described as follows:

You will have noticed that I have also included a filter: in this way, I will avoid that my report also shows the sessions with the value not set as Social Network, which distinguishes the rest of my traffic.

The result? There he is:

From this simple report, as you can see, all the values ​​that are useful for evaluating your activity on social media are highlighted: how many users did you involve, how they used your site, and with what results in economic terms: in practice, the entire conversion funnel of your organic social business. Only valid numbers, without distractions, and a layout that you can modify to your liking by inserting the metrics that best describe your particular business from time to time.

The value of your social plugins

Before evaluating the other side of the coin – how much, that is, your articles can stimulate social sharing – we need to take a small step back.

Almost all websites are equipped with a blog.

That count, however, by no means represents the number of times each share button is pressed on your webpage. Instead, it means the total number of shares, comments, and reshares that characterize the URL of your content.

Ironically, harmful content with a great title could receive hundreds of shares without ever being read.

In short, from the point of view of web analytics, the measurement of total shares does not tell us anything about the quality of the content.

Other, of course, is the value of the shares that start from the web page (using, in fact, the social plugins).

Unfortunately, Analytics enters into a problematic relationship with many of the plugins on the market. To obtain this report, therefore, you will have to manually set the necessary tags (Google has a guide in this regard), use a plugin compatible with Analytics (such as Addtoany ), or use tagging tools such as Google Tag Manager, which allows easy mapping of sharing buttons starting from their peculiar characteristics.

The advantage of this type of tool is that it allows you to evaluate the genuine consent acquired by each article, page, or post on your website by those who have had direct experience.

The custom report above – easily created in the usual way – is a pivot table obtained in Google Analytics and represents the clicks made on the social plugins in a given period using the social entity as the primary dimension (to which the post title has been associated ), the type of social action as a secondary dimension, and the number of social activities related to each article as a metric.

Needless to say, how helpful such a table is when it comes to verifying the real impact that a blog’s content has been able to generate on its users.

Social impact: don’t stop at appearances.

I conclude this article, which I hope could provide you with some valuable indications on a practical and theoretical level, with an invitation.

In web analytics, stopping at the appearances of things is always wrong. However, when social media is at stake, doing it means making a double mistake, with the dual risk of overestimating the real impact of sharing between peers and underestimating the relative value of the traffic channel by the social source. Realize this by making some comparisons. – responds to its own rules that are difficult to assimilate to other traffic sources.

For a correct evaluation of the social universe, however, precision is needed: to distinguish organic traffic sources from paid ones and distinguish the authentic quality and the actual ability to engage. 

Engagement, from the English “involvement,” is a term that indicates the level of involvement of users concerning a company or brand, often used in the field of Social Media Marketing. There is content in and of itself.

By doing the right thing, however, you will get a correct insurance reading of the data – the only one capable of providing accurate optimization cues.

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