In the ever-changing world of social media, measuring the value of social media tactics (or what some call social media ROI) relative to businesses goals continues to be a challenge. From lack of access to inaccurate data, to myriad systems that have more data than we need and not what we truly need, measuring the value of social media continues to be a difficult task. Difficult, yet not impossible. So how should you evaluate social media results?
Objectives: Start with the objectives and make sure your marketing objectives are fair to what online marketing can do for you. While social media marketing is fantastic at driving leads, consider building into your campaign a conversion mechanism as well.
You may have heard the term “landing page,” which acts as a data capture mechanism so you can continue communicating with leads and convert them into customers. And email subscriptions, a form, a webinar registration form, or other conversion methods. Make sure this landing page is part of your website (for SEO reasons I won’t go into right now).
Measuring Social Media Referrals in Google Analytics: Let’s go back to the good ‘ole Google Analytics. One of the oldest players in the field, Google, announced recently its launch of “social reports.” These reports are expected to be the best measuring stick yet for businesses trying to analyze social media effectiveness and value while translating that value into business metrics.
For many businesses, the most important indicator of social media value is how these platforms affect sales conversions. Generally sales conversion requires a sales lead. Social media can drive those sales leads. So what we look to measure is the traffic that we build to a website and how that traffic does in the conversion process. Ultimately the conversion medium will be responsible for the conversion. Social media isn’t magic it can’t make your website work better, or your store sales clerks nail more sales. But it can drive the traffic there so that’s what we’re going to focus on and measure.
Simple steps to evaluate social media leads to your website:
From your Google Analytics dashboard you can take 2 simple steps to measure social media referral growth.
1. Evaluate referral sources, paying particular attention to referrals from social networks
Step 1: Look at referral traffic share. In your Google Analytics dashboard go to “Traffic Sources” – “Overview”.
Step 2: Look at the social traffic share of referral traffic. Within the same “Traffic Sources” section, click on “Sources” – “Referrals”
Step 3: You can add goals and campaigns to track the full progression from visit to conversion (we’ll cover this in a future article)
2. The New Google Social Dashboard
At this time Google Analytics only tracks social activity related to Google+, YouTube and its own networks. However, based on new information from Google they are working on new features we are very excited about:
- Identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to direct conversions or assist in future conversions
- Understand social activities happening both on and off of your site to help you optimize user engagement and increase social key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Make better, more efficient data-driven decisions in your social media marketing programs
Analyzing Social Media Conversions
Underneath the umbrella of social media sales conversions are two critical sub-groups: last interaction conversions and assisted conversions.
Last interaction social conversion:
When a link posted on a social media network — such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest — brings a visitor to your website and results in a converted sale at the time of that visit, Google Analytics classifies this visit as a last interaction social conversion.
Assisted Social Conversion:
If the referral brings a visitor to the site who doesn’t produce a sales conversion at that time, but later returns and converts a sale, this is classified as an assisted social conversion, since the referral through social media brought the traffic to the website but, presumably, other factors convinced the visitor to commit to the sale. In Google Analytics, this information is presented to you in an “Overview Report” that displays the total conversion results for all of your social media platforms. You can also view statistics for each separate social media entity.The value of social media is then presented to the user in different ways, including as total sales and total conversions, among others.
How Businesses Can Benefit From Social Reports
Through its new social media metrics, Google Analytics allows businesses to better understand the value of social media in regards to the business’s current sales and long-term goals. These new “Social Reports” can also help you optimize your social media practices, including how you allocate your resources to each platform as well as how your company approaches user engagement and building consumer trust. You have to be friends with your Google Analytics!
The Advanced Approach – Customizing Your Profile to Improve Data
Google Analytics’ customization features allow the software to be applied to a wide range of businesses. Acquiring the most accurate data, as well as information on boosting social media efficiency, you need to customize your business’s Google Analytics profile.This means defining goals in terms of sales figures, referrals and other data.
As a result, it may take some time and tinkering to fine-tune your Google Analytics profile to yield the most useful Social Reports. But with the software’s insights and assistance, your company will get a grasp of the value of social media and how it can grow your company’s bottom line.