How to Use Google Analytics for Social Media

Google Analytics is an essential marketing tool when using social media as a part of your strategy. It gives you an opportunity to compare your progress over time, learn how many people viewed your site as a result of your social media efforts, which channels they came from, and how long they stayed on your website. Furthermore, you can monitor how effective your marketing strategies are to understand what’s working and what isn’t. When you use Google Analytics for social media marketing, you can be sure that you make the appropriate strategic decisions at the right time.

Why is it useful to track social media with Google Analytics?

With the power of Google Analytics, you can view which pages your visitors find most interesting to click on from social media, otherwise known as social media referral traffic. You can use this information to your advantage because you can see which posts get the best engagement rates, and how much website traffic you get as a result. This data helps you determine what types of content works best for your users so you can keep doing more of that.

The goal of using Google Analytics for social media is that you continually progress and get more engaged website traffic as a result of social media marketing. If you are new to tracking social media via Google Analytics, the best advice you can get is to start small and build your way up. After a while, you will see what works best for your audience and you will know what to do next.

Methods for Using Google Analytics for Social Media

You must keep track of your improvement if you want to be successful. Hourly, daily, weekly or monthly reviews of your goals clarify how successful your strategy is over time. So, if you’re curious about exactly how Google Analytics helps you with social media marketing, we’ve outlined a few methods below.

#1 Set S.M.A.R.T goals 

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Most businesses fail because they set goals like: “I want to be the best at x thing”.This goal doesn’t have any direction. The SMART method helps push you further, gives you a sense of direction, and helps you organize and reach your goals. SMART goals with Google Analytics are valuable because they will keep you on the right track all the time. By setting goals for yourself, you are providing yourself with a concrete and tangible target to aim for. This tangibility is what makes goal tracking easier to maintain.

Here is a breakdown of the different elements of SMART goals:

  • Specific: Every goal that is not 100% clear, is a bad goal. For example, “I want to make tons of money from social media marketing.” This sort of goal gets you nowhere. A better goal would be, “I’d like to make x amount of money per x amount of social media traffic referrals.”
  • Measurable: It is critical to have measurable goals so you can track your progress. Measurable questions refer to: how much ..? How many..? You should also try to use exact numbers.
  • Attainable: It’s good to have big goals, because they will keep you motivated. But they must also be realistic and achievable goals. If you set your goals as, for example, I want to become a millionaire in my first week, you are not on the right path. Set something that you can actually accomplish.
  • Relevant: This step is to make sure that your goals really matter to your business. How is that goal going to help you? What will happen if you can’t achieve it? 
  • Timely: Every goal needs to have a target date. That will help you to stay focused and it will give you motivation. There should be a difference between short term and long term goals and how you manage your time.

Overall, if you set goals using the SMART method, it’s much more likely that you’ll be able to achieve them and track your progress along the way in a calculable manner.

#2 Understand the path from social media channels to conversions

Social media can be an extremely powerful tool for lead generation, but getting there takes time, patience, and a lot of testing. It helps you to measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns at generating website traffic and goal conversions. One of the best ways is to monitor the number of visitors coming on your site from each social media platform. If the message is relevant, your goal conversion rates will reflect that. If goal conversion rates are low, perhaps you need to reassess your strategy to cultivate higher quality leads.

As you change your post schedule you will see a difference in engagement. Do you get more likes, shares, retweets? If you do, you have found your perfect timing for sharing content. If the actions are a bit lower than usual, you need to adapt your schedule. Creating the right content, and posting it at the right time is the winning combination to boost conversions. The below image illustrates how you can view conversion rates in Google Analytics.

An overview of conversion in Google Analytics. Image source

#3 An overview of social media acquisition

Having good social media skills is more than necessary to run a successful business. You can reach people locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Constant tracking, improving and making changes to your campaign will lead you to your goals. If you understand the characteristics of your target audience, you will be able to personalize your messages to resonate with that audience more appropriately. 

Social media accounts show the world who you are and what you can do. Most important is that you can easily track your social media campaigns. You need to be sure that you are reaching out to the right circle of people so you can have a successful business in the long run. The success of social media campaigns can be tracked with the social media acquisition report in Google Analytics as shown in the image below.

An overview of social media acquisition in Google Analytics. Image

#4 Social media benchmarking

Social media benchmarking (SMB) is key to understanding whether you are consistently improving your strategy. SMB refers to the process of looking at the metrics from your social media performance: fan growth, the number of posts published, the number of interactions on your content or the speed of your replies. It allows you to compare that to your competitors.

The primary goal of the social media benchmarking process is to answer two crucial questions: how are we doing and what can we do to improve our performance? The below image shows how you can set social media benchmarks and track your performance with Google Analytics.

An overview of benchmarketing in Google Analytics. Image source:

A proper social media strategy uses Google Analytics

Complex Google Analytics metrics got you feeling down? Here’s how we can help. If you are stuck and you need help with social media marketing, contact us. At IDI, our team of Google Analytics experts will resolve all your unanswered questions and help you to achieve your business goals with social media marketing. Don’t stay confused. Save time, get clarity, and skyrocket your social media marketing now!

Published by Adriana Stein

on April 14, 2020

Adriana Stein is an Online Marketing Consultant based in Hamburg, Germany. Originally from the US, she is a native English speaker and specializes in helping companies with their SEO & content marketing strategies, along with graphic design, brand copy and website development.

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