Analytics For The New Social Media Manager

I have been astounded at the number of social media jobs brands large and small have created over the last year. With each month, more brands realize that Social media isn’t an afterthought; it’s something that takes time, strategy, attention and even aggression to keep ahead of the pack.

With all of these new positions come a large number of employees who are making their first foray into the world of Social Media. They may have been promoted from within, from another department, or maybe they previously handled SEO or paid search ads within the marketing department.

Many companies take a gamble that pays off on new-to-the-industry go-getters with not a lot of experience but tons of drive and passion.

Search vs. Social Media Engagement

The reality here, in most cases, is that measuring the success of social media is much different than measuring the success of a paid advertising or SEO effort. There’s so much more to Social Media, and engagement is something I’ve talked about in previous articles.

Measuring engagement is just as important as measuring revenue. Smart companies know that a social media strategy is about building a brand, and building brand advocates; so, when the need arises, they know exactly where to fulfill that need – their website.

So, more than just measuring purchases, and revenue – engagement must be a goal. The sticky wicket in this equation is measurement. I have come up with some ideas for measuring engagement, and revenues, for new social media community managers.

I talked in depth about measuring engagement in a previous article, Reporting on Social Media Engagement. What I want to talk about today is how to justify the Social Media Management position through insightful analytics. It’s important. It can be part of another role in a company, or a role unto itself, but there should be someone to lead the charge of your social media efforts.

Custom Reports

Make sure you’re using custom reports to show engagement and revenue from social media channels. Also, be sure you’re watching the multi-channel funnels section of Google Analytics, specifically the Assisted Conversions and Top Conversion Paths report. Top conversion paths is a great way to see the nuances of a visitor before they buy.

Advanced Segments

Create a custom advanced segment that outlines the social media sources where you’re active. This makes it very easy to show your impact on any given standard report, simply by choosing the correct advanced segment. Here’s how you do it.

First, look at the referral traffic report and pick out all referrers where you’re doing business. For this example, I’ve chosen Pinterest, Facebook & Twitter. Now, click on Advanced Segments in the top of the page.

Then, choose “New Custom Segment” from the far right side of the page – the image below is cropped, so it will be further to the left.

Now, name your advanced segment; I name mine what they are – so, “Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter” and start adding your includes.  Here’s how mine looks right before I save it

We don’t need any “and” includes here. Add as many sites as you like. By choosing the qualifier “containing” you’ll get anything that contains that root domain. Once you’ve filled in the steps above, choose “Preview Segment” and see how it looks. This keeps your Custom Segment Building screen open, but adjusts the data below to be in line with what you’ve chosen as your custom segment.

Make tweaks as appropriate and then choose “Save Segment.” You’ll then be able to choose this Advanced Segment from any standard or custom report within Google AdWords. This is very helpful when you’re looking at conversion funnels, paths, visits, etc. from other search channels as well.

I can now look at demographic information just for my social media visitors, finding out where they’re coming from.

I can look at Google Analytics’ canned engagement report, choose the Social Sources segment and see the engagement of only social media visitors.


Benchmark Data

You can see the value in being able to quickly determine your Social Media Work’s impact on the bottom line. Don’t become ensconced in this custom filter though, it’s important to weigh your work against the whole, as well as see how your work gains against the whole. Benchmarks work well for this.

Consider benchmarking and measuring the following for Social Media goals and achievements:

  • Percent of Visits from Social Media
  • Percent of Visits from type of social media (Here, you look at the breakdown of Social Media visitors. How many from Pinterest, Facebook, etc. This is available under the Social Overview section under the Traffic Sources section in Google Analytics.)
  • Percent of Revenue from Social Media
  • Bounce rate from Social Media Visitors when compared to bounce rate from all visitors

Entrance Paths & Social Sources

I also like to move around in the landing pages report, drilling in to the Entrance Paths section while my Social Sources custom segment is active. Here’s how it looks:

Basically, you highlight the landing page on the left, and it will show you the pages the visits exited from on the right. This can help you determine which pages hold the social media user’s attention, and which pages don’t interest them.

If you see a large number of exits from a particular page, you can then work on changing this page to make it more appealing to a social media user, or possibly creating specific landing pages shown only to your social media users.

As you can see, the tracking possibilities are endless. There is a lot of data, and much of it is extremely overwhelming. Keeping it simple, understanding the traffic you’re impacting, and that segment’s impact on the whole can help you fine-tune your efforts more quickly and effectively.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Beginner | Channel: Analytics | Google: Analytics | How To: Analytics | Search & Social | Social Media Marketing


About The Author: is the co-founder of Ignitor Digital, along with long-time colleague Mary Bowling. At Ignitor, Carrie tackles tough technical SEO roadblocks many small business owners don't even know they have. Her experience with analytics and troubleshooting helps her get to the root of issues. When not working, Carrie loves to cook for friends and family, hang out with her pretty awesome kids, and read books that have little-to-no educational value! You can also follow Carrie on twitter, @carriehill.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


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  • Mark Silverberg

    Is it just me or is it a little weird that this post is sponsored by Adobe but features how to do this only with Google Analytics?

  • Alice Ly

    For the Advanced Segments section, I can’t seem to have multiple “Include” lines like you have pictured. Is there a button somewhere I’m not seeing that allows for multiple “Includes” to bundle the social sources like that? Thanks! :)

  • Carrie Hill

    Alice – can you send me a screen shot of your advanced segment build and i’ll see how it compares to mine? email me at carrie (at) keyrelevance (dot) com

  • Carrie Hill

    @Mark – pretty interesting. I think Adobe sponsors most of the analytics columns here. I’ve never used Omniture so cant really speak to it’s functionality – pretty cost prohibitive for most of my clients.

  • Alice Ly

    I sent the screenshot, thank you :)

  • Carrie Hill

    Sent back a reply – let me know if that doesn’t work for you :)

  • Alice Ly

    A previous company I worked with tried to use Omniture 5 years ago but it had a very steep learning curve not to mention the cost and integration effort. Not sure if they’ve changed it to be more friendly though.

  • Alice Ly

    It worked wonderfully, thanks for the help :)

  • William Sears

    Don’t forget to add the source to track your referrals from Twitter’s redirect service.

  • Carrie Hill

    Great tip! Thanks for sharing!

  • elisabeth osmeloski

    Mark, fwiw – - Editorial & Ad Sales operate independently here at SEL/ML., so the writers really only write what they know, as Carrie explained below. Adobe does have some solid social metrics tracking now as part of its digital marketing suite. However , as others mentioned, it’s typically used in very sophisticated organizations whereas Carries’ piece is aimed specifically beginners/first time social media managers. We love to look at how to measure social performance using whatever tools/platforms makes sense, and we have some guidelines in place to maintain editorial integrity.

  • Béate Vervaecke

    Same remark for Tip: look at the social media report in Google Analytics. There your can find all the domains associated with facebook and twitter.
    Other caveat: when clicking from apps (mobile, desktop), the medium/source is direct/not set, so campaign tagging will be needed.

  • Bill Bean

    I’m surprised social network referrals isn’t one of the default segments.

  • Carrie Hill

    I built a custom segment for mobile traffic – app traffic is tricky. I’ll keep playing with it – maybe I can figure it out and write a follow up article :) Thanks for the tip.

  • Devin Harper

    Awesome. It just reaffirms that SEO and Social Media go hand in hand like two peas in a pod!

  • Zane Claes

    What about using social media referrals in goal funnels? I find a lot of SMMs need to provide their clients with direct data about how their efforts are translating to sales.


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