How to Analyze Your Weekly Social Media Traffic Using Google Analytics

The Why and How of Measuring Social Media Engagement

Target Social Media
Measure social media results to increase engagement. Jdillontoole | Getty Images

Guest post by Larry Alton

Whether you’re using social media to improve the power and influence of your own personal brand or your leveraging social platforms on behalf of a company, you’ll need reliable metrics to determine which of your strategies are working and which are falling flat. Unfortunately, many social media users neglect the importance of measuring impact, or simply don’t know what tools are available to do so.

Google Analytics is a free resource available to anyone with a website, and it’s one of the most comprehensive web traffic analysis tools you’ll find. With its weekly reports on your social media traffic, you’ll gain critical insights about your social media strategy, and you won’t have to lift a finger to get them.

Why Understanding Your Traffic Is Important

Measuring your traffic establishes feedback for your brand. When you implement a certain strategy or series of tactics, you’ll learn exactly how the approach influences your following. With that information, you can continue making meaningful changes that actively drive your traffic and follower interest up, rather than shooting blindly and hoping for the best.

For example, if you start syndicating a new type of content, you can use this information to measure its impact on your audience. If you introduce one new piece a week and you start seeing an increase in web visitors from your social media platform, you might want to step up your frequency to three or four times a week.

If your traffic continues to grow, you know you’ve found a stable long-term strategy for development. On the other hand, if a new strategy causes your traffic numbers to sink, you can eliminate the strategy before it does too much harm.

Some social media platforms give you visibility to these types of user behavior, but only in exchange for using their paid advertising service.

Instead, you can use Google Analytics for free to take regular measurements of the health of your social audience.

Metrics to Understand

Once logged into Google Analytics, there are a number of significant audience measurements you can take.

Social Traffic Share

First, click on the Acquisition tab and click on Overview. Here, you’ll see a breakdown of the main sources of traffic to your site, including Social visitors. This will help you understand how valuable social media is at bringing visitors to your site, especially compared to other channels. As you increase your efforts, you should see this number of visitors growing over time.

Platform Share

From here, if you click on the Social button, you can view the individual platforms responsible for that social traffic, broken down by traffic share. This area will help you understand which of your social platforms are responsible for bringing the most traffic to your site. You can also review metrics like new session percentage, bounce rate, and average page duration to determine which platform brings the most relevant traffic—the traffic most likely to convert once on site.

Landing Pages

From the Acquisition tab, drill down to Social and click on Landing Pages.

Here, you’ll find the most popular landing pages from your social audiences. This is especially useful if you regularly syndicate new content from your site—you’ll be able to see exactly which posts and which content generate the largest share of inbound traffic.

There are several other types of reports you can generate within Analytics, but these three are the most important for understanding the patterns of behavior in your social audience. You can also make adjustments to these reports by adding or eliminating columns of information, or adjusting the time period displayed in the information readouts.

Setting Up a Weekly Report

Once you’ve gotten to a screen you’d like to see reported on a regular basis, you can set up automated reporting. Design the report with the information you want on a recurring basis, then click on the “Email” button near the top of the page.

Here, you’ll be able to set a number of variables including:

  • The email addresses where you’d like the report to be sent
  • The subject line to catch your attention
  • The file type of the report—PDF generally works best
  • The frequency that the report is sent—in this case, weekly will be ideal, but you can always change that based on your personal preferences

Keep in mind you can set this automated reporting for multiple reports—so if there are multiple metrics you want to track, you can have reports on all of them emailed to you regularly.

Start collecting these reports and comparing your results week over week. As you modify your existing strategies and add new ones to the mix, you’ll get a good idea of which tactics work best for attracting the widest possible audience. The secret to social media success is trial and error, so use these reports as the objective basis for your decisions, and make regular tweaks and updates to constantly improve your campaign.

 

About the Author:

Larry Alton is a freelance writer who's articles have been featured in HuffingtonPost.comand Entrepreneur.com.