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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Using Google Analytics to Measure Social Media ROI

#GoogleAnalytics, #SM, #SMM, #SEO

If you aren’t already using Google Analytics to track your website/blog performance, you’re missing out on a great feedback system and it’s FREE. It isn’t necessary to have a Blogger blog. It can be used on static websites hosted on your own server, on Wordpress, or some other platform. You will need a Google account and then follow the directions in how to place the codes on your site so that it can begin tracking the activity on your site.

I use Google Analytics to get an idea of how many visitors I receive each month, to track new first-time visitors vs returning visitors, and to measure my blogs' traffic flow from social media. It let’s me know the percentage of people from the US, Canada and other countries, who is using what browser platform to view my site, and what percentage of my readers are on mobile platforms such as Verizon Android or iphones. 

Why is this important? It helps me tailor my content, and to use gadget plug-ins that will work with these features. I don’t want to use something that the majority of my readers’ software won’t be compatible with and will prevent them from viewing my site. My goal is to gain readers, not lose them. This means I have to tailor my content to something they can use and value, as well as be compatible on the reading device they choose to use. 

Google has implemented the Social Plug-In Analytics. It shows how many people visit your site from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. This eliminates the guess work in how much of a difference your social media efforts make in your overall platform. It can be great info for the Marketing Plan piece of your proposal. It isn’t enough to have 8,000 Twitter followers and 2,500 likes on your Facebook page. Those numbers are only a start—they give you “access” to people you wouldn’t otherwise have. Now take it a step further, and learn the percentage of those people who are actively engaged in following your posts and interacting with you.

  • Do they take action and click onto your website/blog and read the whole post? 
  • Do they now follow your blog? 
  • Did they like your content enough to further promote it to their friends and family? 

You can know the answers to these questions by keeping up with how many +1 hits on Google, shares it on Facebook, or retweets it on Twitter. If this is happening, you have Social Media spreading your news by “word of mouth marketing”. This is what you want—other people promoting your work. You won’t know this without some mechanism to track your efforts--and why not use a free, accurate system like Google Analytics?

This will give you a “return on your investment” of time, types of posts, and content that people are interested in sharing and seeing or hearing. Often, what we “think” they are interested in is completely different than the “truth”. I can get people to share an image of Bambi on Facebook much faster than I can one of my devotional posts or an announcement about my books or events. Yet, on Twitter, people will retweet one of my devotions or my book announcements easier than on Facebook. It’s given me a chance to get to know my readers better on each individual social media site. Each social media site has its own culture, and you must learn them.

Here is an image of traffic flow that Google Analytics will show you from your Social Media sites. It will show you what percentage of “click thrus” come from which social media, which page they entered, and which pages they clicked on next and when and where they dropped off from your site. This will also give you an idea of which content (blog posts) people are interested in so that you will be able to target your future posts to garner more interactions. 

Below is an old image from one of my personal blog sites. 

If you want specific directions in how to implement the code on Blogger, click here.

What are your thoughts? Have you used Google Analytics? Did you know about the ability to also track your Social Media actions? Would it be helpful in helping you with YOUR online marketing efforts?


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