September 2017 Social Media Club Presentation

I recently had the privilege and honor of speaking for a second time at a Social Media Club (SMCKC) breakfast here in Kansas City. It is fun talking with such an engaging, smart, and connected group of digital marketers and I’m proud to be a member. My topic was a popular one and one that my team continues to work on as we harness the amount of data that we have at our fingertips.

Here are the presentation slides:

Google Analytics isn’t the most intuitive tool to use, but can be powerful when you understand attribution and how to get data that helps you show the customer journey and how social media contributes to lead generation and sales. I can’t emphasize enough the need to understand your target personas and the customer journey. From there you can then analyze your past traffic to see how it aligns with your marketing efforts.

Here are the specific reports in Google Analytics that I recommend being aware of and using where they fit in your social media measurement plan:

    1. Real-time: This report is handy if you’re running an event-based or real-time campaign as it shows current users on your site and what source they entered through. From there you can see information on their location, what pages they visit, and other basic actions.
    2. Audience
      1. Demographics: Ensuring your social media traffic aligns with your target audience will help you refine your efforts. Additionally, if you know who is visiting your site from social, you can tailor your campaigns to those audiences for better effectiveness.
      2. Interests: Knowing the specific interests and affinity groups your audience falls into from social and all sources can be helpful for targeting your paid social campaigns. The categories Google shows are tied to AdWords audiences, but you’ll find that they overlap with those you have as options in the social media advertising platforms as well.
      3. Technology > Browser & OS: The more you know how your audience consumes your content, the better. Knowing the ratio of mobile users compared to desktop all the way down to the browser and OS can be helpful for shaping the type and format of your content.
      4. Lifetime Value: This is a new report that is still in beta. It is intriguing, but doesn’t fully reflect real lifetime value. Google Analytics can only calculate this based on cookie data for up to 90-days. However, it can be compelling to see repeat orders and revenue generated over a span of time.
      5. User Explorer: This report allows for drilling down on individual users who have been to the site one or more times. Google keeps the users anonymous, but you can gain some valuable insights seeing how individual users entered the site, navigated, returned, and match that up with what you expect in the customer journey. Side note this is similar, but not as robust as what tools like Lucky Orange do, but is nice to have built into Google Analytics.
      6. Location: The more we can tailor our content and social targeting to our audience, the more effective it will be–knowing their location is an important component and Google Analytics allows you to see a pretty granular drill-down of where users are located.
    3. Acquisition
      1. Channels: This is one of the most important reports for me. We do a lot of integrated campaigns and knowing the mix of traffic and conversions per channel is critical.
      2. Social:
        1. Landing Pages: You can see the specific entry points in your site from social traffic. This is great for keeping track of what content is popular and being able to track what visitors do after they land on specific pages.
        2. Conversions: This uses the default “last click” attribution model showing the number of conversions who came to the site through a social media source.
        3. Users Flow: This chart shows the flow of users through the site showing popular pages and paths that they take. This can be powerful for ensuring that as visitors go down funnels or jump around are ultimately achieving your engagement and conversion goals.
      3. Campaigns: The campaigns report shows data that Google Analytics has received via tracking parameters or UTM data. With the links you built on the front-end, you can break down and analyze behavior and engagement based on specific campaigns and sources.
    4. Behavior
      1. Event Tracking: In many cases you’ll need the assistance of a developer or plug-in technology in your website to leverage event tracking. Events are interactions within web pages that don’t cause a new page load. These are things that out of the box in Google Analytics are invisible. If you have social sharing buttons and other engagement actions that take place on a page, you want to explore use of event tracking so it flows data into Google Analytics in this report.
    5. Conversions
      1. Overview: A deep dive into all of your conversion goals, revenue, and performance. Like most reports in Google Analytics, you can segment this by all traffic (default) or specific channels (like social).
      2. Model Comparison Tool: A technical topic, but a great report to be aware of. You can compare models like the default “last click” model where Google reports on conversions based on the last source of the visitor’s session when they took a conversion action to other models like “first click”. I highly encourage exploring this report and understanding the complete conversion picture.
      3. Assisted Conversions: This report greatly supported my move to integrated campaigns and reporting years ago. Assisted conversions are credited for channels that were a part of the customer journey but were not the source that ultimately got credit for the “last click” conversion. You’ll often find a lot of assisted conversions and value for social as it is involved early in the customer journey that would be missed or a blindspot in other conversion reporting in GA.
      4. Top Conversion Paths: For more analysis of the customer journey and how users interact with your site, this report provides the most popular paths by channel. This is a great resource when mapping it all out.

The key to getting the most out of Google Analytics for measuring the impact of your social media campaigns is to having a measurement plan. That includes defining what you want to measure up front, setting intervals for reporting on the data, and being able to show the impact of social throughout the customer journey with the right attribution models.