Deciphering Your Most Valuable Social Network With Google Analytics
We’ve all got our personal favourites when it comes to social media. And, as social media marketers, we’ve all got our professional ones, too. Favouritism, however, unfortunately is not usually appropriate in our occupations. And so, even if we would love nothing more than to spend all of our working hours connecting with our fun and engaged fans on Facebook, if this segment of our following isn’t paying the bills, then we’ve got to refocus our efforts and enthusiasms on the segments that are.
However, deciphering which of our social networks is the most valuable to us is not actually as straightforward as it might appear at first glance. For instance, those bright and engaged Facebook fans might not be converting in the large numbers that you’d like them to – but the conversations that you are engaged with and the rapport that you have nourished and nurtured over time is extremely valuable to the way that your brand is perceived online.
I point this out for the simple reason that it will always remain important to maintain any business relationships that you have already built up across your various social networks. Even if you discover that Pinterest is in fact the social space which earns you the biggest chunk of your actual revenue, if you suddenly decide to ditch your Facebook fans in favour of your Pinterest followers, you will do no end of damage to your Facebook reputation – and of course, some of your Facebook fans will be using Pinterest, too.
The question ‘What is valuable?’ is not a simple one to answer. Pinterest might generate your biggest sales, but Twitter might produce the most leads; Facebook could well be where your brand is discussed the most, but there could be just one person watching you on LinkedIn that could prove to be the most valuable business partner your company will ever encounter.
In the end, no matter what you will learn about your social media outlets, you will still need to continue to maintain your output across all of your networks.
In short, what I think you will discover is that each and every one of your networks will prove to be valuable, it’s just that they will be valuable for different reasons.
No doubt you will already have a Google Analytics account set up to monitor all of your networks (and if you haven’t, you need to get one right now). A brilliant and thorough tool, Google Analytics can nonetheless be a little overwhelming – there seems to be no end of insights that running GA will furnish you with.
However, the trick with the programme is to break your various tasks down into manageable chunks. In this case you’re trying to answer a very particular question – ‘Which is my most valuable social network?’
To answer this, you will need to ask yourself (or rather Google) a few more questions, and then access the particular reports that will furnish you with the answers. Here’s what to ask and where to look…
Deciphering Your Most Valuable Social Network With Google Analytics
1. Which Social Channel Is Delivering The Most Traffic?
To answer this question, you will need to click the following: Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals.
From here you will be presented with some very clear charts that will tell you exactly where your traffic has been coming from. You will be able to view the data as a pie chart, if you like, so you can get a precise calculation of the percentage of social traffic to your website.
This tool will show results for up to 50 channels – so even those relatively obscure social networks that are out there that you may not have even heard of will display. Indeed, you might even make a discovery – StumpleUpon is actually generating 9% of your traffic!! Who knew?
Furthermore, you are able to change the date range so you can compare your results from different periods. You never know – your most valuable social network in terms of traffic might alter at different times of the year, and this of course is extremely valuable information to have.
2. What’s The Rate Of My Social Shares, Favourites and Likes?
Of course, if you’re running a good social media strategy, then not everything that you will be sharing across your networks will be pointing users directly to your site. In order to engage your social media followers you need to be social – and that means that anything that you discover whilst browsing the internet that you think will be of interest to your fans you should be sharing with them, regardless of whether it’s pointing to content that you’ve actually created yourself or not.
Understanding which type of content works best on which of your social networks will require some statistics. You need to know which articles are most commonly shared, whether they’re created or curated, and, of course, to which and on which social network they are being shared the most (and least).
Only by understanding all of this will you be able to determine which type of content is the most valuable to which particular audience. To find these reports, simply click on Acquisition > Social > Plug-ins.
3. What Are My Conversion Rates Across My Social Networks?
Value, of course, is not just defined by traffic, click-throughs, favourites and shares. Indeed, the stats that will probably most interest you are the ones that display a monetary value of conversions that occurred due to visits from social networks. And Google Analytics can provide you with this information as well.
Google Analytics will link conversions that were made on your site with any e-commerce transactions as well as the specific goals that you set.
Setting up goals in Google Analytics is indeed one of the best ways to measure the value of all of the traffic that passes through your site – be it from your social networks or otherwise. You do it simply by choosing the goals that are most important to your business, and the Google Analytics deciphers how your social networks are aiding you in achieving those goals.
All of your social networks are essentially marketing channels, and so it is important when trying to measure the monetary value of each one exactly where the biggest impact is being made. The social conversions report will link with your defined goals and e-commerce conversions to produce this data. It will show you when a social network was the last referring source of the customer, and will even show where that site was involved further up the referral chain.
Find it simply by clicking Acquisition > Social > Conversions.
How else do you use Google Analytics to determine the value of your social networks? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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