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Measuring Social Media with Web Analytics, Part 2

linnell-nathan
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In part one, we tackled the question of how to measure social media referred visits that aren't directly attributed to your social media efforts using a Web analytics solution.

Now let's look at how to measure social media referred visits that can be directly attributed to your social media efforts, and how search should play into your analysis.

Add Campaign Tracking

Creating a segment for visits that are directly attributed to your efforts is fairly simple, but it takes some dedication to properly execute over time. To accurately track your direct efforts, you need to add campaign tracking to any URLs posted in the social media world that point back to one of your properties.

Everything that goes out on Twitter using URL shortening needs campaign tracking added to the destination URL before it gets shortened. The same is true for any links on Facebook, YouTube, forums, etc. It may seem a bit tedious at first, but once you get into the habit of adding the campaign tracking, it will become second nature, and the resulting data will make your efforts worthwhile.

After the campaign tracking is in place, you'll be able to show the direct impact that your social media efforts have on driving visitors to your site and also any subsequent conversions. The clarity and accuracy of the data, however, will only be as good as the efforts you put in, so it's vital that you're diligent about adding campaign tracking to every link that's put out in the social media world.

Create Two Segments of Social Media Referred Visitors

Because you're spending time adding campaign tracking, you'll want an easy way to analyze the impact you're having. Luckily, tracking your efforts in your Web analytics solution is pretty straightforward.

Simply create a segment that includes only social media referred visits that come to your site with the appropriate campaign tracking. To do this, you'll need to have a unique query parameter that's contained in all social media campaign tracked URLs and use it to create your segment.

The last piece is creating a segment that tracks the aggregate of the two segments that were just created. Doing this will give you the ability to track all social media referred visits to your site, as well as the ability to break it down by the two sub-segments.

Understand the Visibility Level of Key Social Media Sites

Social media is increasingly becoming an important medium that people turn to for information. But search isn't going away any time soon.

To begin understanding the visibility of a site, look at how Google views its authority. You can easily do this by looking at the PageRank for the various sites included in your list.

Also, looking at Compete, Alexa, or a similar site will also give you a sense of how many unique visitors each site receives. Sites with the highest visibility may not necessarily translate have the greatest impact on your brand, however. Balance the visibility of a site with the quality of the conversations taking place there, as well as the quality of the traffic that's being referred to your site.

Combining the third party data with your Web analytics data will help you better evaluate social media data and discover new opportunities. Going through a process like this will help you focus your efforts on sites that will have the highest impact, and allow you to measure the impact of your efforts.


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