Measuring Social Media with Web Analytics, Part 1

Social media is increasingly becoming a measurable medium. However, many companies have yet to develop a social media measurement strategy, or they’re struggling to get theirs properly implemented. This doesn’t need to be the case, but unfortunately many companies aren’t aware of the options that are available to monitor, measure, and track social media.

The required tools that need to be deployed will vary depending on the type of social media being leveraged, so a careful assessment of the available tools is a critical step to take before implementing a social media campaign.

We won’t go into every available tool here; instead, we’ll focus on your Web analytics solution, and how you can use it to segment useful social media data that can help you measure your campaigns and find high quality social media sites that you can try to leverage as part of a future social media campaign.

As with most social media activity, the majority of interactions occur off your site, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t analyze your site’s social media referred visitor segment. To get the most value out of your analysis, you should break the segment into two sub-segments:

  1. Social media referred visits that are attributed to your efforts.
  2. Social media referred visits that are attributed to individuals outside your company.

To create the sub-segment for the visits attributed to individuals outside your company, you first need to create a list of key social media sites.

Look at Your Top Referring Sites

Find out which social media sites already drive traffic to your site. After you compile this list, augment it with other key social media sites.

To determine which additional social media sites should be added to your list, poll your colleagues to determine which social media sources your company is currently using or planning to engage in. These would be obvious sites to add.

Turn to a Social Media Monitoring Tool

While they all have flaws, social media monitoring tools are great starting points for gaining a better understanding of your brand within the social media space. A few searches will bring you to a plethora of free and paid tools to choose from.

Running a scan on your company or product name will bring back the location of where your company or product is being talked about. All the paid tools (and some of the free ones) will also provide you with a list of the top sources. These sources can then be added to your list of key social media sites.

Consider Adding Major Social Media Sites to Your List

While some social media sites may not be on your radar, they could pop up at any time as a referral source of traffic to your site.

Now that you have your list of key social media sites, you simply need to create a segment in your Web analytics solution that looks solely at those sites. This will then allow for easy analysis on social media referred visits that aren’t directly attributed to your social media efforts.

In part two, we’ll look at tracking social media referred visits that can be directly attributed to your social media efforts, as well as how search should play into your analysis.

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