May 27, 2013 10:49:00 AM

Monetizing Social Media using Google Analytics

Posted by Matthew Campion

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The social network has become a force to reckon with in building marketing communities, brand management and lead generation, and this precipitated by the ever increasing fact that each business that has an objective for growth needs a social presence. In fact, according to Social Media Times, over 90% of their surveyed small and medium businesses have a social presence.

Justifying the Investment

The reason why companies are establishing their social presence could be because there are more devices connected to the Internet than the total human population on earth, according to Media Bistro, a division of Web Media Brand Inc. Media Bistro  follows up to confirm that every seventh minute of Internet usage is spent on Facebook. That accounts for a total of 14% of all Internet related activities.  eMarketer predicted a 20% market presence in social networks by 2011. It is with certainty that the current percentage has grown.

These facts support the reason why each business needs to establish their brand on the social networking sites for:

  • Brand management

  • Inbound marketing and lead/revenue generation

  • Customer support

The question in each marketer’s mind is how to measure the value of investing in establishing a social media presence. Measuring one's efforts is a way of determining the Return on Investment (ROI) for every venture, and is often a justification for most budget allocations. With the power of Google Analytics, social marketing is achieving new heights in establishing ROI.

How Social Analytics Work

Google Analytics is a tool that has increasing become more and more popular for digital marketers since its release. It’s been used to measure the flow and quality of traffic on a company's web pages;  determining the cause for each visitor, the originating demographics and their browsing behavior on the company's website pages.

Previously, traffic from social networking sites could be lost within the other data, but with recent upgrades by Google Analytics, social networking metrics have been ingrained in the traffic generation measure, allowing marketers to measure several attributes such as:

  • The specific social networking site link that referred the visit

  • The value and quality of each visitor

While it’s important to analyze social traffic metrics in Google Analytics, marketers must also focus on the value of each visit, as well as the quality. Depending on the type of website and goal of a website, value can be tracked by implementing ecommerce tracking or setting up a lead generation goal and taking advantage of the optional goal value field to input a dollar amount for each goal completion, just to name a few examples. The quality of a social visit may not necessarily have a dollar amount associated with it. The quality can be measured through different engagement metrics, such as average time on site and page, bounce rate or pages per visit. The true value of social marketing may not even be obvious from an individual’s first visit. The person may not convert on his or her first visit via a social referral, but by building that brand awareness through social, visitors may eventually come back to the site directly or through branded search (paid and organic). If the individuals convert on these visits, part of the revenue from the conversion should be attributed to social marketing, when analyzing the multi-channel funnel reports and calculating the ROI of each marketing effort.

Social Marketing Analytics is a Professional Product

Basic social tracking could be setup fairly easy through Google Analytics. Great care should be taken in aligning the setup with the company's priorities, goals and targets, which would help determine the value of the social traffic, and the most successful campaigns on the social network platforms.

It would be fair to mention that implementing a successful setup and integration could be a more complex process, depending on how advanced and in-depth the tracking needs to be (ex: adding tracking on the actual social sharing buttons within your web pages). Once all tracking has been set up both on the site and off the site, a social networking manager would be able to determine not only the value of all social visitors, but the value of each individual campaign and link on each specific social network.

Unlock the ROI of Your Marketing with Analytics

Topics: Website Analytics, Social Media Marketing

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