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Tracking links posted to social networks in Google Analytics is pretty simple and standard, but we still hear clients asking how to do it. So we thought we would do a small refresher.

Watch our video on how to track social campaigns!

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social network logosAny current digital marketing plan should include social marketing. With smartphones, everyone has instant anytime access to social networks, and they’re listening to their friends talk about your brand. Word-of-mouth marketing is more likely to convert by 4 times and also has the ability to go viral, which can exponentially increase brand awareness as well as generate leads. And for the most part, Social Marketing is free, if done right.

  • But how do you track how well your social networks are doing?
  • If you are spending ads to promote your posts, how do you track if visitors are clicking on your links and converting?
  • What are social visitors doing on your website?
  • Which social network is the most effective?

Google Analytics helps you slice and dice your traffic to answer these questions, if only you could somehow filter your data for these social networks.

You can!

Here are 3 easy steps:

Step 1) Create Google Analytics campaigns for each of your social networks.

There are 3 utms you will need to pass to Google Analytics to create a campaign (for each network). This will allow you to segment the data for these campaigns based on this criteria. (For more information on Url Tagging, see our past post).

  • utm_campaign
  • utm_medium
  • utm_source

Let’s say you were promoting a blog post. Here’s what we would define the utm parameters as…

  • ?utm_campaign=blog
  • ?utm_medium=social
  • ?utm_source=facebook

For “campaign”, you will need to name it based on your campaign, so for a blog post, we named it “blog”. You can see for “medium” we put “social” since that’s where it’s coming from (vs email, organic search, referral site, etc), and for “source” we put the name of the social network.

Step 2) Pass the utm parameters to the url you want to promote, then post the corresponding url to each social network.

To create the utm tagged urls, here are some tools we use:

Once your urls are tagged properly (and preferrably shortened), post each corresponding url (with its corresponding source) to your social networks. When people see it and click on it in their feed, the url they visit will be tagged.



Step 3) Segment your reports for these campaigns and slice and dice your data!

Now that you’ve passed these utms, you can segment your Google Analytics reports based on these filters.
First thing I like to do is segment for just the campaign. So I set up a custom advanced segment for that. In our case, we named it “blog”.


Now Google Analytics will only show data for links that you’ve tagged with this specific campaign.

Then, we can go into the advanced filter of any report, and filter for where the “medium” = “social”


And now you can see data based on just your social posting! Look for a particular day where you blasted the that post, see what social network gave you the most traffic, which visitors triggered events and goals, etc.!


You can now more accurately attribute ROI, so you can do it again, again, and again!