Google’s induction of “Google Search Plus Your World” has made B2B marketers everywhere feel compelled (and rightly so) to incorporate social media into their marketing. The question from the corner office often becomes “how do I measure my ROI from social media activity?”

Believe it or not, it can actually be done, and with Google Analytics. In this three-part series, we’ll be looking at three ways to do just that:

  • Campaign Tagging
  • Advanced Segments
  • Profile Filters

Campaign Tagging

Not strictly for social media, campaign tagging allows you to track the performance of individual campaigns. This is done by adding a code to your marketing URLs. This small piece of code tells Google Analytics when someone clicks on a link, even if the link is not on your website.

The tool used to generate this code is called URL builder. This tool is not easily found, as it is buried in Analytics help, but can be accessed either by using the link in this blog, or by doing a Google search for “URL builder” and finding the link.

While this URL builder is extremely useful for creating links for things like banner ads and email links, it is also useful in Social Media use to measure specific campaign performance, compare campaigns or social mediums, and to group campaigns together.

Your reporting on campaign tagging is found in the campaigns report, sorted by Medium.

Further information on campaign tagging can be found in Google’s Analytics Help . I also recommend a great blog post from Bit Cadet that goes into more detail about Campaign Tagging, and the meaning behind each of the facets of the query string.

Advanced Segments

Advanced segments allow you to view and compare reports for traffic from social channels.

What is an Advanced Segment?

Google Analytics allows us to segment our traffic by many different dimensions and metrics. Without segmentation our analysis is focused on unrecognizable blobs of traffic (Total Visits. Average Page Views Per Visitor. Overall Conversion Rate). Using this tool, we can can focus on groups of people and visitors in such categories as who is referred to us via Social Media. That helps us understand data & performance better.

How do you create an Advanced Segment? Rather than bore you with knowledge that is better explained by my peers, you can learn to build an Advanced Segment and create a Segmented Report in this blog post by my colleagues at SEO Moz.

The benefits of Advanced Segments can be broken down into three areas:
1. You can now segment your traffic by more meaningful metrics, such as engagement goals, traffic source, campaign, keywords, etc
2. You can compare engagement metrics against other traffic sources, especially social media to non-social media, thereby displaying the value of your social media pursuits
3. You can now easily break down the metrics to measure social traffic share

Once you’ve mastered the basic creation of Advanced Segments, you can try these tips and tricks:

  • Compare segment goals and conversion rates against other traffic
  • View visitor loyalty reports to measure the quality of social traffic
  • Focus on the social channels which drive the most traffic
  • Identify potential advertising opportunities by geography

Profile Filters

Traffic Filters let you to refine your social traffic data before it even reaches your reports. Filters change how Google Analytics gathers its data before it is even processed. This allows us to specify exactly what and how we see our reports.

A standard filter, for example, would be to exclude traffic to your site from your own IP, or the IP of your agencies, to monitor true visitor traffic to your site.

Likewise, for Social Media, you can create a filter for referrer traffic that excludes organic, direct, paid and other traffic. You can also create advanced filters to included specific social media mediums by campaign source.

The benefit of profile filters are multi-fold:
– Filters work in page view level and funnel view
– Filters are easy to share across accounts
– A new filter creates 20 new goals for your website, which should be utilized to help determine your visitor engagement level.

A word of warning: it is advisable to create a profile with no filters befor adding filters to a new profile, as there is no way to retrieve the filtered data after the filter has been put in place. For our clients, we create a standard “no filters” profile, allowing us to do testing on various aspects of the site, without skewing the results in your filtered profile.