Segmenting social media campaigns with Google Analytics

April 18, 20103 Comments
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In our previous post on monitoring social media with Google Analytics, we talked about adding tracking parameters to your URL’s, setting conversion goals and thinking more about how your URL’s are used within various social media platforms. All of these things facilitate better data collection, but how do you make sense of the data you already have?

Segmentation

If you aren’t segmenting your existing analytics data, you aren’t really understanding it fully. For example, you may find that  repeat visitors behave entirely different to first time visitors. Or that blog traffic stay longer than your main site. etc etc. This collection of segmentation reports may help you to understand your social media efforts and indeed your overall site traffic that bit more.

Repeat visits

Often repeat visitors stick around for longer, and are more engaged with your content – although this varies from site to site. Whilst it isn’t really applicable to social media, it is a very basic segmentation report, which is already setup for you in G.A. Just select and apply it to your data to see what you can learn.

Do they spend longer than first time visitors? Is the bounce rate lower?

Twitter profile visits

These are the visitors we mentioned earlier that click through from your Twitter user profile. Now that you are passing the campaign name through to Google, you’ll be able to segment this traffic easily.

1) Select Create Advanced Segment

2) Under ‘Dimensions’ select and dropdown ‘Traffic sources’.

3) Drag ‘Campaign’ to the right, select condition ‘Matches Exactly’ then select the campaign. In my particular example, I’m matching ‘ProfileURL’  (which is the campaign tag on my Twitter profile – see the previous post in this series to see how to set that up).

4) Name the segment ‘Twitter profile visits’ and create and apply to report

From this segment, you’ll be able to work out if folks who click are likely determining if you are a worthy follow react to your content.

Twitter shared links visits

These visitors come in from the links that you personally share with others on the Twitter network, assuming you are using a custom link shortener URL.

If you are using Bit.ly, or other link shortener, you can simply add campaign tagging to the end of the link you choose to share before it gets shortened, and then track in the same way as Twitter profile visits.

1) Select Create Advanced Segment

2) Under ‘Dimensions’ select and dropdown ‘Traffic sources’.

3) Drag ‘Sources’ to the right, select condition ‘Contains’ then select the URL for your custom link shortener.

4) Name the segement ‘Twitter shared links’ and create and apply the report.

You’ll now be able see how the visitors whom you share your twitter links with react with your site content. Note. It makes sense to keep this URL semi private so that only you can create links from it, that way you’ll know the traffic is a result of your own actions directly.

Twitter links shared by others

Assuming you are using your own URL shortener, and you and only you have access to it, you’ll be able to see traffic from Twitter folk who randomly share your content. Here’s how

1) Select Create Advanced Segment

2) Under ‘Dimensions’ select and dropdown ‘Traffic sources’

3) Drag ‘Sources’ to the right, select condition ‘Does Not Contain’ then select ‘YourURLShortener.com’

4) Under “AND” add another Dimension of ‘Campaign’ then choose ‘Does not match exactly’ = ‘ProfileURL’

5) Under “AND” add another Dimension of ‘Sources’ select condition ‘Contains’ then select ‘Twitter.com’

Basically what I’m doing here is excluding URL shortened traffic, and profile link traffic from Twitter. This will let you see referrals from other twitter profiles.

General Social Media Links

You may find thats its interesting to segment short links more generally that get used from within Twitter, Facebook and indeed on desktop platforms such as Seesmic or Mobile devices such as the iPhone. In any case shortened links denote one thing: sharing.  It can be very interesting to see what content lends itself to this medium. Here’s how to segment it.

1) Select Create Advanced Segment

2) Under ‘Dimensions’ select and dropdown ‘Traffic sources’

3) Drag ‘Sources’ to the right, select condition ‘Contains’ then select ‘bit.ly’

4) Under “AND” add another Dimension of ‘Sources’ select condition ‘Contains’ then select ‘ow.ly’

Repeat steps 3 & 4 for the following well known URL shorteners.

You can add as many of these as you like, then save the report as “Social Media Links”.  Now you’ll be able to quickly see if a piece of content performed well generally within social media, without needing to know exactly which platform it was shared on. Used in conjunction with some of the segments I mentioned early, you’ll be able to see what percentage of URL shortening happens on different platforms.

Conversion tracking

Segmenting visits with conversions is pretty easy to setup, and if you’ve done the hard work earlier, you can simply ask Google to segment the visitors on your site who converted.

Under Default Segments select ‘Visits with Conversions’. Once this is sorted, things you’ll be look out for when you’ve segmented this traffic will be mostly three things when browsing through the data.

1) The Top referring URL. -  This will allow you to see the website which sent you the most traffic that converted.

2) The Top referring Organic Keyword – This will allow you to see the keyword which resulted in the most conversions.

3) The Top Adwords campaign Paid Keyword – This will allow you to see the keyword which is generating the most conversions from a PPC campaign.

All these bits of data are actionable. If a certain site is sending you good traffic that converts, then you may want to consider advertising on that site.  Likewise if you find the top referring URL ends up being a particular social media platform, well you’ve just justified the time spent.

If a particular organic keyword is converting well, you may want to improve its position in the SERPs if you aren’t at number one. If a particular paid keyword is converting well, you might want to increase your spend. Obviously brand recognition shouldn’t be ignored either, and I’ve shown how to segment that report before in the past.

Visitors who view a particular page

Segmenting individual pages can be useful in understanding  what keywords and referring sites visit certain pieces of content. You can of course obtain this information on a referrer by referrer basis (click on referring URL, then select the landing page dropdown). See below:

This is a pain in the rear to view quickly, especially if one piece of content on your site is linked to in multiple places. Segmenting individual pages quickly groups the keywords and URL’s which provide traffic to it. Here’s how to set it up.

1) Select Create Advanced Segment

2) Under ‘Dimensions’ select and dropdown ‘Traffic sources’

3) Drag ‘Page Title’ to the right, select condition ‘Matches Exactly’ then select the page you want to look at.

Overview

Segmenting visitors overall can give some fascinating insight into how different your visitors really are, and in some cases highlight the ones you are catering for and the ones who perhaps need some work. What segmentations reports have you guys used to understand your visitors better?

This is part 2 of a 3 part series on social media campaigns. My next post will deal with a couple of tools you can use to supplement data you can get directly from Google Analytics. Subscribe so you don’t miss the next one.

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About the Author ()

Paul is a regular 30 year old web bloke / programmer with a penchant for online marketing. This blog is a personal outlet, with an eclectic mix of articles.

Comments (3)

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  1. Fred says:

    Great job done on tis post, also was very helpful,

    Thanks for sharing

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