A good social media strategy requires an appropriate use of analytics tools. Google Analytics provides an overview of social referrals but it doesn’t specify who actually clicks on the links that you posted.
Social networks, on the other hand, offer their own performance reports. But those insights do not include metrics like time on site, pageviews and bounce rate, to inform you how people have interacted with your site.
Enter Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters. These awesome little gap fillers can mend the relationship between Google Analytics and social insights. By adding a piece of UTM tracking code to your links, you will be able to gain an in depth view of how your content is performing on social, conduct A/B testing, as well as measure the e-commerce conversion rate for your site.
In this article, I will use ClickZ as an example to show you how to utilize Google URL Builder and analyze your social media campaigns via Google Analytics.
How to create URLs with UTM parameters
A UTM parameter is a tag added to the end of a URL. Once the URL is clicked, it will send data back to Google Analytics allowing you to track which elements of your online marketing strategy are the most effective.
To create a unique URL, you can go to Google URL builder and find the below form. Then you can fill out the required fields based on the goal of your campaign. For example, if you want to track regular tweets, you can put the following information:
In this case, you can grab the code after the question mark and add it to the end of every link you post on Twitter.
Please note that Campaign Term and Campaign Content are optional. Campaign Term is used for paid search to decide the keyword you bid on for a specific ad. For example, if you create an ad for the term “display advertising,” you can tag it as “utm_term=display_advertising.”
Campaign Content is used when you want to do A/B testing, comparing image 1 and image 2 for example.
UTM links are usually long so you can use a link shortener like Hootsuite and bitly to convert them. Meanwhile, you can create a spreadsheet to keep track of your UTM links so you don’t need to recreate them when you repost on social.
In doing so, you can also make sure you are using the same parameters for consistency and tracking.
How to see UTM links in Google Analytics
When you look for UTM parameters, you can go to Acquisition > Campaigns >All Campaigns and see a list of campaign names. On this page, you are able to know which campaign brings the most users to your site, bounce rate of each channel and conversion rate within the select time frame.
For example, Google Analytics could tell you that Twitter was more effective than newsletters over the past month because the social platform attracted more new users and its bounce rate was much lower than newsletters.
When you click on a specific campaign, “CZTWT” for example, you can dig into the secondary dimensions. If you search for “Page Title,” you can see the performance of a specific article.
Of course, your ad campaign can be much more complicated than “CZTWT” and you may want to set up an advanced segment to see all ads in one place per source. To create a segment, you can click on “Add Segment” from any view in Google Analytics and choose “New Segment.”
Then you can enter all the information from the UTM parameter you created. Once you save your segment, Google Analytics will let you view performance of that traffic, Twitter or Facebook for example, in any section that supports advanced segments.
Don’t forget other social analytics tools
UTM parameters are a powerful tool to track users across the Web. While you are utilizing UTM tracking, don’t forget to combine Google Analytics with insights provided by a specific social network and a third-party platform.
And back to my Twitter example, Google Analytics gives me lots of information, including the campaign’s bounce rate and how efficient Twitter is compared to other marketing channels. But when I look at data from Twitter itself and analytics platform BuzzSumo, I can get additional insights, including engagement rate, audience’s interests and the length of most shared articles, creating a well-rounded sense of overall engagement.
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