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Webucator's Free Introduction to Social Media Tutorial

Lesson: Google Analytics

Welcome to our free Introduction to Social Media tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Introduction to Social Media Training course.

The following lesson is based on using Google Analytics, a free web analytics tool. This powerful tool can help track your social media results with respect to driving traffic back to your web properties. If your company uses a different web analytics service, the same concepts below can be applied.

Lesson Goals

  • Learn about the benefits of Google Analytics.
  • Learn about setting up Google Analytics.
  • Learn about reading reports.

Benefits

The biggest benefit from integrating Google Analytics into your social media plan is that you can give credit to specific social media posts, and then determine which social media platforms to focus your time and resources on. Here are some specifics:

  1. For e-commerce websites, you will be able to track how many sales happened directly from visitors coming from social media sites.
  2. For all websites, you will be able to determine how much traffic is coming from each social media site.
  3. Through the practice of tagging your social media posts through the Google URL builder, you will be able to track sales, visits, and demographic information from social media visitors.
  4. With Google Analytics social reporting, you will be able to see which pages on your website have received the most social shares, an engagement measurement.

Reading Reports

Let's go through an overview of how Google Analytics works, the navigation of the platform, and the ways to read the analytics reports.

Getting Started with Google Analytics

Accessing Google Analytics

You can access the Google Analytics home page at the following web address: http://www.google.com/analytics.

You will need a Google username in order to use Google Analytics. If you already have a Gmail account, you can use your Gmail username. If you want to create a new Google username for the analytics service, you can do so by clicking the SIGN IN TO GOOGLE ANALYTICS link shown in the screenshot below, and then on the next screen, clicking Sign Up:

To access the Google Analytics service for the examples in this course, click the Access Analytics button and sign in.

Google Analytics Sign Up Page

After you log in with your credentials, you will see the Account Home page. This page acts as a home screen from where you can access different setup options.

You can return to the Home page at any time by selecting the Home tab in the upper-left corner. Account Home

Creating New Accounts under Google Analytics

In prior releases of Google Analytics, you could create 25 different accounts under a single Google username. For the current release, the concept of web properties has been introduced, allowing you to manage multiple websites from a single account.

To create a new account:

  1. Select the Admin link. The Account Administration page opens. Creating New Account Google Analytics Setting Page
  2. Click the ACCOUNT pull-down button and select Create new account. The Create New Account form loads.
  3. In the General Information section, provide the account name and website URL. Be sure to designate the appropriate country and time zone. Complete the Data Sharing Settings section and read and agree to the terms and conditions in the User Agreement section.
  4. After you complete the form, click Get Tracking ID at the bottom of the page.

Google Analytics Code Snippets

Introduction to Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC)

Google Analytics uses a JavaScript along with first party cookies to track the online activities on web pages.

In order to effectively track a visitor's behavior, it is recommended that you tag every page on the website with the Google Analytics tracking code.

Introduction to Reports in Google Analytics

Reports in Google Analytics convert raw data into presentable information. In addition, links and options within reports provide interactive segmentation which enables you to reorganize the data on the fly. There are two fundamental building blocks to any report in Google Analytics: metrics and dimensions.

Metrics and Dimensions in Google Analytics

Here is how the basic report structure works in Google Analytics:

A metric is defined as a numerical measure of the user interaction on your website. Metrics have the following characteristics:

  1. Metrics will always be expressed in the form of a number.
  2. Metrics are standalone entities. When you look at a metric in a standalone fashion it provides you with information about the site-wide performance.
  3. Metrics will form the columns of a report structure in Google Analytics.

Some of the common metrics you will find in Google Analytics are visits, pageviews, bounce rate, etc.

Dimensions, on the other hand, have the following characteristics:

  1. Dimensions are nonnumerical data fields.
  2. Unlike metrics, dimensions are not standalone entities, i.e., dimensions are not generally meaningful when viewed individually.
  3. Dimensions, when coupled with metrics, provide meaningful context to the data.
  4. Dimensions can be used to segment a metric.

The following example will help you understand the above concepts:

Metric Dimensions

Overview of Report Structure

Google Analytics provides six main report categories. The following table provides an overview of the available reports along with their definitions and significance.

Report Category Explanation
Intelligence Events These reports show custom and automatic reporting on intelligence events, which are analytics monitoring that can alert you when there are statistical variations in your website's traffic.
Real-Time These reports show interesting data based on Users that are currently on your website, in real-time.
Audience This group of reports highlights visitor information, both geographic and demographic. Ideally, you'll want to find out about visit quality, and these reports allow you to source this information.
Acquisition Reports in this category provide an overview of the different kinds of sources that send traffic to your site including natural (organic) and paid sources.
Behavior These reports provide information about your content including an overview of pageview volume and lists the pages viewed.
Conversions Reports in this category provide information about conversion rates and goal paths. (Important for non e-commerce sites). For e-commerce sites, this category also provides commerce tracking such as revenue generated and revenue sources (only available when enabled).

Subdimensions

Subdimensions are the main tool that will help you track your social media results. You can cross-segment your data within a default report by using different subdimensions.

Using the Secondary dimension drop-down menu, select Campaign as the dimension. Google Analytics will cross-segment the data and show all of the campaigns that have brought visitors to your website.

Consider the screenshot below. You will see some of the campaigns that brought traffic to the web property in a one-month span.

Cross Segmentation

Reminder: The campaign settings are set manually via the Google URL Builder.

Exploring the Social Reports

These reports show you how many website visitors are sharing your content through social media (e.g., liking one of your pages from the Facebook account, tweeting one of your latest stories, etc.). Please note: you do need to set up additional tracking code on your website to fully setup. See this link: http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/tracking/gaTrackingSocial.html.

Here are a few ways in which you can leverage this report:

  1. Using the Engagement report, you can see a simple, yet effective, report showing how many of your website visitors are "socially engaged" with your site.
  2. In the Action report, you can see see which social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) your website visitors are using most to share your content.
  3. In the Pages report you can see which web pages of yours are the most popular for website visitors to share with their social connections.

New Vs. Returning Report

In conclusion, Google Analytics offers great insight to your results with online marketing initiatives. The platform is very user friendly, but there is a need to spend some time looking through all the various options and determine what might be best for your individual company needs.