Google analytics is a great tool for explaining ROI to clients

How to Explain Social Media ROI with Google Analytics

You’ve been through it. It’s not just your mom and dad who have no idea what you do. Your clients are completely confused about what you do all day and how it converts into ROI for their business. This is dangerous and usually the number one reason for customer churn. Sure they think that social media is helpful in driving traffic to their website and to building their brand, but they don’t realize just how much of an effect social media actually has on their biz. If you plan to keep your job or your clients, then you need to learn how to explain social media ROI and just how much social media can do towards their ROI. Because without this skill, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be going through clients faster than you’d like.

How to Explain Social Media ROI

How Google analytics helps you explain your social media roi

Businesses are getting savvier. They now understand that having a huge follower base means nothing if it is not targeted. They’re also now going beyond these vanity metrics (like number Facebook fans), to more serious metrics (traffic driven to a site by Facebook). The really smart businesses will ask you how they $2,000 they’re paying you is getting them a 3x on investment. You need to be ready to answer this or to be let go. There is nothing worse than losing a client because they are not profitable when you’re sending them tons of web traffic and potential conversions. If you become a master of Google Analytics, you can foresee when there is an issue and write your client when, for example, you’re driving hundreds of views to their website, but the audience is bouncing back because of an SSL certificate issue; or when they bounce out at the shopping cart because their shipping is too damn high. And yes…I know you’re a community manager, and that this is not a part of your services, but if you want to keep your clients, you need to be armed and ready with these answers (or better yet, prevent these issues from happening). Besides, when it is time to re-up your contract, you’ll be able to quantify exactly how much return on investment you’ve brought in. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of how to explain your Social Media ROI using Google Analytics.


Google Analytics should become your best friend. This is the most trustworthy analytics system and gives you all sorts of information. But, before you get started with Google analytics, you need to take care of a few things. Basically, you can’t measure your performance unless you have goals, a plan, etc…let’s discuss the things you need to get started to measure Social Media ROI

1. Set Goals

Setting up goals on Google Analytics

You can’t measure what you don’t expect. The goals that you set need to fit into your holistic  marketing plan. It is a good rule of thumb to keep your goals SMART (Specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and timely). A goal of increasing sales by 200% is not a SMART goal. A smart social media goal would be something like increasing the click thru to your reservation page from Instagram by 15% MOM, or increasing the “click to call” on Facebook by 10% the next quarter. These are quite specific, they are easily measurable, hopefully they are agreed upon, and they are absolutely realistic and timely. Let me walk you through setting up your goals on Google Analytics:

  • Make sure you’re signed into Google Analytics
  • Go to Admin, choose the site you want to set a goal
  • Make sure the site is selected under property
  • From the View Column, click “Goals”
  • Click “New Goal”. From here you have three choices: Goal template (easiest), Custom Goals, Smart Goals

2. Set up Your Analytics Code

Now that you have your SMART goals, you need to be able to track them.  This is super easy. Google Analytics will give you two ways to do so:


This is a great way to track your ROI.  With this feature, you’ll be able to add tags including AdWords Conversion Tracking, remarketing tags and more.

  • Google Analytics Tracking Code

The second way to get all the benefits of Google Analytics is to add the code on your website. This is done by adding a snippet of HTLM code to your site. These are the steps you need to follow:

  • Sign into Google Analytics
  • Click “admin”
  • Go to Account > Property
  • Choose the website you need a code for. This is a unique code. Only use it on one site.
  • Go to Tracking Info > Tracking code
  • Copy the snippet of code: Starts with <script> ends with </script>
  • Paste the code into all pages that you want to track with </head> at the end.

Set Up Your Goals

Now that you’ve set up your analytics, you need to set up your goals. Pageviews are fine, but if they don’t convert, then your job is at risk. The more you can prove your Social Media ROI, the longer you will be employed or keep your contract. You need to concern yourself with signups, leads, actual conversions. Your goals should revolve around these. If you can prove all this, you’re in the clear.

Google Analytics Reports

Google Analytics provides easy to understand Social Media reports

Google Analytics gives you 6 different types of reports to choose from. To get to them, go to Reporting tab > Acquisition > Social.

1. Overview

This is the simplest measurement. It tells you how many conversions are brought in from social media sites.

2. Network Referrals

This gives you the measurements for traffic coming in from social networks. Spend some time to see where you’re getting the most traffic & the best quality traffic. These are the social networks you probably need to concentrate on.

4. Landing Pages 

This lets you drill down even deeper into individual URLs. Each URL shows the social network that it got traffic from.

5. Conversions

This is where stuff gets juicy and where you can really measure your Social Media ROI. This report shows the actual monetary conversions that happened due to traffic from each social network.

6. Plugins

Great way to see if those share buttons you’ve added to your site are actually getting clicks, and which content is driving those clicks. From here, you will be able to see what articles are most shared and what social networks they are being shared to.

7. Users flow

This lets you see how your users traverse your site once they have arrived from social media. Use this to analyze if there is a page that is not converting. If people are landing from social media and bouncing out without seeing other pages, then this means that something on that page is turning them off and preventing the ROI from happening.

How to Translate this Data to Understandable Information

Now it is time for you to digest this data so that your boss or client can understand it. You need to start by recapping the goals and initiatives of your plan. Anything you put in this report needs to refer back to this. A few things you may want to include in your report:

  • Social Media traffic to website by social network
  • % of traffic driven to the website via social Media as opposed to Organic/Paid
  • Pages that converted best
  • Pages that converted worst
  • Things you can do better next quarter
  • Revised goals
  • Calls to Action to your client – what they can do to help your traffic conversions become sales conversions.

Other quick and easy ways to Measure Social Media ROI with Google Analytics

Social Media Traffic Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels

Measure web referrals from social media on Google Analytics

This will give you a quick view into where you are getting the most website traffic from. From here, if you click on “Social”, you can see what websites are sending you the most amount of traffic. You can also see how many pages they look at, how many views are new people, how many people bounce (one page view), and how long they are on your site. This is a quick and easy way to prove the worth of your social media efforts.

Social Media Management Tool


In order to make your life a little easier, you should use a standard social media reporting on a monthly basis like that provided from Socialdraft. Then, every quarter, do a deep dive into Google Analytics and schedule a meeting with your client so you can explain your social media ROI and efforts in depth. Explain what you are doing well, what hurdles you are running into, and how the client can help you to achieve better results.

However, you can save yourself a lot of time by using a social media management tool like Socialdraft.

Socialdraft is an all-in-one Social Media Dashboard. It is the most robust and simple tool for agencies and teams to effectively handle social media. With Socialdraft you can:

Schedule posts to Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn Business Pages and Pinterest Boards
Schedule posts individually, as recurring posts, or bulk upload them as CSV
Easily re-schedule with a drag & drop action
Schedule GIFs to Facebook and Twitter
Download content calendars as PDF
Find content on Instagram and easily schedule reposts not just to Instagram but to all other social networks
Engage on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin
Download Facebook and Twitter reports
and tons more…
If you are curious about Socialdraft, take it for a risk-free trial. You’ll get to try out all the features and decide if Socialdraft is right for you.