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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.


It is mission critical that you take advantage of advanced metrics and analytics to measure your social media marketing efforts (and all of your other marketing efforts, for that matter) – but it’s incredibly easy to become overwhelmed by all of the data you have thrown at you.

This is why you’re going to want to quickly learn how to use Google Analytics for Social Media Managers, but learn how to use it intelligently – and efficiently – to give you both a big picture view of your social media marketing efforts as well as a more “ground-level” understanding of what you can do to improve your marketing efforts.

Here is just a little bit of information you’ll want to zero in on to help you make the most of Google Analytics & social media marketing!

1) Break down traffic by social media network

One of the most important things you are going to want to do when utilizing Google Analytics & social media marketing is to really strip out all of your traffic into its individual source components.

You are going to want to know how much traffic comes from Twitter, how much traffic comes from Facebook, how much traffic comes from Instagram, how much traffic comes from LinkedIn, and how much traffic comes from all of the other separate platforms that you have a presence on.

Then (and only then) will you know which of the social media platforms are worth really optimizing and which ones need to be more aggressively experimented with to turn them into legitimate traffic generation sources.

In order to find this information, go to Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals

2) Dissect and analyze traffic

Now that you know which social network is getting you the most traffic, you will want to compare overall social media to your other marketing efforts: email newsletter, paid traffic, organic search, and referrals. This will help you to understand what is working best, concentrate on that – AND  then go into the worst performing areas to figure out how to improve them.

For this information go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels

3) Conversion rates

It is always advantageous to send specific sources of traffic to specific and segmented landing pages, if only to better understand which sources of traffic are converting best and at which rates.

This is definitely something that people who learn how to use Google Analytics for social media marketing are going to be able to do, but it’s slightly more advanced – and it means creating multiple landing pages (or conversion codes) so that you really understand the impact that social media marketing is having on your overall bottom line.

After all, they are is absolutely no reason whatsoever to spend a ridiculous amount of time, money, or effort marketing on social media if it isn’t paying off when it comes to pure profit. These kinds of analytics and metrics will let you know!

4) Landing Pages

When you’re interested in knowing which landing pages are getting the most traffic from your social media platforms, Google Analytics can furnish you with a report to see which pages get shared most often. By accessing the links in this report you can get specifics on networks where content was shared.

5) UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes

A UTM code is a code attached to a custom URL to track a source or campaign. This allows Google Analytics to determine where people come from and what campaign directed them. After creating a URL for each campaign, you can redirect that URL whatever you assign to it, such as your main domain. This allows you to track the results of a specific ad campaign without a landing pages for each campaign.

6) Conversion Paths

Google’s report on Top Conversion Paths reveals unique conversion paths that led to conversions, as well as the number of conversions from each path, and the value of those conversions. This report will show you how multiple channels interact on your conversion paths. Look for duplicated patterns that reveal how to efficaciously market across channels.

7) Acquisition Overview

Find this report through Acquisition -> Overview. The Acquisition Overview report will explain how many people visited your site and where that they came from. Look to see what the search traffic metrics are. A good search traffic rating should be above 50 percent.

8) Bounce Rate

The Bounce Rate evaluates the percentage of visitors who landed on a webpage and left without visiting any other pages. In other words, when a visitor comes to your website, looked at one page, and then promptly left. Not to be confused with Exit Rate, where visitors come to your website, visit multiple pages, and then leave.

Facebook Insights provides information about your Page’s performance and includes demographic data about your audience. But if you would like to expand on the information Facebook Insights provides, such as Likes, Reach, Engagement, shares and comments, you could combine your Facebook Insights with Google Analytics.

By combining the two you can determine who is visiting your website, who has visited your landing page, and who wants more information. If a click through to your website is your measurement of success, then this is an absolute must.

Set Goals

The first step is to establish a set of Goals in Google Analytics. Your goals represent the objectives you want to achieve with those that visit your website, such as making a purchase or asking visitors to sign up on a mailing list.

After choosing an account on Google Analytics, click the Admin tab, and select Goals in the View column. On the next screen choose a goal, the type of page you want, then name your Goal, and select “Destination” as the the Type. After entering your landing page URL, verify the Goal and save it. Make sure to enter your Thank you or Confirmation page URL.


With a device known as Campaigns, you can track visitors based on specific links they have clicked to arrive at your website by using UTM parameters, which are tags you add to a URL. When someone clicks on a URL with UTM parameters, those tags are sent back to your Google Analytics for tracking. To create UTM parameters for your links, use the Google Analytics URL Builder.

By using different UTM parameters you can identify the source of your traffic, such as search engine, newsletter, or other referral, or identify the medium the link was used upon, such as an email. You can include the URL anywhere you want the resulting click to end up on your designated landing page so Google Analytics can identify and attribute the source.

To view your campaigns in Google Analytics, go to your website profile and click on Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns. Here you will see an overview of your campaigns as tagged using the UTM parameter on your links.

Custom campaign UTM parameters need to be precise so you don’t end up with multiple UTM sources in Google Analytics. Bear in mind that both UTM parameters and Campaigns are case sensitive, so be sure to maintain continuity to track and report accurately.

Google Segments

With Google Segments you can isolate and examine subsets of your data. You can isolate and analyze subsets of data so you can examine trends in your business. You may want to determine where people who visit your website are located geographically. For example, Google suggests that if you find that users from a particular geographic region are no longer purchasing a line of products in the same volume as they normally have, you can see whether a competing business is offering the same types of products at lower prices.

If true, you could offer a discount to those users that undercut your competitor’s prices. You can also create a Segment of users who visit specific product pages, and then target only those users with a remarketing campaign that is focused on new items you add to those pages.