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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 can be a lot easier to succeed at business today thanks to the power of advanced analytics. In fact, analytics are the key to success in business. If you are not measuring your performance and comparing it to your tactics and business goals, you are probably going to end up with a failing business.  Luckily, the Internet makes it easier than ever before to measure results and modify on-the-fly without a major investment.

At the same time, if you’ve never delved into this, you may not know how to get started on analytics. You may not be quite sure of how to make heads or tails of the information that you are able to pull from the analytics tools you’ve set up in the first place.

Hopefully we are going to be able to give you a little bit of an edge and advantage in this department. Analytics are important for business success today – maybe the most important factor – and you’ll gain an almost immediate advantage the second that you start taking advantage of the tools and tracking options available out there.

You’re looking to figure out how to get started on analytics, we’ve got a quick guide that’s perfect for you!

Outline your goals in advance

Sample excel for measuring your social media performance

It’s going to be absolutely impossible for you to take advantage of anything that analytics has to offer without first outlining your specific goals, your specific target milestones, and the overall strategic push that you are interested in in the first place.

A lot of businesses really have a time succeeding today because they do not build goals into their day to day operations.

But unless you’re able to track and measure your progress you’re never going to know whether or not you’re doing the very best you can or absolutely flopping until it is too late.

With your goals outlined, you’ll be able to plug those details into a much every analytics tool out there when you figure out how to set up your analytics – and from there tracking becomes almost effortless.

Your goals need to be very specific. I want to make sales is not a goal. Your goals should look like this:

  • Increase sales 30% over last year
  • Increase TAT score by 15%
  • Increase Click thru to website by 5% from Facebook
  • Increase targeted Twitter followers by 900 per month

This means that you need to measure last year’s performance in order to accurately plan your social media strategy and analytics. Create spreadsheets and update them on a monthly basis.

Take advantage of advanced metrics and tracking

At first you may feel that you are a little bit overwhelmed by all of the different advanced metrics and tracking options available out there, but don’t worry – everyone else that gets started with analytics feels the exact same way!

The important thing to realize is that you now have a lot more control over your business than you ever would have had before. You’re going to be able to really analyze every single part of your business, and will be able to streamline and systemize things that could use a little bit of improvement and push resources into those areas that are already crushing it.

Resources you can use for advanced metrics:

Google Analytics: The link here is to Google Analytic’s own school. Once you’ve gone through their basic training and set up your analytics account, you will be able to get statistics and basic analytics that you can use towards improving your search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing purposes. It is a freemium model, so until you become a whiz, you can use it for free and get a lot of benefits from it.

StatCounter: It is another freemium service that works of a code that you add to your website. It gathers anonymous information on your website visitors in almost real time. It is a great alternative to Google Analytics – and albeit not as robust, can be a great option for those looking to get started in their analytics journey.

Why do we start off with these two analytics methods that seem so SEO based? Because you will need to measure the traffic that your social media posts are driving to your website. Unless your only goal is brand awareness (it usually rarely is), you will want to measure just how much traffic social media is sending your way. You will also want to measure which networks work best for you so that you can concentrate your efforts there, so one of the two above should absolutely be a part of your analytics arsenal.

With advanced metrics you’ll be able to know:

  • Exactly what social network customers are coming from and where they are going
  • Whether or not your marketing and advertising campaigns are working and why they may or may not be
  • Exactly how much each prospect is worth to you and how much each customer spends over their customer lifetime

… And that’s only the tip of the iceberg!

With advanced metrics, you are going to get an almost unfair advantage over your competition – especially if you figure out how to get started on analytics before others in your market wise up to the power that these numbers have to offer.

Resources you can use for light metrics:


Bitly: Bitly is a URL shortener that gives some awesome analytics. Bitly lets you visualize the traffic to your link as well as that of others that are going to the same content. It gives you stats per hour, day, week or month such as  total clicks, total clicks on all bitly links to that same content, and the percentage of the total clicks that came from your bitly link. It also tells you what social networks are driving traffic to your link (this is my favorite stat from the service), and where your clicks are coming from. It’s very easy to understand. We’re big fans and have a bitly partnership so you can use your branded bitly on Socialdraft.

Klout: This site measures your social influence. It is easily gamed, so don’t use Klout as the be all of analytics. We recommend you use this as a quick tool to measure the health of your account. If your Klout drops, then you need to dig into deeper analytics to figure out what is going wrong.  Check out your Klout weekly just to make sure you’re on the right path.

Socialdraft: Use socialdraft to measure your follower growth, analyze your demographics (gender, age, and geo-location). Take look at your Facebook engagement, is it increasing or dropping? All of this is outlined in Socialdraft’s reports. They can be downloaded as PDF’s so you can send them to clients and collaborators. These are some of the many things that Socialdraft reports offer you:

Facebook Report Details

  • Total likes, new likes, dislikes
  • Page top views
  • Page impressions
  • Gender impressions
  • Page views per day
  • Post reach per day
  • Impression demographics: age and gender
  • Location: top countries and top cities

Facebook Report Details

  • Followers, listed, favorites
  • Daily Interactions
  • Audience demographics: age and gender

Adjust on-the-fly

It is absolutely mission critical for you to take advantage of the analytics information that you are pulling from every and any tool available as soon as possible, and the Internet makes that a lot easier than it ever was before.

You’ll be able to adjust your marketing, your advertising, and pretty much every other component of your business on-the-fly, looking for new ways to improve your systems and operations to build the most profit into the back end. For example, you may see that Facebook is driving 4% of your website traffic, while Pinterest is driving 15%. This means that you need to focus your marketing efforts on Pinterest, an do a deep dive into Facebook to see why your marketing efforts there are not working as well. It could be anything from demographics, messaging, etc…but you will never know unless you measure results.

Seriously, this is like having a crystal ball for your business and makes your operation a lot more predictable. If you’ve ever thought about selling your business or are looking to cash out later on, this kind of information is going to be invaluable.

Always look for new elements to test

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that you are always looking for new elements to test, new combinations to try, and new approaches to “steal” from other industries.

Testing is the name of the game, and when you’re able to optimize your operation, you’re going to be able to leap forward far beyond your competitors without any real effort at all. This is all possible by figuring out how to set up your analytics ASAP!

PS – don’t forget to create awesome Social Media reports. Click here for our advanced reporting how to.