How to track links shared on Social Media

Link TrackingWhen you share out a link on social media channels and get traffic back to your website what traffic comes to your site from that specific link?

Link Tracking allows you track any links shared out on social media.

In Google analytics you can see if traffic has come from different social media channels but you can’t track if it’s from a specific link so you don’t know what that traffic is related to.

But we’ve got a couple of options that we have been investigating!

Business Objective of this Link Tracking article

By knowing what traffic is generated for a specific link we know how popular this link is and which channel is most effective for the type of links you share.

1. Find Influencers sharing your link with Tweeterspy

The founders of Markerly (Micro content sharing tool) have developed a separate tool called Tweeterspy.  You add two lines of code to your website and when someone goes to your website and shares out a link on twitter you can find out how many times someone clicked on that link.

This is really useful as you can find out who is the most influential user sharing your content.  If you know that a particular user gets a lot more clicks for the content shared this is someone that you should build a relationship with.

In the example below my friend Shelly Kramer was the most influential user!

 

tweeterspy

The list shows how many people clicked on links in twitter that people shared

 

You can test it out using a trial and then it’s $4.99 per month after this.  It’s currently limited to twitter only so it would be great if this functionality gets expanded. It would also be cool if you could aggregate information across each of the social platforms and identify key influential users over a period of time.

 

2.  Use Google URL Builder

Google provides a free facility for generating unique web addresses.  This is the form you need to complete:

 

Google URL Builder

Configuring the Google URL Builder

 

Here is an explanation of the fields:

Website URL – The website address of the link you want to track

Campaign Source – Where are you going to put the link (e.g. twitter)

Campaign Medium – What is this link related to, is it for a CPC (cost per click) campaign?  In our case there is not advertising it’s just a link on social media so we’re going to enter ‘social’.

Campaign term – If this is related to an advertisement enter the keywords you are setting up this ad for.

Campaign content – Optional tag if you want to identify something within the content.  For example, you have multiple ads leading to the  same name.  This will allow you to see which ad is generating the traffic.

Campaign name  –  Give the campaign an unique name.

If you are running advertisements and you link your Google adwords and Google analytics account then Google will automatically tag your advertising campaigns.

 

3.  Use Oktopost integration with Bit.ly and Google analytics

Oktopost is a social media management tool.  There are some great features as part of the tool and one of them is integration with Google analytics.  It adds tracking codes automatically onto links shared so that you can automatically track within Google analytics or Oktopost to find out where you are generating traffic from links shared.

 

Oktopost Google Analytics

Oktopost automatically adds tracking to links shared so you can see the source of traffic in Google analytics

 

4.  Track Links with SqueezeCMM

SqueezeCMM is a tool purpose built to track links and is currently in beta.  When you want to track a link across social media you specify your web address to be squeezed and the channels you want to use and then custom web addresses are created for each channel.

 

SqueezeCMM Configuration

Create custom links for each social media channel

 

When you share using these web addresses SqueezeCMM starts to track where traffic comes from.

 

Squeeze CMM

You can see which channel is getting the most shares

 

This is still in beta so it’s bound to have some bugs and some functionality that has not been fully developed.  Unfortunately I have found the data above not to be correct.  When I created a link for twitter and shared it out it showed that 11 people came to my site as a result of this link.  However, Google analytics showed that these 11 visits from social media channels were from a collection of other posts.

 

SqueezeCMM Social media traffic

This shows traffic that was generated through social media to the site

 

There were actually only 2 visits generated

SqueezeCMM has good potential as a tool so we’ll be tracking it to see when it comes out of beta.

 

5.  Using Bit.ly

If you shorten your web addresses using tools such as Bit.ly they have some tracking available that you can check out.

 

This shows where your bit.ly links were shared

This shows where your bit.ly links were shared

 

Bit.ly also shows who shared out the content using the bit.ly links.  In this example there was 40 clicks on the links but only 2 people that shared out the links.  In total the link was shared 11 times to generate the 40 links.

You can see that I shared this link out 7 times which was probably to different social media channels.

 

Bitly who shared

This shows you shared out the bit.ly link and how many times they shared it out

6.  Clickmeter

Clickmeter is quite a comprehensive tool for link tracking and has some very high profile customers listed (Mashable, Cisco, Lacoste etc).  It’s free to use for up to 1,000 links shared per month and then pricing starts at $34 per month.

When you set up a link to be shortened you can specify a custom name (e.g. company name) to be included as part of the link which is cool (i.e. in the third field I specified ‘Razorsocial’ so the link generated was http://9nl.it/razorsocial/)

 

click meter

When you create a link you can include a custom name that will be part of the link

 

The report generated was as follows.  You can see on the right hand side you can filter out the data also:

 

clickmeter

Detailed breakdown of stats is availalbe

7.  Use Owl.ly with Hoosuite

When you shorten any links shared using Hootsuite it automatically tracks the activity on these links.  It provides details such as the links that get the most links, what countries are the clicks coming from.

 

Hootsuite URL shortener

Hootsuite automatically tracks any links shared using their own url shortener

 

This functionality is available in the analytics section of Hootsuite (left hand menu)

 

Summary

When you share out traffic through social media it’s very useful to track where the most activity is generated from.  There doesn’t appear to be a perfect solution but some of the above are worth using.  Which ones do you find effective?  How do you track links?

photo credit: josef.stuefer via photopin cc

  • Alessandra Malvermi

    Thanks Ian. Very enlightening article.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you Alessandra

  • venkyiyer58

    Can any other link shortening service (other than owl.ly) be used with Hootsuite?

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      You can use another one but Hootsuite won’t track clicks etc. Ian

  • Jennifer Agrazada-Schreiner

    Oh my! I have been a Hootsuite Premium user for months but using the URL shortener has never occurred to me. Thanks for this one!

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Great, glad to help!

  • http://www.orangemarketing.de Ali Mostofian

    Hi Ian, I’ve found this lightweight tool for a quick check of shares through the main social media sites. Just wanted to let you know about that. And the best is, that there is no registration needed for it: http://howmanyshares.com/

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Ali, sometimes simple is best! I appreciate you sharing. Ian

      • http://alimostofian.com/ Ali Mostofian

        Welcome :-)

  • http://www.orlandoescape.com Sunil Govind

    Question can anyone help me with this request. Thanks in advance.
    I have a client that I normally share their website links on my social media channels. Is there a software out there that can help me to track the progress per client. Example client A , B and C . Your suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

  • https://twitter.com/Savin1987 Peter Savin

    Clickmeter is a good find. However, I didn’t think that Google URL Builder will work with anything but your own site which has a Google counter installed. Was I wrong? Will it work with a random link? Tell me your opinion.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      You can use Google URL builder for any link but you’ll need access to analytics to get any value from it.

      • https://twitter.com/Savin1987 Peter Savin

        So, you can’t use it with third party websites that you are not already tracking in analytics. Is that correct? Thanks.

        • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

          You need to use your analytics to view any links that are shared!

          • https://twitter.com/Savin1987 Peter Savin

            Ok. I see.

  • David Kyle

    Ian,

    Thanks for including HootSuite in your list!

    Here’s a link to two posts that shows how to use ow.ly for metric tracking – (blog) http://ow.ly/vMInM – (video) http://ow.ly/vMIuq).

    Feel free to get in touch with me on Twitter Ian – @davidwkyle. Would be great to connect.

    – David from HootSuite

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks David. Just followed you!

  • Rachael

    Hi Ian,

    I am looking to find out who exactly has shared a certain blog on LinkedIn. I know it has been shared over 200+ times on LinkedIn(from a website), however I am as of yet to find out the exact LinkedIn members who have shared it.

    Basically, I’m looking for a tool similar to Tweeterspy but for LinkedIn, rather than Twitter.

    Would appreciate any help possible :)

    • Vijay Vardhan

      Hi Rachael, I would like to know the answer to the same question. Did you ever manage to figure out the list of people who shared your article on Linkedin? Please let me know. Thanks!

  • Pooja

    Nice

  • Michael

    Ian – Thanks for the steer to Clickmeter – very useful – I signed up and it is exactly what I wanted.

    Regards

    Michael

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Michael.

  • Vinit Balani

    Thanks Ian. I guess Clickmeter is going to be the most useful for me to track where my traffic is coming from :)