How to track links shared on Social Media
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!
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:
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.
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.
When you share using these web addresses SqueezeCMM starts to track where traffic comes from.
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.
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.
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.
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/)
The report generated was as follows. You can see on the right hand side you can filter out the data also:
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.
This functionality is available in the analytics section of Hootsuite (left hand menu)
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?