Do you know how your social media sites’ traffic converts? What the conversion rate is from Twitter compared to Facebook? From Google+ compared to LinkedIn?
Do you track which social media traffic is assisting your conversion rates, and which is letting you down? Do you know how well the offers you post on Facebook perform?
Social media can help with conversions directly but it can have an indirect impact, too. It happens directly when someone hears about you on social media channels and comes and signs up as customer. Indirectly, it happens when social media is involved in the mix but it may not be at the point of purchase.
Someone may have heard about you on social media channels, seen details of you in some articles online and then, one day, decided to buy a product and thought of you. They go to search Google for your company name, and go and buy your product.
It’s a social media-assisted conversion but it’s not always put down to social media. It’s easy to just put it down to a search engine lead, but you can improve your business by understanding how to track conversions within social media, both direct and assisted.
1. Create custom links
This is really important. If you create a specific campaign to promote your products or services across social media channels, it’s vital to create a custom link that includes relevant information to be passed to Google Analytics.
This means that when you share that link on Facebook, Twitter etc. you can tell Google Analytics where it was shared and what campaign it was related to. In Google Analytics, you can then track the visits that come through this link, as well as the results of these visits.
Google URL Builder is a free tool that allows you to create these customer URLs (web addresses). You can use Google’s utility for creating these addresses, or use an add on to your browser to make it easier.
I use a Chrome plugin called Google Analytics URL Builder. When I want to share a link, I go to that web page and then click on a button in my browser.
This opens up the following popup. Automatically, it will pick out the web address of the page you are on. You then enter parameters to track this URL.
Here, you enter the following:
Source: This is the URL you are sharing.
Medium: How are you going to share it? Is it through an ad or a status update, for example? In this instance it’s through a status update.
Campaign: Is it related to a particular promotion?
If you want to, you can convert this link to a much shorter one through the integration with bit.ly (the web address shortener).
All that happens is that the web address for this page now has some additional parameters that Google Analytics can understand and parse. It will still lead to the same page when somebody clicks on it, it just contains extra information.
In this case, the URL becomes:
Within Google Analytics, if you select ‘Acquisition’ followed by ‘Campaigns’, you can track all your campaigns with Google Analytics.
This will show you the campaign and any action that takes place as a result of the campaign (e.g. conversions).
2. Set up Goal Tracking
Within Google Analytics, you can set up goals. For example, you could say that when someone lands on a ‘thank you’ page, the goal has been achieved, because you know that the only way they could end up on that page is if they have bought your product or service.
So, now you can track how many people came from Facebook, Twitter etc. and then subsequently bought your product or service. Knowing these conversion rates is crucial for the next campaign that you run.
Here is an example of the type of information you could see in relation to conversions. In this example, we’re tracking conversion to email subscribers, but it could just as easily be purchases of products or services.
3. Monitor assisted conversions in Google Analytics
An assisted conversion is where someone may not have come directly from social media to convert and, instead, they took the scenic route!
For example, imagine if someone heard about your promotion through social media but didn’t buy. Then, later, they searched through Google and found your product or service and then made a purchase. Your social media efforts assisted the conversion but they didn’t get the final conversion.
So, someone might click on a link from Facebook and then subsequently search for your product or service through Google and buy the product.
This is an assisted conversion because Facebook was the first place they saw the link. Giving some credit to Facebook for this is called ‘Attribution’, and the conversion is an assisted conversion.
In Google Analytics select Conversions -> Multi-Channel Funnels -> Top Conversion Sources and, when you have goals set up, you’ll see a table similar to the following.
In the example above, the top assisted conversion is when someone finds us in search and the remembers us at a later stage by just typing in our web address. This second highest ‘Direct x 2′ means that someone typed in our web address and then subsequently typed it in again on another occasion and converted on the second visit.
So, even though social media may not get all the credit it’s important to consider the assisted conversion.
It’s not always possible to track your social media sites’ activity to sales but we should do whatever we can to track what is possible. This means using the tracking codes, setting up goals, monitoring assisted conversions and more.
This is useful because it helps you to understand what is successful and what is not, for your particular audience. When you start to build up a picture, you will know how to target your offers based on what is really converting, rather than basing it exclusively on the most recent visit, or even guesswork. This means you can focus your efforts on the most effective tactics.
In this age, search and social media are really connected. People hear about you on social media and then later search for you on Google and buy your products or services. Or, they find you in organic search and then become your fan on Facebook. Through a series of interactions on Facebook they may begin to know, like and trust you. Then, they buy your products or services and/or recommend your business to their friends.
Not all of this is trackable but, for the bits that are, we should put in the mechanisms to do so.
We would love to hear your thoughts. How do you track social media conversions? Would you start using any of the above?
All the best,
Analytics image by Shutterstock