Google Analytics For Social Media Professionals

Many businesses on various verticals have realised that the importance of their online presence is now more important than ever. Thus, they have outsourced (well, in most cases) these kind of services to SEO professionals, Analytics professionals or social media professionals.

Our main focus of interest goes to the social media professionals. I used to be a social media professional and I suppose that now most social media professionals were relied on (and maybe they still are) on the data that they get via Facebook Insights. It’s not bad getting data about the Likes and Shares through Facebook Insights.

But what if there was a social analytics tool that could offer some of these things for social media professionals – that would be pretty neat, right? – that would allow you to do a few things:

  • Creation of measurable goals for your social media channels, so that you measure your conversions?
  • Find out how many people have engaged with your content (through g+ or through social bookmarking services) or found it interesting enough to save it for later (e.g through Pocket)?
  • See which sites (and the originating pages) have made a comment or linked to your site and develop relationships with them if they are influencers or just get the sentiment (positive, negative, and neutral)?
  • Track social interactions?

Well, all of the above (and a bunch more, like customized reporting) can be offered via Google (Social) Analytics.

But let’s take it one by one and step by step.


Measurable Goals

Purpose: Creating measurable goals (related to social media actions), will help you understand if your social efforts are bringing the results (conversions) that you want.

In this way you are able to understand with tangible results (conversions), if what you have set up as Goal (that will lead to conversions) is underperforming or not.

In plain words, if for a consecutive month you get zero conversions, then you will need to redefine your social media activities.

How: The key element before putting your hands on social analytics, is to decide what kind of goals matter to the business. For this case, let’s just assume that you want to track users who click on your social media buttons (Facebook, g+, Twitter, LinkedIn).


Step by Step Process

  1. Go to Goals and set up a goal (Admin > View > Goals).
  1. Create a new Goal and fill out the fields that are mandatory.


*Mandatory fields: Category, Action

Non-mandatory: Label, Value

Once you save these goals every time someone clicks in any of these buttons, you will see the respective events (Behavior > Events), but also you can see the respective conversions every time you have a conversion, under this section: Acquisition > Social > Overview (what all these sessions, sessions via social referral do, we will explain it later).


Step 3 –Prepare the event tracking codes (for Standard or Universal Analytics).

Before you start tracking the results (like the ones we see above), we will need to generate the Javascript codes, so that we give them to the developers and they will implement them accordingly in the respective social media buttons. Once the event tracking codes are in the source code of the site, then you will be able to track when and how many users have clicked on these buttons to engage with your content in your social media channels and every time they click on these buttons they will be counted as conversions.

If your client is using Standard Analytics all you have to do is to create these event tracking codes for social media.

  • <a href=”” onClick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘social media’, ‘linkedin’, ‘Your Company Name’]);” target=”_blank”>LinkedIn</a>
  • <a href=”” onClick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘social media’, ‘facebook’, ‘YourCompanyName’]);” target=”_blank”>Facebook</a>
  • <a href=”” onClick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘social media’, ‘twitter’, ‘Your Company Name’]);” target=”_blank”>Twitter</a>


If your client is using Universal Analytics, there should be a minor change, but the result will be the same… counting conversions!

ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘social media’, ‘facebook-click’);

The similar applies to the rest of your social networks.

In the event that you don’t want to affect your bounce rate, you will need to to use the non-interaction event and problem is solved.

ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘social media’, ‘facebook-click’, {‘nonInteraction’: 1});

ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘social media’, ‘google plus-click’, {‘nonInteraction’: 1});

ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘social media’, ‘linkedin-click’, {‘nonInteraction’: 1});

ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘social media’, ‘twitter-click’, {‘nonInteraction’: 1});


Going with event tracking codes (using Standard Analytics or Universal Analytics) the result is going to be the same:

Every time a user triggers an event (by clicking on a social media button), you will see this result under the Events section on Google or, since these events are used as Goals, every time a user clicks on these buttons it will counted as conversion:


That’s a brief explanation of what you see on the screenshot above.

Sessions via social referral: It shows the overall number of sessions in which a user was actively engaged with your site.

Conversions: How many times we got the measurable results (conversions) that we were looking for.

Contributed Social Conversions: It shows how many conversions were achieved through the help of social channels.

Last Interaction Social Conversion: If we want to know the number of conversions for which this channel was the final step before making a conversion, this dimension will help us know that.


Data Hub Activity

The fun part is now over and if you managed with these simple steps how to track your conversion, then it will be a lot easier to move on to the next sections in which you will be able to understand how to use them for your social media channels.

Would you like to know who are the people who engage with your content (but on your site not on your social media channels) for your campaigns?

How would you like to reach these users from their social media channels (g+, blogs)?

If that’s what you want then, the Data Hub Activity can offer you this thing.


Network Referrals

How would you like to know the traffic that came to your site through social networks (e.g Facebook, Twitter, etc.)?


How would you like to see engagement metrics (e.g. sessions, page views etc.) as a result of your social activity?

There you go:


How would you like to see which URL was shared from your social media?

There you go:


*Shared URLs can also be found under the section of Landing Pages (Acquisition > Social > Landing Pages)

Purpose: Having access on this kind of data, for a social media professional it can be really valuable as you can manage the budget more effectively based on these in-depth data. In case you have high traffic (in terms of sessions) coming from Facebook why not increase this budget more? Or, if another social networks you are handling (e.g. LinkedIn), doesn’t bring the traffic that you were expecting to the site, why not increase your budget or allocate it somewhere else?

At the end of the day, based on the data you get, you can boost, allocate the budget according to your needs and all due to the data that you get from Google Analytics.



The Trackbacks report shows you which sites are linking to your content, and in which context. This can help you replicate successful content and build relationships with those users who frequently link to your site.

In this report, you can see each endorsing URL’s page title and publication date, as well as the number of sessions that it sends to your site. Use the More drop-down in each row to view the originating site or your own page that was shared. Use the Filter Pages field to filter by your page URL.

How would you like to know which sites are linking to your content?

Some of these sites might of high value, so how would you like to nurture relations with these sites? Especially if they are advocates of your brand (brand advocates), how would you like to reciprocate their positive sentiment by promoting them through your brand’s channel?

If you want to do all the above, then look no more because that’s the job of the endorsing URLs (Acquisition > Social > Trackbacks).


Purpose: In this way you will be able to find the sites that are linking to your site and you, as a social media manager, you can start working with these recent ‘link partners’.



How would you like to know the number of conversions that came up from the social networks that you are currently handling? I am pretty sure, you would like that very much, as conversions reflect the outcome of your monthly or yearly activity with users.

So there you go, the result of conversions appears before your eyes.


You can find this information there: Acquisition > Social > Conversions



Purpose: So, as a social media manager you are not only handling only all social media channels of you brand, but you are also the brand’s blog.

In this case how would you like to know how many users actually share/like/+1/retweet the content you are handling? In other words, how would you like to know the ‘shareability’ of your content?

And based on how shareable this content is, you can adjust your content strategy in collaboration with your copywriting team. That would be pretty great, right?

Well, now you can track how shareable the content of your blog (or the pages of your site) from these social media buttons, with Plugins (Acquisition >Social>Plugins).

In other words, rather than having social media buttons in your blog posts which don’t carry any meaningful information why not make them useful for you and your client? And all you need to do is a bit of JavaScript.

This is where the fun part starts… again.

You will need to follow (more or less) a similar process like you did with the implementation of event tracking codes. Nothing to be scared of, you are just a few steps away from tracking the performance of your blog content through these social buttons. Why miss this chance, right?

For your convenience, while you are following the steps below, you can go to Google Developers as you get plethora of useful information. No need to be scared of the title, ‘Developers’, it’s pretty easy to understand even if you are a not a developer like myself.

Step 1. If your client’s website is using Standard Analytics (ga.js), then you will need to ask your developer to deploy these lines of JavaScript code where necessary.

For Facebook Likes

FB.Event.subscribe(‘edge.create’, function(targetUrl) {
  _gaq.push([‘_trackSocial’, ‘facebook’, ‘like’, targetUrl]);


Don’t let the targetUrl confuse you (in all 3 cases). You don’t have to replace it with the target URL or destination URL of your page.


Facebook Unlikes

FB.Event.subscribe(‘edge.remove’, function(targetUrl) {
  _gaq.push([‘_trackSocial’, ‘facebook’, ‘unlike’, targetUrl]);

For Facebook Shares

FB.Event.subscribe(‘message.send’, function(targetUrl) {
  _gaq.push([‘_trackSocial’, ‘facebook’, ‘send’, targetUrl]);


For Twitter

function trackTwitter(intent_event) {
    if (intent_event) {
      var opt_pagePath;
      if ( && == ‘IFRAME’) {
            opt_target = extractParamFromUri(, ‘url’);
      _gaq.push([‘_trackSocial’, ‘twitter’, ‘tweet’, opt_pagePath]);

  //Wrap event bindings – Wait for async js to load
  twttr.ready(function (twttr) {
    //event bindings‘tweet’, trackTwitter);

g+ (+1)

<!– Place this tag where you want the +1 button to render. –>

<div class=”g-plusone” data-annotation=”inline” data-width=”300″></div>


<!– Place this tag after the last +1 button tag. –>

<script type=”text/javascript”>

(function() {

var po = document.createElement(‘script’); po.type = ‘text/javascript’; po.async = true;

po.src = ‘’;

var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s);




After the developer, implements the code above for each network you will be able to track the social activity of your blog.


In case your client’s site is using Universal Analytics (analytics.js), you can do something equally fun as before:


Facebook Likes

FB.Event.subscribe(‘edge.create’, function(targetUrl) {
  ga(‘send’, ‘social’, ‘facebook’, ‘like’, targetUrl);


Facebook Unlikes

FB.Event.subscribe(‘edge.remove’, function(targetUrl) {
  ga(‘send’, ‘social’, ‘facebook’, ‘unlike’, targetUrl);

For Facebook Shares

FB.Event.subscribe(‘message.send’, function(targetUrl) {
  _gaq.push(‘send’, ‘social’, ‘facebook’, ‘send’, targetUrl]);


Thanks to rolandgal ,we can track social interactions for Twitter using Universal Analytics (and Facebook as well)

Twitter / Tweet

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”//”></script>

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”/js/gasotracker.js”></script>

<script type=”text/javascript”>



enabled : true,

apiEvents: [‘click’,’tweet’,’retweet’,’follow’,’favorite’],







According to rolandgal ‘you really don’t want to track the “click” event, so you can remove it’. You can replace it if you want with ‘twitter’.


<a class=”inst gst-event” data-gst-inst=”badge” target=”_blank” href=””></a>

In a nutshell

In a nutshell, social media marketers who are into data analysis(using only Facebook Insights only), are able now with Social from Google Analytics (or Social Analytics), to get in-depth data. Thus if you want to:

  • create measurable Goals,
  • create event tracking codes directly associated with your Goals,
  • reach users (link partners) that use their social media channels to link with your site,
  • know the traffic that comes to the site through social networks,
  • get access to engagement metrics as a result of your social activities
  • track the impact of your blog content (through the implementation of a few lines of JavaScript code),

then look no further, cause all the above and a lot more are offered through Social/Google Analytics.

Are there any of you (web analysts, social media marketers), who actually use the function of ‘Social’.

If there’s something missing, please feel to contribute.

If you liked the content (and had the stamina) to read it until the end, please feel free to share it.

Happy analysing!





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