Segmenting Social Traffic in Google Analytics

With social media playing an increasing role in internet marketing, it is becoming more important to track what social sites are bringing you visitors. The problem is, most web tracking tools right now don’t show a breakdown of “social media” in their traffic sources section. In Google Analytics, for example, there is a comprehensive data about everything else but social media traffic in its default settings.

Fortunately, something can be done about it in Google Analytics (and many other tools). By implementing the steps below, you can see better traffic statistics in Analytics:

Use Custom Segments
Just go to the “Traffic Sources” section and click on “Advanced Segment”. It is found in the right-hand corner. Afterwards, the “Create a New Advanced” segment feature should be chosen. This simple step enables you to filter results for deeper analysis.

Add Social Sites
Once you have added the custom segment, the next step involves creating a full list of words and websites to include. Using the exact URL of the popular social media sites isn’t recommended. Rather, add “or” statements rather than “end”. Some things to add include: tweet, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, Digg, LinkedIn, Flickr, MySpace, StumbleUpon, and Wikipedia among others. Try to get a complete list of popular social media sites to add words to the Advanced Google Analytics segment.

Name and Test Your Segment
It is important to test your segment in Google Analytics to ensure that you’re getting the results you want. Before you can test for results, the tool will ask you to name the segment that was just created. Click “Save Segment” to go back to the prior screen.

Filter Traffic Results by “(Name of Segment)”
Once the new segment has been created, it is now possible to filter social media and compare it with other traffic resources. If, in the past, you can only determine which social sites bring you traffic through the referring domain link (which is tough to sort through), it now becomes easier once the social referrals are separated.

With the data at hand, you can now see more opportunities from social media with regards to your niche or business. You can also compare the traffic data from various sources through charts – in weeks, months, or years. Better information equals more opportunities for most businesses. This is highly helpful for websites that intend to stay in business over the long term.

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