In 2013 we can expect an even greater emphasis on social media ROI, big data, and breaking down data silos. For those of us responsible for measuring social media, connecting the dots between social engagement and web analytics has become a near-term need on the path to growing and optimizing our social media programs in 2013.
Over the last several months, we’ve spent a lot of effort merging web analytics with social media data in Simply Measured. As you look for ways to better connect these data sources into your reporting practices, the following tactics can help merge these datasets regardless of which tools you use.
1. Measure Social Traffic: Start by measuring the volume of visitors referred to your site by social networks. Use social visits as a benchmark to set social performance goals and measure lift.
2. Segment Earned Traffic: What is driving social visitors to your site? Is traffic the result of your own posts, or the content of others? Segment the different types of content driving traffic to get deeper insights about social media impact.
3. Rank Social Networks: Which social networks are most important for inbound traffic? Determine where your traffic is coming from and which networks to focus your efforts on.
4. Analyze Blog Content Performance: Your blog is a key social marketing component. Blog visits and content effectiveness should be analyzed. Set goals to improve content planning based on previous successes.
5. Examine Referral Domains: Top referral domains are major sources of traffic to your site. Examine the value of their audiences, and their potential to drive additional social traffic and engagement.
6. Compare Social vs. Website Demographics: Determine whether major differences exist between your social and web audiences. Are they visiting and posting about the same sites? Are they located in the same geographic areas?
7. Identify Website Influencers: Identify the individuals responsible for driving the most social traffic to your site. Determine the frequency of influencer posts and audience sizes.
8. Build Relationships: Returning social visitors can indicate quality relationships. Monitor the percentage of returning social visitors and strike a healthy balance between new and returning visitors.
9. Unpack Content: Pinpoint the social content directly responsible for driving traffic to your site. See what kind of posts drive traffic, analyze your own posts, and learn from the content others are creating.
10. Merge Timing & Traffic: Merge web traffic trends with post timing. Deliver content when it is most likely to drive site traffic, by analyzing times for peak site traffic and social network engagement.
11. Correlate Engagement to Site Traffic: Identify relationships between the volume of social posts and site traffic over time. Analyze engagement peaks responsible for increased visits.
12. Evaluate Engagement: Understand the value of social visitors. Are they more likely to engage on your site than other traffic segments? Determine which social network is referring the most engaged visitors.
13. Translate SEO to Social Media: Monitor key search terms that drive site traffic. Incorporate them into copy and vice-versa. Track usage of unique marketing terms to measure pickup and adoption as search terms.
14. Define Goals: Define web conversion goals for your social media program. This is important for measuring the performance of paid social promotions, social campaigns, and social media’s direct impact on sales.
15. Configure Web Analytics Goals: Configure goal completions within your web analytics software to align with social web conversion goals, and streamline the reporting process.