The world of social media changes faster than you can say “fidget spinner.” New platforms, features, and tools are constantly demanding attention and ad spend from every marketer’s budget.
But one thing will always stay the same: metrics.
Measuring the impact of your marketing will always be paramount to your business’s success. Some of these metrics will be familiar to seasoned marketers: the old formula of tracking reach, impressions, and conversions hasn’t dramatically changed. However, the way we measure these metrics has evolved dramatically — with the added curveball of a fun new thing called “dark social.”
Here are four social media analytics that you need to track to stay on top of your marketing campaigns.
Conversions reign supreme when it comes to measuring the impact of your social media. A conversion metric tells you of the number of people who saw your ad, how many actually made a purchase? How many prospective clients saw your post and converted to current clients?
Measuring conversions is an imperfect science, since there are many factors that play into a purchase decision. Luckily, Google Analytics is getting much closer to giving marketers a clear picture of how social media posts lead to conversions. Conversion funnel reports can show you how influential your social media posts are — if you set up your tracking correctly.
To set up a conversion funnel in Google Analytics, use the “Goals” section to connect a conversion event. For example, see if a tweet results in signups for your email list. The benefit of using a Google conversion funnel is that you can see all the steps someone took between seeing the tweet and signing up for the email campaign.
Funnel tracking allows you to begin isolating problems or obstacles that distract your visitors from converting quickly and with minimum cost to your marketing budget. Feed this information back into your CRM and help your sales team remove any obstacles blocking prospective clients from becoming lifelong fans.
Influencer marketing is all the rage these days. By one estimate, 57% of marketers have standalone budgets dedicated to influencers: and 67% say they plan to increase their spending on this form of marketing.
Having someone endorse your product to their millions of followers seems like a great move — but how can you be sure it’s worth it? Some influencers charge upwards of $200k for a sponsored post. Can they really deliver results?
Like conversions, the results influencer marketing is a little tricky to see clearly. On one hand, it’s a given that if you find the right influencer, you’ll increase your brand awareness. Search for influencers who will deliver the most value.
On the other hand, you can’t pay your bills in brand awareness. See which influencers are bringing in the most shares, on what network. Use unique UTM codes for each influencer to help determine which are driving the most traffic for you. Each code can then be tracked to see where your engagement is — and you can set up a more traditional social media marketing campaign on the platform getting the most buzz.
Are you showing your ads to the right people? Are you sure?
Facebook’s relevancy score is a big one to be paying attention to. The relevancy score ranges from 1-10 and tells you how the ad is performing within Facebook’s algorithm. It can clarify if you’re showing the right creative to the right audience, and help you better optimize your campaign. Stop wasting money showing your ads to people who aren’t interested in your product!
You can see your relevancy before you get too far into your campaign with one simple test.
Set up a campaign with three different ad sets. Use the same creative but select different audiences. Run the campaign for 48 hours on a low budget to see which ad set gets the highest relevancy score. From there, you can test different creative configurations to try to increase your reach. Feed that information back into your overall marketing and sales strategy to give you a better sense of who is responding best to your product or service!
Dark social sounds scary, right? It is, if you’re a marketer.
Dark social is “any social traffic which is not attributable to a known source, and it will be lumped in with your ‘direct traffic’.”
Think of dark social as mobile and messaging: Snapchat, WhatsApp, Kik, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger, for example. It’s word of mouth marketing that’s very difficult to track — but becoming more and more significant. Hootsuite estimates that 82% of content shared on mobile is done through dark social.
Obviously, capturing some metrics around your dark social can have a significant impact on your marketing strategy and budget.
Start by making sure all your links are trackable using UTM codes — the same strategy you should be using to track influencer marketing. Try to reduce the amount of traffic that falls under “dark social” by displaying social sharing buttons and trackable links within all your content. Get a better understanding of what channels your perfect customer is using.
Then, do a deeper dive into your “direct traffic” in Google analytics. Any of the longer URLs you see popping up in that category are probably the result of dark social.
No one is going to type a long URL with multiple backslashes into their browser. It’s a safe bet that those hits are coming from dark social. From those reports, you can get a surface level picture of what content is being spread via word of mouth — and add budget behind those posts to your traditional social channels.
Dark or light, social media metrics are getting stronger every month. Start with these analytics to paint a clear picture of how to best build relationships with your customers.
About the Author: Ellie Martin is a founding trainer for Startup Change Work. Her works on entrepreneurship and remote work have been published on The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, among others.