July 14, 2023: This blog has been updated to reflect the newest version of Google Analytics, GA4.
More and more, social media is becoming a critical tool in selling products and services. Brands everywhere are investing in these channels, and the opportunities continue to grow. A study by EMarketer found that half of US Gen Z and millennial users make purchases on social media.
However, proving cross-channel social marketing ROI and how it drives sales continues to be a consistent pain point for marketing teams everywhere. Without measuring the impact of your team’s work, you can’t prove the value you’re driving for your organization or make data-informed decisions on where to focus your social efforts.
Ultimately, it starts with driving traffic and measuring those results. That’s where Google Analytics 4 (GA4) comes in.
Google Analytics for social media helps understand and measure which platforms are driving traffic to your website and, when used correctly, can help connect the dots between social marketing and results. This requires building effective tracking links within your Google Analytics, which we will get into shortly.
Once you’ve set up your links, Google Analytics will pull in the data every time someone clicks on the link.
Step 1: Head to your Google Analytics profile and click “Acquisition” in the left menu to view your analytics.
Step 2: Next, select “Traffic Acquisition” - Google groups traffic by default to begin with. However you can always filter to view a breakdown by source, medium, campaign, or combination. This will allow you to see how much traffic and revenue comes from each UTM tag.
To get this view in Google Analytics, the user must click on 'Session default channel group' in the left column.
Select Reports > Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns
Brands also need to pick a specific Dash Hudson campaign date range that has Google Analytics activity for the utm_campaign to be visible for selection.
Google Analytics 4 was implemented on July 1, 2023 — a new version of the current Google Analytics many digital marketers know and love.
So, what’s different about Google Analytics 4?:
Google Tag Manager lets you add tags to your website straight from Tag Manager — tags are code that let you integrate analytics and other marketing supports to your website so marketers can collect more meaningful information about site usage.
To implement Google Tag Manager on your website:
To add new tags to your container:
It’s relatively simple to use Google Analytics 4 with your website. First, make sure you are signed up for Google Analytics. To set up a Google Analytics Property:
To use Google Analytics for social media and understand how customers navigate your website and social profiles, you should create events centered around social performance. In Google Analytics 4, there is no distinction between goals and events. To set up social events in Google Analytics:
UTM (urchin tracking module) are codes that tell you exactly where your traffic comes from. These codes are added to the end of URLs to help give a better idea of how traffic is getting to your website, giving you a better understanding of your marketing performance.
Adding UTMs to the end of your URLs when posting on social helps to show how the same post drove traffic across different platforms. For example, if you posted the same content on Instagram, Pinterest, Tikok, and Facebook using channel-specific UTMs, using Google Analytics lets you easily tell which platform drove the most traffic, helping you make better-informed decisions on where to focus your efforts, helping perfect your brand’s digital strategy.
You can add five standard UTM parameters to the end of your URL to get a clearer picture of your social performance. You don’t need to add five, but the more you add, the more granular you can be in your analysis. A standard URL with UTMs can look like this:
‘Source’ is where the traffic originated from. This could be sources like Instagram, Facebook, Google, or an email list.
Ex, utm_source=instagram, utm_source=google
Medium is the general area driving traffic.
Ex, utm_medium=social, utm_medium=email, utm_medium=paid_social
Campaign lets you track the performance of a specific campaign you’re running. You can use this to differentiate from various campaigns you’re running simultaneously, new product launches, and more.
Ex, utm_campaign=spring-sale, product-launch
Content is used to help differentiate if you have multiple links using the same URL or the URL to the social post, so you know precisely which post the traffic is coming from.
Ex, utm_content=<instagram_post_URL>, utm_content=homebutton
Term is generally used for paid search ads and can help you see which keywords a user got to your site from. Term can also be used for key phrases.
Building UTMs can seem daunting at first. However, there are tools you can use to assist. When posting using Dash Hudson’s scheduler, we’ll automatically add UTMs to your posts, removing stress.
If you don’t use Dash Hudson, Google Analytics has an easy Campaign URL builder that will help you easily generate URLs.
If UTMs are new to your brand, you may be wondering why they're so important. Here are a couple of reasons UTMs are beneficial for brands while using Google Analytics for social media.
Proving ROI has been a struggle for marketers. UTMs make that easier, especially coupled with cross-channel tools like Dash Hudson. This helps communicate to key stakeholders like your managers and customers what is driving traffic to your website and sales. By simply adding UTM parameters to social media links, you can easily measure and see the impact of your social media efforts.
Social media is constantly changing, and Social Media Managers are in the thick of that change daily. Whether it's a new form of content or new channels, testing, measuring, and adjusting your strategy is an ongoing part of the job.
Using UTMs to track what content is resonating with your audiences and driving results is critical to shifting your strategy and focusing on the channels and content types that deliver results. This also helps explain your strategy change to your leadership or shifts in budget allocation.
In addition to understanding what is driving traffic to your website, using UTMs can add additional value by connecting social media efforts to transactions on your website. This connects exact dollar value with the various social media campaigns you’re working on, helps with reporting the ROI on social media, and ultimately helps prove why social media is such an essential part of marketing.
You can understand how your social media channels drive social commerce results and ROI by using UTMs and connecting your Google Analytics to Dash Hudson’s cross-channel campaigns tool. Tying together the utm_campaigns to the visual content used in the campaign set up in Dash Hudson, brands can see the specific source/mediums that are associated with each campaign to compare what is driving the most traffic and revenue.
When scheduling through Dash Hudson, default UTMs will automatically apply for you. If you'd like to customize these further to align with your social campaigns, simply copy-paste links with UTMs when scheduling your content! (or reach out to your account manager to update the defaults).
Many brands use UTM builders or even a spreadsheet to customize their UTMs ahead of time.
Login to your Google Analytics account through Dash Hudson, and select the GA4 account with your site traffic.
Go to your Dash Hudson Campaign and select the campaign UTM to match - then view all your traffic & revenue data in one place!
Check out our Campaigns Interactive Demo to understand how to Use Google Analytics for social media and Dash Hudson to Maximize Your Cross-Channel Social Media Strategy.
Yes, Google Analytics can track TikTok. Be sure to adjust the source in your UTM to reflect TikTok.
Yes, Google Analytics can track Instagram. Be sure to adjust the source in your UTM to reflect Instagram.
Yes, Google Analytics can track Facebook. Be sure to adjust the source in your UTM to reflect Facebook.
Yes, Google Analytics can track Twitter. Be sure to adjust the source in your UTM to reflect Twitter.
Yes, Google Analytics can track YouTube. Be sure to adjust the source in your UTM to reflect YouTube.