Beginner's Guide to Google Analytics for Social Media

Head and shoulders photo of Richard Burke
By Richard Burke
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published July 22, 2022.

Computer screen showing Google Analytics homepage

Google Analytics records and monitors website traffic, allowing businesses to gauge the effectiveness of their online marketing campaigns.

Among other data points, it tracks the number of visitors to a website, session duration, pages per session, and bounce rate.

Types of Social Media Data to Track With Google Analytics

In addition to total traffic to your website and the sources, Google Analytics can help you determine:

  • Individual page traffic.
  • Number of leads converted and where they came from.
  • Whether traffic originates from a desktop or mobile device.
  • Which social media platforms yield the most traffic to your site.
  • The return on investment of your social media campaigns.
  • Which content works best with each platform.
  • How many sales conversions your business gets from social media.

These are just a few of the many different metrics you can track and analyze on Google Analytics.

How to Track Social Media Traffic With Google Analytics

Use the following step-by-step guide to set up a Google Analytics 4 account:

1. Create a Google Analytics Profile

You can do this by following these minor steps:

  1. Click the "Start measuring" button on the platform's home page.
  2. Enter your account name and choose data sharing settings from the options provided.
  3. You'll be prompted to enter your company name, time zone, and currency.
  4. You'll then be able to create a Universal Analytics property using your website's URL address.
  5. Leave the radio button selected to create both a GA4 and a UA property.
  6. Follow prompts to accept the Terms of Service Agreement
  7. Set up administrative features on the GA dashboard, enter tracking information, and get a tracking code.

You can also take a look at our post on adding Google Analytics to Shopify to help with this.

2. Set Up Google Tag Manager

This allows users without coding experience to send data to Google Analytics. You'll need to enter an account name, the country in which your business is based, and whether or not to share your data with Google to enable benchmarking.

3. Create an Analytics Tag

This will merge Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics. Follow prompts to add and customize your tag(s). Configuration options will determine where data collected from your tag will go; triggering will establish what type of data you want to collect.

4. Add Social Media to Google Analytics Goals

Use the "Admin" button on the GA dashboard. From there, click the "View" column and then "Goals." Goals include destination, duration, pages/screens per session, and event (for example, if a goal is to get users to play a video or click on a link).

5. Pull Google Analytics Social Media Reports

Based on your specifications, these reports will be tailored to your needs. The six "big" GA social media reports are:

  • Overview report
  • Network referrals
  • Landing pages
  • Conversions
  • Plugins
  • Users flow

However, there are many different custom reports for Google Analytics that you can use as well.

Benefits of Analyzing Social Media With Google Analytics

With the quantitative data gathered by Google Analytics, you can determine which social media platforms drive maximum, targeted traffic to your website. You can sort social media users by demographic and see how they interact with your site in all ways, from their favored items to their checkout behavior. Google Analytics takes the guesswork out of website visitor data tracking and trends, providing businesses with actionable reports to improve social media strategy and return on investment.