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tracking social networks

With so many resources spent on social media marketing these days, the job of analyzing its effectiveness in the overall marketing mix is becoming more important.

If you're using Google Analytics to track your site's visitors and revenue, you'll notice that by default you can analyze traffic mediums such as direct, organic etc, but what about social networks as a standalone traffic medium?

To achieve this level of reporting in Google Analytics and to basically tweak Google Analytics to create this traffic medium, you've got two options.

Option 1: Create a standalone Google Analytics social networks traffic profile

1. Under 'Add Website Profile' in the main Google Analytics screen create a new website profile and name it 'social networks' (always keep your original profile intact)

add website profile

2. Head to 'Filter Manager' in your profile to group all the different social networks to one new medium by applying the following filter

filter manager

Filter Name - social networks traffic
Filter Type - custom filter then advanced
Field A -> Extract A - under campaign source add your social networks. For example, I’ve used:

digg|aim|friendfeed|econsultancy|blinklist|fark|furl|misterwongs|wikipedia

|stumbleupon|netvibes|bloglines|linkedin|facebook|del\.icio\.us|feedburner|

twitter|technorati|faves\.com|newsgator|PRweb|msplinks|myspace

|bit\.ly|tr\.im|cli\.gs|zi\.ma|poprl|tinyurl

Field B -> Extract B - none
Output To -> Constructor - campaign medium and name it social networks
Field A Required - yes
Field B Required - no
Override Output Field - yes
Case Sensitive - no

Result - now under traffic sources > medium you’ll find a handy ’social networks’ traffic medium source which includes all the social websites previously grouped together

social networks medium

3. Create another filter which will exclude other traffic sources


Filter Name - exclude other traffic sources
Filter Type - custom filter then exclude
Filter field - campaign medium
Filter Pattern - type organic|(none)|direct|cpc|image
Case Sensitive - no

4. Create another filter to show the full referral path by applying the following filter

Filter Name - full referral path
Filter Type - custom filter then advanced
Field A -> Extract A - choose referral and type (.*)
Field B -> Extract B - none
Output To -> Constructor - choose user defined and type $A1
Field A Required - yes
Field B Required - no
Override Output Field - yes
Case Sensitive - no

Result - now under visitors > user defined you'll find the precise profile or URL which is generating your traffic

full path

Use this method to schedule a handy automated email so you'll get the full picture every morning

Option 2: Use advanced segment in Google Analytics

1. Head to 'Advanced Segments' in your main Google Analytics profile

advanced segments


2. Create a new segment and drag the 'source' box which under 'Traffic sources' to 'dimension or metric' window

3. Open the 'Condition' drop down and under '' paste the following sources:

digg|aim|friendfeed|econsultancy|blinklist|fark|furl|misterwongs|wikipedia

|stumbleupon|netvibes|bloglines|linkedin|facebook|del\.icio\.us|feedburner|

twitter|technorati|faves\.com|newsgator|PRweb|msplinks|myspace

|bit\.ly|tr\.im|cli\.gs|zi\.ma|poprl|tinyurl

(this field is limited to 256 characters)


matches regular expression

4. Now you can start segmenting the data and compare your social networks traffic medium Vs. other traffic sources which are already segmented such as direct and organic traffic

compare traffic sources

You can use this method to compare your social networks traffic against other traffic sources by average basket size, conversion rate and much more. .

Ran Nir

Published 6 May, 2009 by Ran Nir

Ran Nir is founder of Conversion Counts, a web analytics and conversion optimisation agency, and a contributor to Econsultancy. He can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

8 more posts from this author

Comments (49)

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Bruce C Ziebarth

You have answered several questions I have had. I have been looking for a way to analyze my social networks. After all, if you are trying to make money online then you have to analyze. I am new to internet marketing but am finding sites like yours very useful. I will be backlinking this post from my own site. I wish you continued success.

over 7 years ago

David Iwanow

David Iwanow, SEO Product Manager at Marktplaats.nl

Wow! looking at the Twitter Buzz this is a popular article, and i agree thank you.

over 7 years ago

Alec Kinnear

Alec Kinnear, Creative Director at Foliovision

That's a great tip. More solid advanced technical but practical tutorials like this please.

over 7 years ago

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Mandy

Thanks for this great tip!! Just implemented it to an account (option 2) and it works perfectly! Very interesting data!

over 7 years ago

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ben

hi,

thanks for the trick.

for Option2 : does it work as soon as you configure it or should we wait 24h to see results ?

over 7 years ago

Ran Nir

Ran Nir, Founder at Conversion Counts Ltd

Hi Ben

Because you're segmenting available data, it works straight away.  Make sure to use reg ex as the matching option and separate the various sources using (|).

Hope this helps.

Ran

over 7 years ago

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Nadia Rusenova

I tried the second option and still waiting to see results. Thanks for the tip, really practical and useful one.

over 7 years ago

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ben

sorry again ^^

not sur to understand the translation of "matches regular expression" (option 2).

In the "sources" drop box menu is it the 1st proposition  (there are 14 propositions) ?

sorry for my baaad english

over 7 years ago

Ran Nir

Ran Nir, Founder at Conversion Counts Ltd


Hey Ben,

One of the conditions under 'source' is matches regular expression (or reg ex as some people refer to).  Pick this option and paste your traffic sources such as digg|facebook|myspace so you'll group them to one source.

over 7 years ago

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ccduarte

Excelente article! Thank you! Works perfectly in both ways!

over 7 years ago

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Chris

Ran - that's a brilliant tutorial. Thank you so much!

over 7 years ago

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Virante, Inc.

Thanks for a very useful tip!

One small point: in the custom filter, all domains that have a period in them should have a backslash before the period. For example, bit.ly should be bit\.ly in the filter.

over 7 years ago

Ran Nir

Ran Nir, Founder at Conversion Counts Ltd

Indeed, I've missed that on a few so it should be applied as: |bit\.ly|tr\.im|cli\.gs|zi\.ma|

Thanks for the correction.

over 7 years ago

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Lopa

Hey Ran,
This is a great tutorial. I used Method 1 but came across a hurdle on the Campaign Source - max 255 characters allowed, so I had to drop a few. How did you manage to get all yours in?

over 7 years ago

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Jared O'Toole

Great post. Thanks for all the info. It can be so hard to measure results from social media. This will help.

over 7 years ago

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pauleco

Hi all,

Great post - we do need to start looking in more detail at the metrics of our social media activities.

I am a bit of a GA amateur and as such I may have made a schoolboy error, but I have tried to follow recipe 1 above, and am getting no data whatsoever at the end of it...

I am supposed to apply the filters to the 'social networks' profile that I created aren't I?How do I get that profile to mine the data collected in from main profile?

over 7 years ago

David Iwanow

David Iwanow, SEO Product Manager at Marktplaats.nl

@pauleco, it can be very easy to messup filters so it excludes all information, you also have to wait around 24-48 hours, it takes longer to get the information if you have filters applied.

You should always create a new profile when playing with filters, you cannot reprocess existing GA data that has been collected, the profile can only filter new data.

Since you are based in the UK, have a look at the GAAC partners for Europe, they can often help in hourly packages.

over 7 years ago

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pauleco

@David

Thanks for the pointers - much appreciated. Was in the dark there for a while... will see if anything turns up in my new 'social networks' profile in 48 hours. In the meantime I will have a go with the advanced segmentation one...

Hmm perhaps some consultancy might be useful ;-)

over 7 years ago

Ran Nir

Ran Nir, Founder at Conversion Counts Ltd

Hi @pauleco,

As David explained, it takes some time before you'll see actionable information in this profile. 'some time' depends on the level of traffic your getting, the number of filters you've set up in this profile etc. 

Advance segments on the other hand will work straight away and have the added benefit of using historical data (which I should have mentioned) compared to a standalone profile.

Hope this makes sense.

Ran

over 7 years ago

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pauleco

Hi @Ran

Thanks very much for the extra info - I can confirm that method 1 is now showing data :)

The advance segment worked straight away too cheers..

As an aside - I may well be in touch with you guys shortly (along with a few UK based GAAC partners as suggested) to get a quote on a GA health check a day or two consulting - we aren't 100% confident we have it set up correctly, or that we are using it optimally.

Thanks again all

over 7 years ago

David Iwanow

David Iwanow, SEO Product Manager at Marktplaats.nl

@pauleco

GAAC partners can be expensive but if you are not getting an accurate picture of your business they can pay for their service within one or two extra sales.

If this understanding of your business is key to your growth such as your quote form... 

Another option which would be useful to consider would be upgrading from Urchin to GA script, which the GAAC partners will be able to advise.

Best of luck and Ran thanks for a great article that has helped business use google analytics.

over 7 years ago

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MARY

Hi this was a great article. I had a little problem with step#3. There is not mention what to do right before we hit SAVE CHANGES when setting up the filter

In the Create New Filter window there is a section call Apply Filter to Website Profiles. QUESTION: Do we ADD from the WEBSITE PROFILES list the "social networks traffic" profile we just created into the WEBSITE PROFILES  box?

3. Create another filter which will exclude other traffic sources


Filter Name - exclude other traffic sources
Filter Type - custom filter then exclude
Filter field - campaign medium
Filter Pattern - type organic|(none)|direct|cpc|image
Case Sensitive - no

over 7 years ago

Fran Jeanes

Fran Jeanes, Internet Business Consultant at i-contact web design

This is the best little gem of info I've had in the last week. :) Thanks a bunch!

over 7 years ago

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Toby Field

Can you fix the missing pictures on this post?

over 7 years ago

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SEO Sydney

Hello Ran, Thanks for the best advice.

I have been searching this social network tracking in Google analytics since 1-2 months. There are some images which are not shown in this post. so still I am confuse for some tips...

Anyways thanks for the helpful tips.

over 7 years ago

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ed

all other referral websites show up fine, except bit.ly

it just won't show up in google analytics. any reason why?

over 7 years ago

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Link Moser

All things being equal, is there a method above you'd recommend over the other?

about 7 years ago

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Patelligence

Thank you for this very useful article. I have been using google analytic. But i didnt know that Im able to do all these..

about 7 years ago

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emma boyle

Hi, I have set-up option 1 which appeared to be working fine in the beginning. However, it doen't seem to be excluding other traffic. Any ideas why? And it's not just including other social media sites not in my list, it's showing cpc, organic, email etc. Thanks, Emma

almost 7 years ago

Kevin Charlton

Kevin Charlton, Head of Innovation at fuse8

Great step by step guide. With small alterations works for me!

almost 7 years ago

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SEO uzmani

Everyday im learning more about Google analytics. I didnt know that google anayltics is that much useful. Thanks for this great article.

almost 7 years ago

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Deana Goldasich

Absolutely FANTASTIC information. Thank you so much for diving into the details this is incredibly useful and helpful!

almost 7 years ago

Mark Carter

Mark Carter, SEO Specialist at High Position

Many thanks for this .... successfully set up the Social Media segmentation in Google Analytics

almost 7 years ago

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Fredrick Wilderson

Stupid question: after I set up Option 2, which screen do I visit to see results like the screenshot?

The 'basket size by traffic source' screen shows a green line but I can't find that anywhere after applying the regex stuff....

over 6 years ago

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Barrie Adams

I prefer to use Advanced Segments, and love this quick and easy way to measure your social networking efforts. I apply this segment to one profile, then share it among my entire domain portfolio, so you only need to set it up once.

over 6 years ago

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Barrie Adams

Fredrick Wilderson, you should see the new option in your 'Advanced Segments' drop down in the top right corner, select the 'Social Networks Traffic' segemtn you just setup and apply it, you will see then see the data.

over 6 years ago

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Jemma

Thanks for this I didn't even know it was possible, great bit of information. Cheers

over 6 years ago

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Jason

Yes ! Thank You ! Big Brother. Thank you for keeping all our information and for your close ties to the NSA. Here we were worried that something close to the 'Stazi' could happen in America. How relieved I am to see that you have found a way to surpass the Stazi. How embarrassing it would have been to only be a third rate Fascist Plutonomy. I can see that we are only a few steps away now from installing cameras in bedrooms ... oh wait ... never mind. I can see that we are only a few steps away from being legally able to turn people upside down and shake money out of their pockets... uh..er... yeah ... never mind that one too. Anyways I'm just so glad to see all of this positive feedback from everyone here. Yes America is thinking towards our future and with minds like these serving the rich we will all have bright tomorrow ... well ... the top 1% will anyways... but that's a start right ?

over 6 years ago

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jagadish

Really Help full article, feel the power of advanced segments of Google Analytics.....

looking for some more article on this...

Thanks!

over 6 years ago

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Vitaly Veksler

Excellent discussion topic. We've recently launched SocialReport.com a tool that focuses on social tracking just like Google Website Analytics focuses on website tracking. Simple and clean, easy to setup. More info here http://www.socialreport.com

about 6 years ago

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we are cloud

We thought this was a really good blog post - so good, in fact, that we referenced it in our post entitled "9 resources explaining when to use segmentation or filters in Google Analytics". You can find the post at http://analytics.bimehq.com/ if you're interested to read it!

about 6 years ago

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R Govindan

Pretty neat. I wish GA could provide more insight about other social media with its sentiments tracking.

about 6 years ago

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What Is My IP Address

Thank you so much. Now I have a question. Is there anyway to pull all the recent data from my main profile instead of just start tracking since I created the second profile (social networks) ?? Thank again.

about 6 years ago

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madkeet

Good stuff, only wish i knew more.............. about this analytics stuff.

Any instructions to follow your instructions ?

I think a trip to GOOGLE is needed

about 6 years ago

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Phillip Evans

Great article - option 2 worked straight away for me. Many thanks for releasing this out to us all.

over 5 years ago

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Emma Bradfield

Hello

Great article but I'm having trouble with Option 1.

Would someone be kind enough to clarify to which website profile(s?) the 3 filtered are added - are all three applied to the social networks profile?

Thank you in advance!

over 5 years ago

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Emma Knowles, Head of Active Customers at Abel & ColeSmall Business Multi-user

Hi there,
Thank you for this, i've been searching for how to split social media and compare to site, so this is great.
I've followed option 2 so far, but wondered if I could see the new vs returning revenue split for facebook vs twitter all in one report? rather than grouping twitter and facebook (or all those social media channels) into one lump?
Thanks! Emma

over 5 years ago

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seo

Great article - option 2 worked straight away for me. Many thanks for releasing this out to us all..

over 5 years ago

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Diego

Hi all!

I've been happily using option 2 for a while until recently, and have been using an advanced segment entirely for Facebook. Now, it's stopped working.

I've tried to fix the issue, but nothing is working.

Can anyone help at all?
Thanks!

about 5 years ago

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