How to Measure Social Media ROI Using Google Analytics

How to Measure Social Media ROI Using Google Analytics

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Do you want to understand your social media return-on-investment (ROI)?

Are you tracking the customer journey in Google Analytics?

Having Analytics for your website is an important aspect to your understanding the marketing value and direction to be taken for your marketing planning and budgeting. It is important to discover how to collect and analyze the data needed to properly calculate how social media marketing is impacting business success.

If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your website, get it installed. If you don’t understand how to do this, contact PTC Computer Solutions to help you get Google Analytics set up for your site. Once it is installed, there are steps to measure social media ROI with Google Analytics. Again, if this is something that is too much for you to deal with, contact PTC Computer Solutions to help you manage your Google Analytics. PTC will provide support and detailed reports on how your website is performing and the ROI for your website based on the information set up in Google Analytics.

Create Custom Segments

Once the data is being collected through the Google Analytics tools, it will provide what you need to help understand your ROI. You can segment this data into control groups. When a visitor views the website from a social media network, Google has an automated way of identifying that user and adding him/her to reporting under the Social sub-function of the Acquisition function.

There are some challenges with the reports and how these are viewed. Setting these up to read the proper information is an important cog. Set up a custom segment that mirrors how Google Analytics automatically tracks the traffic from each social network:


  • Log into Google Analytics.
  • Go to Acquisition>Social>Network Referrals and hover over any of the social networks in the report to see how Google determines the traffic from that network.
  • At the top of the page, click on Add Segment and the New Segment box.
  • Title the report something like GA Default Social Users.
  • Click on Conditions and then select Source Contains and type in what was in the drop-down list (e.g., Using LinkedIn as an example, you’ll notice other types of LinkedIn traffic come up as you type. Take note of what shows up and add those too by clicking OR, then typing the new criteria.
  • Review the All Sessions numbers to see if they match the Default Social Users numbers. If they don’t, edit the segment.
  • Click on the arrow next to the segment at the top of the page and select Edit.
  • Repeat this process for each social network until the entire set of numbers match.
  • Type in the network name and see if additional traffic sources show up. If they do, add them to your segment. Then check again to see if the All Sessions numbers match the GA Default Social Users


If there’s a good deal of social traffic, there may be a shortage of fields if the OR continues to be selected. If so, consider using Regex to include multiple criteria. To use Regex, select Source>Matches Regex and use the pipe with no spaces before or after each criterion to signify OR. To get the pipe, hold shift and press the backslash key.


Define Social Media Users

The next step is to set up the data so traffic can be isolated into two groups: default social users and social link clickers. Default users are those who came to the site from social media and are automatically tracked by Google Analytics. These users did not come from the links created and shared. Social link clickers are users who clicked on the links distributed on the configured social media properties and the earned traffic that resulted from shares of those links. To isolate the two groups, use the Google URL builder to create links that can be tracked and shared on social networks.


Before entering data into the URL builder fields, be aware that it is case sensitive. Be consistent throughout with your case. For example, Ebook, ebook , E Book and EBook will show up as separate data sets in Google Analytics.


  • In the URL builder, enter the URL to be shared. This must be a link to a website, preferably your website.
  • The second step in the URL builder is where meta data is added to the link that Google Analytics will be able to read and include in the data set.
  • In the Campaign Source field, type SLC + (the social network). SLC means social link clicker and is the key to isolating these users. Be sure to include it!
  • Enter the content type in the Campaign Medium field (e.g., blog post, infographic, video, etc.).
  • Type the content title in the Campaign Name field (e.g., How to Create Social Media Control Groups in Google Analytics).
  • Finally, click Submit. You’ll get a long URL—copy it and shorten it with your social media management tool. Next, add a status update and post it.


Analyze Data

Before analyzing data, come up with a list of questions to be answered through the data, and then list the metrics utilized to answer those questions.


Here are a few ideas for questions to answer: Does sharing content on social channels influence consideration for products and services? Does sharing content published on your website influence a higher or lower propensity for consideration? Does curating content influence a higher or lower propensity for consideration?


To conduct an analysis, use the previously constructed custom segments. Export the Google Analytics data to Excel to calculate percent changes between the control groups.


Navigate to the reports that hold the metrics to analyze, then copy and paste the metrics into an Excel spreadsheet or use the Export function to create a file with raw data that can be opened in Excel. Calculate the percent changes from one group to the other to see where the outliers are and highlight the insights found in the data.



Interested in conducting an analysis like this inside of your Google Analytics account? Look online for resources with the pre-built segments and custom reports on goal conversion data. Understanding how to measure social media ROI has been the number-one topic marketers want to understand for the last four years.


Look at how social media influences the customer journey of awareness, engagement, consideration, acquisition, retention, advocacy and loyalty. Use Google Analytics to set up control groups to identify the website visits.


What do you think? Have you performed control group analyses within Google Analytics? Do you have advice or findings to share with others? Please leave a comment below and join the conversation. If all of this befuddles you, not to worry, PTC Computer Solutions is here to help. Contact or go to our website at for more information. We are always at the ready.

If you need any help with Analytics, call PTC at 904-992-9888 or email for all your web, Internet, and Marketing needs.

Online marketing is an incredibly dynamic environment with many moving parts. It is a constantly changing environment as well. Keeping involved and staying ahead of the latest improvements is what we do at PTC Computer Solutions. If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.

PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects. Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at or go to our web site at for more information.


By David W. B. Parker
PTC Computer Solutions

PTC Computer Solutions - Internet, Web Sites, SEO, Online Marketing


PTC Computer Solutions – Internet, Web Sites, SEO, Online Marketing

PTC Computer Solutions
Jacksonville Beach, Florida


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