Social media is a crucial tool for promoting your website or business and growing an audience. However, it isn’t enough to simply share your content and sit back. If you aren’t able to track social media analytics, you won’t be able to see what areas are lacking and subsequently improve your results.

Therefore, if you’re serious about social media marketing, you’ll want to invest in some tools that will help you track your content’s performance. The numbers you get can tell you how many people are viewing your posts and pages, how long they stay, where they come from, and more. Once you have these metrics in hand, you’ll know how to make targeted improvements and can avoid common mistakes.

In this article, we’ll talk about why it’s so important to track social media analytics. We’ll also discuss the metrics you should watch, then show you how to measure them using Google Analytics and some free plugins. Let’s get started!

Why it’s important to track your content’s performance

Succeeding at social media marketing takes a lot of work. You’ll need to put effort into creating a social media presence, deciding when to post, and much more. However, all that energy will be wasted if you don’t also take the time to track your content’s performance. More than 77% of small- and medium-sized companies use social media to promote their businesses – that’s a lot of competition you have to overcome.

If you simply put your content out without paying any attention to it, you won’t know if it’s helping you achieve your goals. Failing to track social media analytics means you might be wasting time creating content that isn’t resonating with your audience, or crafting attention-grabbing posts that don’t result in increased conversions. You can even miss out on new opportunities you might have otherwise been able to seize.

For these reasons and more, you’ll want to find a way to keep track of your content’s performance. In other words, you need to learn how to track social media analytics. First, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the metrics you’ll need to understand.

The most important analytics to track

Using Google Analytics to track social media analytics.

When it comes to social media, there are plenty of analytics you can track. Of course, the more information you can collect, the better. However, your time and resources are limited, so you’ll want to choose a few key metrics to focus on. Google Analytics makes it simple to track those metrics.

Here are some of the most important analytics that can help you understand how your content is performing:

  • Pageviews: This is a simple analytic, but it’s still important. Finding out how many people are viewing your content is the first step towards understanding how well you’re doing on social media. After all, if no one is seeing your content, it won’t accomplish anything.
  • Average time on page: Once you know that people are viewing your content, you’ll want to find out how long they’re spending with it. This will give you a clue into how engaging your content is. In general, times less than 30 seconds signal possible trouble, while times over two minutes are outstanding.
  • Bounce rate: In simple terms, your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who view only one page or piece of content, and then leave. A high bounce rate can signal that your content isn’t encouraging your target audience to engage and learn more. What is considered a ‘good’ bounce rate varies by industry, but in general you’re probably doing well if it’s below 40%.
  • Demographics: Along with keeping track of how many people view your content and how long they stick around, it’s important to know who those people are. If you’ve done your homework, you’ve already determined what your ideal target audience member looks like. Your content’s actual demographics will tell you if the right people are tuning in, or if you’re attracting the wrong crowd (one that’s too young to afford your products, for example).

This is hardly an exhaustive list. However, if you’re new to analytics, these are some of the key metrics you’ll want to start with. There are plenty of ways to track social media analytics – below, we’ll introduce one of the most popular and useful tools.

How to track social media analytics using Google Analytics (in 3 steps)

For this walkthrough, we’ll be showing you how to get started with Google Analytics. This tool is a great option for beginners, since it’s both free and simple to use. You can track your website and multiple social media accounts, and it will provide analytics in a wide variety of categories. Plus, if you’re using WordPress to run your website, there are many ways to integrate the two platforms (more on this later).

Step 1: Sign up for Google Analytics and add your first ‘property’

To get started with Google Analytics, all you’ll need is a Google account. You can then sign up for the tool, which will require some basic information:

The Google Analytics signup page.

You’ll need to create a name for your account, and enter the details for your first ‘property’ (i.e. the website or mobile app you’d like to track). You’ll be able to add more properties later.

After you fill in this information, you’ll be prompted to accept the Terms of Service. Then you’ll be shown a Tracking ID for the property you created. Take note of this number – you may need it to integrate Google Analytics with other tools:

A Google Analytics tracking ID.

Next, simply click on the Home icon in the left-hand menu to start exploring the analytics for your property. Of course, there won’t be any information to view right away. You’ll need to give the tool some time to start tracking data – a few days should be enough to start seeing results.

Before we move on, let’s talk about how to track social media analytics by adding new properties. After all, you probably have more than one account you’d like to watch. In the left-hand menu, navigate to Admin, and choose Create new property under the Property drop-down. Then, you’ll simply repeat the process above. You’re able to track up to 50 properties on a free account, which should be plenty.

Step 2: Start tracking your analytics

As we said, Google Analytics takes some time to populate with data. However, if you want to start exploring what information this tool has to offer right away, you can visit the Google Analytics demo account. This is an account anyone can access, and it gives you a good idea of what your own properties will look like in time.

Once you have a populated property, let’s discuss some of the metrics you can track. First, navigate to the Behavior > Overview tab. This is where you’ll find most of the key analytics we talked about earlier in the article:

The Google Analytics behavior screen.

Here you can see your total pageviews, as well as your unique pageviews. The latter tells you how many of the views are from new visitors, as opposed to people reloading or revisiting the same pages. Also highlighted will be your average time on page and your bounce rate, as well as your exit rate – the percentage of users who leave your site or profile from this particular page.

Combined, these numbers offer you a snapshot of how well your content is currently performing. What you do next will depend on which numbers stand out as problematic:

  • Are your views too low? You’ll want to focus on promoting your content, and building up a dedicated audience.
  • Is your average time on page too short? If most people are only staying around for a few seconds, chances are they aren’t engaging too deeply with your content. You might need to work on making it more compelling and valuable.
  • Is your bounce rate and/or exit rate too high? You may be rightly concerned if you’re getting a lot of visitors, but they are quickly leaving. This can mean they aren’t finding what they’re looking for, and you need to do more research to learn what your target audience is interested in. Of course, keep in mind that for social media pages, these metrics can often be quite high. After all, it doesn’t take long to view a Facebook post or a tweet. Consider your content’s medium. A bounce rate of 90% might be acceptable for your Twitter page, but a warning sign on your website.

Let’s also briefly visit the Demographics > Overview tab:

The Google Analytics demographics screen.

Here, you can see details about the kinds of people who are viewing your property. This helps you discover whether you’re attracting the right audience. Notice that under Key Metric, you can choose different options from a drop-down menu. This will show you the demographics for the various metrics we’ve already discussed. That way, you can see if there are any meaningful differences in how people of various ages and genders are using your content.

For example, you might discover that your bounce rate is higher for younger visitors. This could mean you’re failing to provide the information the demographic needs. These kinds of details can enable you to make targeted changes to your approach, helping you hone your content until it attracts the right viewers.

These metrics are only the beginning of what you can track using Google Analytics. They’re a solid place to start, but it’s also smart to explore your account and see what other valuable information is available. If you ever get confused, there’s plenty of comprehensive documentation to explain what each number means. With a little practice, you’ll find yourself able to track social media analytics with ease.

Step 3: Optionally, use plugins to enhance your analytics experience

We mentioned earlier that you can connect your Google Analytics account to your WordPress website. This is a smart idea, since it will enable you to streamline your workflow and gain easy access to more detailed and accurate information.

There are plenty of plugins and other tools that can connect these two platforms and help you track social media analytics. Let’s take a look at two options. First up, there’s Google Analytics Dashboard for WP:

The Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin.

This simple plugin enables you to view your analytics directly from your WordPress dashboard. That way, you don’t always need to navigate to your Google account separately. Plus, it’s a piece of cake to use. Simply install and activate it, then visit the new Google Analytics > General Settings tab:

Authorizing the Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin.

Click on the Authorize Plugin button, then use Get Access Code to log into your Google account. Copy over the code you’re provided with, and save it.

The plugin will import your Google Analytics properties, and you’ll be able to pick one to track under Select View. When you next visit your dashboard’s main page, you’ll be presented with a new widget that displays your analytics.

Next up, we have Revive Old Post:

The Revive Old Post plugin.

This invaluable social media plugin helps you promote your content and get more mileage out of it by re-sharing older posts. It also integrates smoothly with Google Analytics.

Once you have the plugin installed, navigate to Revive Old Post > General Settings from your dashboard, and enable the option called Google Analytics Campaign Tracking:

The Revive Old Post settings screen.

This will let you track analytics specifically for posts ‘revived’ through the plugin. That way, you’ll be able to see which of your older posts are generating the most interest, and what kind of audience they’re impacting.

These tools are a great way to get the most out of your Google Analytics experience, and to make tracking your content as simple as possible.

Conclusion

Tracking your social media analytics is more than important; it’s necessary. After all, you wouldn’t want to find that you’ve been creating and sharing content without reaping the rewards. Fortunately, keeping an eye on a few vital metrics is all that’s required to avoid that scenario.

To track social media analytics and find out how well your content is performing, you’ll simply want to:

  1. Sign up for Google Analytics and add your first property.
  2. Start tracking your analytics.
  3. Optionally, use plugins to enhance your analytics experience (such as Google Analytics Dashboard for WP and Revive Old Post).
Do you have any questions about how to track social media analytics and use them to improve your content? Ask us in the comments section below!