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Social Media Report Google Analytics

Social Media Report Google Analytics – Social Media Marketing If you are running a social media campaign of any kind then Google Analytics is the best way to measure your results. So many businesses have got caught out in the past thinking social media was free and easy money. Although there is no denying that social media can bring huge traffic to your site, it isn’t as simple as just posting a load of stuff.

Would you like to find out how often your Facebook page is liked, how many comments you get on your updates and where in the world this activity takes place? In this article I will show you how to create a simple report that shows all of these things and more.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free website analytics dashboard that provides a wealth of insights about your website and its visitors, including those who find you through social media.

For instance, you can track:

  • Total traffic to your site and traffic sources (including social networks)
  • Individual page traffic
  • Number of leads converted and where those leads come from
  • Whether your traffic comes from mobile or desktop

When you add Google Analytics to your overall social media analytics and reporting strategy, you get even more insights into how social media is working for your business. That’s because Google Analytics social media reports allow you to:

  • Discover which social media platforms give you the most traffic
  • Calculate the ROI of your social media campaigns
  • See what content works best with each social media platform
  • See how many sales conversions your business gets from social media

With this data, you’ll be able to get the most out of your social media campaigns and improve your marketing strategies in the future.

Using Google Analytics to track social media: 5 simple steps

A note about Google Analytics 4

You may have heard about Google Analytics 4 (GA4). It’s an updated version of Google Analytics that completely changes the game, and it’s the default option for all new Google Analytics users.

Unfortunately for social marketers, it’s much more complicated to track social data in Google Analytics 4. For now, the old version of Google Analytics known as Universal Analytics (UA) remains the best Google social media analytics tool.

Fortunately for social marketers, it is still possible to create a UA tracking ID — if you know which boxes to check during the sign-up process.

If you already have an existing Google Analytics property with a tracking ID that starts with UA, go ahead and skip to step 2.

If you’re creating a Google Analytics account for the first time, or a new Google Analytics property, make sure to follow these steps carefully to get the right kind of tracking ID! You’ll also get a parallel GA4 ID that will start collecting GA4 data right away, so you’re all set to switch to the updated system when Google eventually discontinues UA.

Step 1: Create a Google Analytics account

1. Create a Google Analytics account by clicking the Start measuring button to sign up on the GA page. If you already have a Google Analytics account, skip ahead to Step 2.

Welcome to Google Analytics

2. Enter your account name and choose your data sharing settings. These settings are really about your personal preferences, rather than impacting how data flows to your Google Analytics social media reports.

Google Analytics set up including account details and name

When you’re ready, click Next.

3. This is where you have to pay attention to get the Universal Analytics tracking code. Under Property name, enter the name of your website or business (not your URL). Choose your time zone and currency. Then, click Show advanced options.

property set up including property name reporting time zone and currency

4. Switch the toggle on for Create a Universal Analytics property. Enter your website URL. Leave the radio button selected for Create both a Google Analytics 4 and a Universal Analytics property.

You’ll only use the UA property for now, but it’s a good idea to create your GA4 property at the same time for future use. Your selections should look like this:

create a universal analytics property with website URL

Double-check the settings, then click Next.

5. On the next screen, you can enter information about your business, but you don’t have to. Once you’ve entered as much detail as you’d like, click Create, then accept the Terms of Service Agreement in the pop-up box.

business information including industry category and business size

You’ll then get a pop-up box with Web-stream details and your new GA4 Measurement ID (which looks like G-XXXXXXXXXX). However, we want the Universal Analytics ID, so close this pop-up box.

web stream details including enhanced measurements and tagging instructions

6. In the bottom left corner of the Google Analytics dashboard, click Admin. Select the account and property you’re looking for. In the Property column, click Tracking Info.

Google Analytics Admin tracking info

7. Click Tracking code to get your tracking ID.

Tracking ID

This is unique to your website and your personal data—so don’t share the Tracking ID with anyone publicly! Make note of this number, as you’ll need it in the next step.

Step 2: Set up Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager allows you to send data to Google Analytics without coding knowledge.

1. Create an account on the Google Tag Manager dashboard. Choose a good account name, the country your business is in, and whether or not you want to share your data with Google to enable benchmarking.

Bonus: Get a free social media analytics report template that shows you the most important metrics to track for each network.Get the free template now!

Tag Manager Add a New Account

2. Scroll down to the Container Setup section. A container holds all the macros, rules, and tags needed to track data for your website. Enter a name you’d like for your container and choose Web as your Target platform, then click Create.

Container Setup with container name and target platform

Review the Terms of Service in the pop-up and click Yes.

3. Copy and paste the code from the Install Google Tag Manager pop-up box onto your website.

The first snippet goes in the <head> section of your page, and the second in the <body> section. The code has to go on every page of your website, so it’s best if you can add it to the templates of your content management system (CMS).

If you close the pop-up box, you can access the snippets any time by clicking your Google Tag Manager code at the top of the workspace. It looks something like GTM-XXXXXXX.

4. Once you’ve added the code to your website, return to the Tag Manager workspace and click Submit on the top right of the screen.

Tag Manager Workspace submit

Step 3: Create your analytics tags

Now it’s time to merge Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics.

1. Go to your Google Tag Manager workspace and click Add a new tag.

Google Tag Manager add a new tag

There are two areas of the tag you’ll be able to customize:

  • Configuration. Where the data collected by the tag will go.
  • Triggering. What type of data you want to collect.

2. Click Tag Configuration and choose Google Analytics: Universal Analytics.

choose tag type Google Analytics: Universal Analytics

3. Choose the type of data you want to track and then choose New Variable… from the dropdown menu under Google Analytics Settings.

Google Analytics settings new variable

A new window will pop up where you can enter your Google Analytics tracking ID. Remember, you need the number starting with UA- that we created in the last step.

variable configuration Google Analytics tracking ID

This will send your website’s data straight into Google Analytics.

4. Head back to the Triggering section to select the data you want to send to Google Analytics. Select All Pages to send data from all your web pages, then click Add.

Set up, your new tag should look something like this:

tag configuration Google Analytics: Universal Analytics

Click Save and voila! You have a new Google Tag tracking and sending data to Google Analytics.

Step 4: Add social media to Google Analytics goals

Google Analytics uses “goals” to track your website’s key performance indicators.

Before you add your Google Analytics social media goals, think about what kinds of metrics will have the most impact on your social media reporting and overall business objectives. The SMART goal-setting framework can be very helpful on this front.

1. Go to your Google Analytics dashboard and click the Admin button on the bottom left corner. In the View column, click on Goals.

Google Analytics dashboard goals

There are a variety of different goal templates you can choose from. See if one of them matches your goal.

You can also see the different types of goals Google Analytics can track for you. They are:

  • Destination. e.g. if your goal was for your user to reach a specific web page.
  • Duration. e.g. if your goal was for users to spend a specific amount of time on your site.
  • Pages/Screens per session. e.g. if your goal was to have users go to a specific number of pages.
  • Event. e.g. if your goal was to get users to play a video or click on a link.
goal description including name goal slot ID and type

Choose your settings, then click Continue. On the next screen, you can get even more specific with your goals, like choosing exactly how long users need to spend on your site in order to consider it a success.

Save the goal and Google Analytics will start to track it for you.

Remember: There are a ton of different things you can track using both Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Stick to the metrics that matter the most to you and align with your goals.

Step 5: Pull your Google Analytics social media reports

Google Analytics Universal Analytics currently allows you to view six social analytics reports.

These reports showcase the ROI and impact of your social media campaigns.

1. From your Google Analytics dashboard, click the down arrows next to Acquisitions and then Social.

Google Analytics acquisition social

From here, you’ll be able to take a look at the six big Google Analytics social media reports.

  1. Overview report
  2. Network referrals
  3. Landing pages
  4. Conversions
  5. Plugins
  6. Users flow

Traffic by social channel

See your most valuable networks, plus the up-and-comers

Buffer Social Network Referrals

Where to find this report:

Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals

What this report tells you:

At-a-glance, you can see which social network sends you the most visits to your website. For instance, Twitter sent the Buffer blog 79,096 visitors last month.

You can view the data in a pie chart to see how the networks break down as an overall percentage of social traffic to your site. For instance, Twitter accounted for 56 percent of social traffic to the Buffer blog. Twitter and Facebook combined accounted for 81 percent.

You can expand the results to show 25 or 50 channels, then change the date range to include a comparison to last period. Voila! Now you can identify networks beyond your main ones that are beginning to send you more and more traffic. For the Buffer blog, we’ve noticed StumbleUpon and Hacker News seem to be on the rise.


If you click on the individual network name in this report, you can see a breakdown of all the links of yours that have been shared on that network.

Tumblr shares of Buffer blog posts

Social media traffic

See how much social media contributes to your overall visits

All traffic channels to the Buffer blog

Where to find this report:

Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels

What this report tells you:

You can see your traffic sources at a high-level:

  1. Organic search (people clicking through from Google)
  2. Social (Twitter, Facebook, social visits)
  3. Direct (people typing your site in their browser or bookmarks)
  4. Referral (people clicking links from other sites to get to you)
  5. Email
  6. Paid search
  7. Other

With this info, you get a great sense of the importance of social media for bringing people to your site. If you ever need justification for focusing on social media, this report is it!

For the Buffer blog, we see 15 percent of our traffic from social, which accounts for nearly 150,000 visits each month.


Under the Acquisition > All Traffic category, you can click to view the Source/Medium, which will show you a granular break down of the search, social, and referral traffic. For a quick hack into your mobile vs. desktop traffic, look at how each social network URL is abbreviated. Twitter on mobile is represented by, and desktop is Facebook on mobile is represented by, and desktop is

In addition, to see the mobile vs. desktop traffic breakdown, you can add a Secondary Dimension to any view (by clicking the Secondary Dimension button at the top of any table). Type in “Mobile” and select “Mobile (Including Tablet).”

Landing pages

Landing Pages report for Buffer blog

Where to find this report:

Acquisition > Social > Landing Pages

What this report tells you:

Use this report to see your website pages that get shared most often on social media. For the Buffer blog in the past 30 days, our most-shared story is Andrianes Pinantoan’s guest post about Canva’s growth strategy.


You can click any link in this report to see the specific breakdown of networks where this content was shared.

 Multi-channel reports

Multi-channel Funnel for the Buffer blog

Where to find this report:

Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Overview

This report will work if you’ve got Goals set up for your website. (See below.)

What this report tells you:

The Venn diagram you’ll get on this report page shows the various paths that people take to convert through your website or blog. For example, on the Buffer blog, a good majority of people convert after coming to the site from organic search. A smaller—but still significant—portion convert after coming directly or clicking on a link from social media.

The overlap in the Venn diagrams represent visitors who might, for instance, click a link in a tweet first, then come back to the site directly later on to go through the conversion flow. And Google Analytics tracks all this, all the way through!


Further down into the Multi-Channel Funnels, there are some neat reports:

  1. Top Conversion Paths
  2. Time Lag
  3. Page Length

For Top Conversion Paths, you can see the frequency with which visitors take certain routes to conversion. For instance, I can see in my report that the most common path is a person visiting my site directly two times before converting. The top social path is a visit or two from social first, then a direct visit.

You can change the view here also by clicking on “Source/Medium Path” at the top of the chart to see the specific social networks involved in the conversion flow.

Top Conversion Paths for the Buffer blog

For Time Lag, you can see how many days come between first visit and conversion.

For Path Length, you can see a breakdown of how many paths are involved in each conversion typically. For my blog, the vast majority (75%) convert after one visit.

 UTM campaign results

UTM campaign referrers for the Buffer blog

Where to find this report:

Acquisition > Campaigns

What this report tells you:

If you’re running a social media campaign, you can append the URLs you’re sharing with a UTM parameter, a bit of text that goes at the end of your link. Google’s free URL Builder is perhaps the simplest way to set these up.

When setting up the new URL in Google’s URL Builder, just make note of what you’re calling the “Campaign Name,” as this is how you’ll find the results in your Google Analytics reports.

The value here is that you’ll then be able to track how many visits this campaign sent back to your website as well as what happened to these visitors once they landed. How long did they stay? Did they convert? Etc.


Within the Campaigns report, you might notice the term “buffer” popping up. When you share a link from Buffer, we automatically add a UTM parameter to the shortened URL so you can easily track the impact of your social sharing via Buffer. You can override these campaign settings by creating custom UTMs in your Buffer dashboard.


You want to know where you can find data about your social media marketing efforts and the answer is Google Analytics. You’ve probably heard that it’s a great tool for tracking your website stats but let me tell you, with its latest update, it’s an even better tool for social media marketing.

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