Google Analytics is a valuable tool for website owners that can give you so much useful insight into your visitors and how they are using your site. This information allows us to be constantly improving our marketing strategies and making them better.
However many feel overwhelmed with all the data available in their analytics. They don’t know where to start when reading the data, let alone how to implement what they’ve learned from the information.
Today I’ll walk you through how to dive into your acquisition reports to gain insights about your website and the quality of traffic that you are sending to your site from social media.
There’s no point in driving just any traffic to your site. Traffic quality is always more important than quantity. If you send people to your site that are not interested in you or your business, they will not subscribe, purchase from you, or even stay on your site for very long.
The Acquisition Overview Report
Let’s use Google Analytics to find out more about your quality of traffic and how your traffic from social media compares to the rest of your site traffic.
Log into your Google Analytics, and go to the Reporting tab. On the left hand side, click the Acquisition menu item and then click Overview.
You should see a chart that compares the various traffic sources (pictured below). By default, the traffic sources are organized by how many sessions are acquired by the traffic source.
The different traffic sources are as follows:
- Organic Search is traffic that is coming from search engines;
- Direct traffic are people that are typing your URL directly into their browser, or maybe they are accessing your site from a saved bookmark;
- Referral traffic is traffic that is coming from other websites; and
- Social traffic comes from social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
You can click on each of the traffic source titles to see more detail about that source.
In the example above, a large majority of the website’s traffic is coming from search. This is followed by direct traffic, then referral, then social. However, remember that quantity is not what we are looking for here.
The next two columns – labeled Behaviour and Conversions – will tell you more about the quality of traffic.
Measuring Traffic Quality
In this report we can see that the bounce rate on traffic coming from search engines is almost at 94% which is very high. This is not good as bounce rate is one metric that we want to keep as low as possible. The bounce rate is the number of visitors that only visit one page on your site. They land on that page, and then they “bounce”, or leave. The bounce rate from social traffic is still relatively high at 81%, but this is the second best bounce rate we have (after referral traffic).
If you notice that your bounce rate is high for all traffic sources, then the issue is likely with your website and not with the quality of your traffic. Make sure to take steps to lower your website’s bounce rate before you focus on trying to drive more traffic to it.
If you click through to the columns labeled “pages/session” and “average session duration” you will also be able to see these metrics for each traffic source.
In the Conversions column we can see that the social traffic is converting at 7.22% – the highest of all the sources. Note that you won’t see this column if you do not have goals set up in your analytics. Goals are a very valuable feature of Google Analytics that allow you to track important conversions on your website.
In this example, we can see that traffic with the highest conversions is social traffic. Social also has the second lowest bounce rate, so it’s safe to say that on this website, the highest quality traffic is coming from social media.
Unfortunately, social media is also one of the lowest sources of traffic in this example. What the website owner can learn from this report is that they need to be putting more effort into driving traffic from social media so that they can acquire more of this quality traffic to their site.
This website should look at what they are already doing on social media and try to do more of that. They should also test new strategies for driving traffic to their site from social media channels.
Comparing Social Networks
If we click on “Social” in the acquisition overview chart, we can see more detail and a breakdown of the different social networks we are getting traffic from (pictured below). Here again we can judge the quality of different sources by comparing important metrics like bounce rate and time on site.
In the above chart it’s obvious that Facebook and Twitter are the top quality traffic drivers for this site. Although Pinterest drove slightly more traffic than Twitter, all of the Pinterest traffic bounced. Also, we can see in the goals column that both Facebook and Twitter each had one person convert into a subscriber.
The acquisition reports from Google Analytics can greatly help your social media marketing by giving you insights into what is working and what is not. That way you can spend more time on the social efforts that drive the highest quality traffic and modify or drop the traffic sources that are not working for you.