Getting Started with Google Analytics (Part 1)

It’s end of the month, and I know that all of you are filling out your marketing spreadsheets. At least, I hope you are! If you’re not keeping track of your monthly progress (Facebook likes, Twitter followers, etc) read this article by Hubspot on using Excel to your advantage.


But monthly progress isn’t just measured in an increase of Facebook likes or Twitter followers. It can also be measured in how successful your campaigns are in directing traffic. Kind of like measuring your ROI. Google Analytics can help tell you how many people were directed to your website via Facebook or Twitter, and sometimes (through Hootsuite) which Tweets/Posts drove that traffic. Then, based on that information, you can plan your next social media campaign.

Am I making sense? Maybe an example will make this a little clearer.

As you may or may not know, I work for a small non profit based of Boston. I started working for them mid-October and my official position is “Social Media Coordinator.” I’m basically in charge of their entire social media presence. Last week, I was filling out the Hubspot spreadsheet that we use to track our social media presence and I noticed that a lot of traffic was coming from Tumblr. Hmm. How curious, I thought, since the previous Marketing Director hadn’t mentioned Tumblr at all. I immediately logged onto their Tumblr and noticed that they had a pretty sad presence on the site. So, I decided to re-vamp their profile (check it out here!) and am now actively updating their page. Within hours of using Tumblr, we received three questions in our “Ask” box asking about volunteering with us. WOW! And that’s all because I paid attention to Google Analytics.

So how can you use Google Analytics to your advantage?

First and foremost, make sure that Google Analytics is set up correctly on your website. Here’s a great video that Google put together on how to set up Analytics.


Second, use Analytics to see what social media platforms are important to your Non Profit. In order to do so, you’re going to want to go to “Acquisition” and then “Channels.” What this is going to do is show you how people are finding your website. Google breaks it down into six (or more depending on your settings) categories: organic search, direct search (typing the website directly into your browser), referral, paid search, social, and email. The one that you, as a social media marketer, are going to focus on is social. At this point, it’s best for you to make sure that you’re viewing the results from this past month. You can do so by adjusting the dates in the top right hand corner. As you know, social media is constantly changing. If you’re going to be “on top” of your platforms, it’s best to analyse month by month.


Once you click on social you’re going to see a list of social networks with the number of visits that the network has given you.

This is a great way for you to see what networks are working, what networks aren’t, and even more importantly which ones you should be using that you aren’t. Like I mentioned, it was a huge surprise to me that United Planet was popular on Tumblr. But because of Google Analytics, I was able to add Tumblr into my daily projects. Be sure to check back monthly to keep track of what platforms are driving your traffic, and to see any improvements your campaigns might have made.

ImageThird, you should definitely explore the keywords section of Google Analytics. According to this article, “Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field.” I talked about how important it is to use the right keywords in my SEO blog post, but just to remind you: using the proper keywords can really help in your where your website ranks in a Google search.

So, what does Google Analytics show you? The “Organic Keywords” page is a list of keywords that people are searching online to get to your website. These are the keywords that you’re going to want to use in your blog posts, on your website, in your Google adwords, and/or all over your social media.

Again, refer to my SEO blog post for more information on how to increase your websites popularity.

Pay attention to both the long term (adjust the date to explore the past year) and short term (monthly) keywords. Why is this important? It’s important to see what words people are consistently searching to get to your website, but it’s also important to track any monthly changes. For instance, United Planet (the non profit I work for) sends volunteers to 30+ countries for various projects. Naturally, our keywords mostly consist of the word/phrases “volunteer” and “volunteer abroad.” However, when I checked our Keywords for October, I noticed that a lot  of people are searching “medical volunteer abroad” and other variations of that phrase. So, I immediately informed our blogger and other members of the marketing team so that we can start creating content related to our medical trips. Do you see how that works? I’m creating content based on what people are searching. I’m giving the people what they want! And I would never have known that if I hadn’t explored our Google Analytics reports.

So, in summary:

  1. Set Google Analytics up properly
  2. Track what social media platforms are driving traffic to your website, and up your presence on them.
  3. Check your Keywords monthly and adjust your content to “give the people what they want.”

Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool that will dramatically change how you and your marketing team design your social media presence. Be sure to check in for “part two” to learn more about how to use Google Analytics to your advantage!

P.S – I just uploaded this Google Analytics powerpoint that I created a few weeks ago. Check it out!

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