While showing true ROI involves importing cost and revenue data, I’ve put together some reports over the years that have demonstrated that social media drives leads. Sometimes it’s a last touch lead, sometimes it’s a first touch, and sometimes it’s a mid-touch. The Google Analytics Multi-Channel reports are super helpful when asking for investment in improved social media measurement or to gain buy-in for social media expansion for unconvinced executives.
Before we dive into the reports, I want to explain the last, first, and middle touches a bit more. If you’re reading this blog, you are most likely responsible for the reporting and interpretation of various spreadsheets, including social media. Channel fragmentation has never been more prominent, and it’s equally tough to attribute proper credit to the correct channel.
This is precisely why understanding social media’s role within a prospect’s discovery path is really important.
Last Touch is the last channel in the conversion path that drove the lead. Historically, social media’s role in driving last touch is less than first touch, but it can and does happen (which you’ll see in reports below).
First Touch is the first channel in the conversion path that drove the lead. For example, if someone’s friend shared your blog post with their friends on Facebook, and one of their friends clicked on the link to your post but ultimately converted into a lead from a branded search on Google, Facebook would get credit as the first touch conversion.
Mid Touch is where it gets a little interesting. Maybe someone clicked on one of your pay per click ads on Google and liked your Facebook page directly on your website (through one of Facebook’s widgets), then clicked through on a newsfeed update from your page, but ultimately converted on your site from a branded Google search. Who gets the credit here? It gets a little fuzzy, but it shows that social media is a valuable player within the lead conversion path.
Note: Don’t take these numbers completely at face value. There will always be tiny discrepancies due to the fact that people often disable or clear cookies. Cookies are what analytics and advertising services use to track user behavior across the web.
So now that we have a firm grasp on last, first, and mid touch, let’s dive into some really valuable reports to get the social media measurement ball rolling.
First vs. Last Touch Social Media Leads
In your Google Analytics standard reporting tab, go to the Conversions section on the left side of the screen and choose Multi-Channel Funnels. From there, go to Assisted Conversions and you will see a graph with a table that looks like the image below:
As you can see, Social Networks have assisted 4 conversions and drove 14 last interaction conversions. Looks pretty cool right? Here’s how to find out how many first touch conversions your social presence drove. Scroll to the top of the graph to the horizontal list of options right below the Explorer tab. Here you will find Assisting Interactions Analysis, First Interaction Analysis, or Conversions.
Click on First Interaction Analysis to change the table to the format as seen below:
Here you can see social media has a bigger role in First Touch Conversions than mid-funnel conversions. This is a good sign that it is a great channel for driving top of the funnel awareness.
Note: Make sure you check what URLs Google Analytics considers to be part of the Social Network Channel Grouping. To check this and edit if needed, check out the channel groups tutorial on the Google Analytics website.
Now let’s drill down into what social networks drove the conversions.
It looks like Facebook is the main lead driver for this company’s social media program. What I really want to see what the typical path looks like when Facebook has an impact.
Top Conversion Paths
To see what channels are within the conversion path where Facebook had an impact, go to the Top Conversion Paths option on the left panel as seen in the image below:
At first, you will see all conversion paths, but you want to drill down to Facebook specifically. To do this, you will have to filter your data. It’s pretty easy.
To create a filter, type in facebook.com in the search box to the upper right of the table and press enter. You will see the top conversion paths where Facebook had an impact, as seen below:
In this example, you can see that Facebook had many first and mid funnel interactions within the conversion path.
While I hate looking at (direct)/(none) sources, it gives you a sense that Facebook is really good at making people aware and then they type your website URL directly in their browsers, but there is a caveat, which is explained in the next paragraph.
Note: Analytics programs often don’t record referral data if visitors click through to an untagged link from their mobile applications, email clients like Outlook, documents, social media management apps like Hootsuite, and some people have private browsing turned on. So this might be the case if you’re seeing a lot of direct visits. Which is precisely why I hate looking at (direct)/(none). Just make sure you properly tag your links as much as possible. Here is a helpful article from Kiss Metrics on what Google Analytics doesn’t include in referral reports.
So there you have it, these reports are awesome for getting buy in when you’re either asking for more budget or trying to get buy-in from stakeholders.
If you found this article helpful or you want to contribute additional ideas, feel free to leave comments below. I respond to everything.