How to Use Google Analytics to Track Social Media Traffic

For many of us, one of our main objectives with social media marketing is to drive traffic from a social media network (e.g., YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter) to our website.
In addition, we’d like to measure whether this traffic “converts,” as in signs up for our email list or buys our stuff. In this video, I will walk you through how to use Google Analytics to track your social media traffic using Advanced Segments. Let’s get started!

Watch the Video

Google Analytics Resources

We’ll assume you already have a Google Analytics account, and that you’ve correctly installed the Google Analytics tracking code. If not, you’ll have to get that done, first. If you’re just getting started with Google Analytics, the support or help files are here.  And click here for the help files specific to Advanced Segments.  There are two methods to track traffic from a social media network: #1 is Acquisition > Social > Overview, and #2 is using a specific Advanced Segments. I’d also recommend you set up at least one goal in Google Analytics, such as a registration for an email newsletter.

Method #1: Using Google Analytics Acquisition Data

Log into Google Analytics. Next, if possible, define a goal. I’ve predefined a goal – signing up for our email newsletter. (If you don’t know how to set up a goal in Google Analytics, refer to the Analytics help file on goals, and do that, first.). Then, once I’m in Google Analytics –

  • On the left column, scroll down to Acquisition, and then Social, and then Overview. This shows you your raw traffic from social media networks into your website.
  • Of particular interest –
    • Network referrals – this shows you the “sessions” that came from each network (such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.).
    • Conversions – did they convert? Did they “do” what you wanted them to “do?” If so, you’ll see that here. If you click on the chevron, you can select which conversion, assuming you have more than one (we do, and so should you!)
    • Users flow – this is a nice graphical representation of how traffic flowed “from” a social media network “to” your website.

Method #2: Create a Custom Advanced Segment

How to Use Google Analytics to Track Social Media TrafficYou want more! (I know you do). You want to be able to “watch” your incoming traffic from YouTube or Facebook, and really monitor in a very close way, what’s going on. You can do that using an Advanced Segment. Login to Google Analytics, or go back up to the Audience tab on the left. Then –

  • Click on the grayed out “Add Segment” button in the middle of the page.
  • Click the red “new segment” button, and define a “new segment” by selecting “traffic sources” on the left, and then (for example), or
  • Give the segment a name, such as “YouTube Traffic” and hit the blue “save” button.
  • You may need to turn “off” the All Users segment; if necessary do so, but clicking the down Chevron and then “remove.”
  • You can now scroll down the left column in Google Analytics and observe what your YouTube, Facebook, and/or other social media marketing traffic is “doing” on your website, including bounces, and goals.

Extra Credit – You Know You Want It

Suppose you wanted to track a specific promotion, such as an advertising campaign on Facebook, a boosted Post, or an overlay FROM YouTube to your website. You can do that using Google’s Campaign URL Builder. Let’s walk through those steps.

  • Define your campaign objectives, such as a post you might make to Facebook that you want to lead FROM Facebook TO your website.
  • Enter the ultimate URL into the URL Builder.
  • Follow the steps to designate the source, medium, etc. as indicated in URL Builder.
  • Use a URL shortener like or and shorten the long URL.
  • Paste this URL into your post to Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • The traffic “from” this campaign will then show up in Google Analytics as Acquisition > Campaigns and you can really “zero in” to what this does or means.


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About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.