For many hoteliers, analyzing data on Google Analytics can seem like a very daunting task. However, once you understand the fundamentals of what each key performance indicator (KPI) represents and what it measures, then analyzing and reporting this data becomes much easier. What many hotel marketers are not aware of is how useful Google Analytics can be in analyzing social media activity. Before you decide to invest in a third party social media analytical tool to evaluate your social media efforts, make sure you fully understand the information readily available to you on Google Analytics. Google Analytics has gone through a series of interface changes in recent years to make it easier for users to navigate. Social media reports are much easier to find and interpret than ever before. Here are 3 of the most important social media metrics that hoteliers need to analyze in order to determine the effectiveness of your social initiatives and to decide which channels are worth investing the most time and effort in.
To view the breakdown of how many sessions your site received from social media, you will need to click on the Acquisition tab and then click on the Social tab. Once the drop-down expands, click on Overview. Here you will find each social network listed and how many visits to the site came off of these channels. This report allows you to see which channels are sending the most traffic to your site. Sessions via Social Referral refers to the total number of visits that originated from a social media source. Contributed Social Conversions refers to the number of conversions that resulted from a social media visit. These visitors came to your site after visiting a social media network but may have later revisited your site from another traffic source before actually converting. Last Interaction Social Conversions are direct conversions from a social media source. Visitors came to your site from a social media channel and completed a goal within that same visit resulting in a conversion. If you’re site receives a lot of last interaction social conversions, this could mean your social media posts are very impactful in prompting a call to action.
Under the Network Referrals tab, you will get an idea of how social media visitors are behaving and interacting on your site. This report allows you to see the total number of pageviews viewed by a social media visitor from each social network. It also tells you the average time a visitor stayed on your site and how many pages per session they visited. The two graphs display visits to the site from social media and the overall traffic from every source. Here you can determine if there’s been a spike in traffic from something possibly going viral from a social media post, thus causing a lift in overall traffic for that particular day. If you find that a particular topic continually generates a lot of traffic to your site, then be sure to keep note of that and use it for later posts. If you want to drill down even further and figure out which particular pages are sending the most visits from social media, then view the Landing Pages report. These are the pages that led visitors to a page on your site from a mention on social media including a post or within the description of the social media page. Identifying these pages can be helpful in determining which links you should post on social media that would likely yield a conversion. Another important metric to analyze are Trackbacks. The Trackback report shows which sites are linking to your content. This is helpful in reaching out to users linking to you.
Besides traffic and user behavior, conversion is the most important metric to analyze and measure in order to determine the success of your social media efforts. Ideally, when it comes to conversions, the number of reservations actually made from the the website is what you should be measuring. However, if your analytics is not tied to your booking engine, there are other KPIs you can measure that could be counted as a conversion. For example, the number of clicks from the booking widget and the number of newsletter subscriptions are both measurable and prompts a call-to-action, which could potentially result in a conversion. Under the Conversions report, you will see a breakdown of conversions from each social network. If you’re interested in finding out what led up to a conversion, then view the Users Flow report. This report shows how social users navigated along your site after visiting a social network. To view a particular social network funnel, click on the specific channel and select view only this segment. Viewing this report is particularly helpful in determining where visitors tend to drop-off or leave the website. If say, many visitors drop-off from the rooms page, this might mean that it’s time to add better photos showcasing your hotel or writing a more elaborate description of the different room types and amenities your hotel offers.
Now that we’ve identified the 3 essential social media metrics that every hotelier should be analyzing on Google Analytics, it is time to set up goals on Google Analytics so that you can start measuring the conversions that have resulted from your social media campaign. Stay tuned for a how-to-guide on defining and setting up goals on Google Analytics.