Monitoring Social Media with Google Analytics

Comparing Apples to Oranges

Social media has been increasingly popular in the marketing world as a means of increasing brand awareness, building a community and driving traffic back to your website.

However if you aren’t tracking where those visits from social networks are going, you won’t know if they are working for you.

Google Analytics has long been a tool of choice for monitoring the stats on your website. Not only is it a comprehensive tool, it’s free!

This article will show you how to set up the ‘Advanced Segments’ within Google Analytics to gain more information out of the traffic from social networks.

What are Advanced Segments

When you first login to your Google Analytics dashboard, you are presented with information about your websites visitors, such as how many people have visited, how many of those are new visitors, the number of pages they visited and more.

Advanced Segments lets you break up that information into smaller chunks. You can filter the data to see stats from people who visited your website from a mobile device, or the data for returning visitors.

These segments can then be viewed across all of the data within Google Analytics.

By adding our own Advanced Segments, we can track users from specific social networks. We can find out what device they are viewing your website from, where they go on your website and which social network generates the most conversions.

Google Analytics Advanced Segments

Setting up a custom Advanced Segment

Setting up a new segment is easier than it looks.

First we will set up a new segment for Facebook. This will allow us to filter the data by visitors who arrived from Facebook.


  1. Click Advanced Segments
  2. Click + New Custom Segment
  3. Enter ‘Facebook’ into the name
  4. Change the rule so it says: Include Source Containing

If we were to save this now, we could track everyone coming from, but as Facebook also has a mobile site, we need to add another rule to account for it:

  1. Click Add ‘And’ Statement
  2. Click Add a dimension or metric
  3. Enter ‘Source’ and click Source
  4. Enter into the box after ‘Containing’ on the new row
  5. Click Save segment

Add an Advanced Segment to Google Analytics

That’s all there is too it! Now if we click Advanced Segments again, select Facebook in the right column then click Apply then we can see the data from Facebook.

Below I will outline the rules you need for the other social networks, just follow the process outlined above using the following rules:


  • Include Source Containing
  • Include Source Containing
  • Include Source Containing
  • Include Source Containing hootsuite
  • Include Source Containing tweetdeck
  • Include Source Containing sproutsocial


  • Include Source Containing linkedin


  • Include Source Containing


  • Include Source Containing pinterest

Each of these segments can be created to compare each individual network, however sometimes you will want to see the stats for all of your social media efforts as one segment.

The following rule works in a slightly different way as it uses a regular expression – this is a piece of code that matches words according to the rule you create.

If you would like a segment that contains all of the social networks, then use the following rule:

Include Source Matching RegExp (twitter||hootsuite|tweetdeck||facebook||linkedin|youtube| reddit|digg|delicious|stumbleupon|ycombinator|flickr|myspace|popurls)

Social Media Overview segment

The above is basically a big ‘or’ statement. You can add other domains to this list by simply adding a pipe ‘|’ followed by the domain.

Key areas to monitor

Now that you have your segments set up and ready to use, there are certain areas that you should pay close attention to:

Audience > Overview

Social Media segment stats

Despite you being able to see the number of visitors in the ‘referrals > social’ section, the audience overview provides you with information on new and returning visitors, countries and page views and much more.

This allows you to find out which networks drive consistent traffic back to your website. By comparing new and returning, you can see the community that is most loyal to your brand.

Audience > Behaviour > Engagement

Quite a few of the social networks will bring people over to your website, but they might not stay too long.

By taking a look at the Engagement section, you can see which networks are bringing in the traffic that is hanging around on your website.

Conversions > Goals

The final place I would recommend you take a look at is the Goals section.

Here, you can find out the most important information (assuming you have goals set up!)

You can see which network creates the most conversions.

This is extremely important as it can tell you which networks you should spend more (or less) of your efforts, or whether you need to change your social strategy to improve the quality of visitors arriving at your website.


You now have the power to figure out exactly which social networks are driving quality traffic back to your website.

Check these segments regularly and monitor your progress on the different networks.

Do you know of any hidden away features of Google Analytics? If so, let me know in the comments below!

  • Finally after searching and searching, came across your very helpful tips on how to set up social media tracking using analytics. Thanks for sharing!

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