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(Expert Feature) Tracking the Elusive Social Media Click

Using Google Analytics is crucial to any online marketing efforts, but measuring social media clicks is very difficult. That is until you use Google’s free URL Builder tool to tag your links.

Google Analytics tips and help

Raise your hand if you have Google Analytics installed and properly configured on your website?

If you’re trying to do any kind of online marketing, I sincerely hope your hand is in the air right now.

If not, please stop and go install the software on your website right now, then come back.

Any type of business marketing plan without measurements being put in place is a complete waste of money and time. Having the measurements in place without a plan to actually look at the data on a regular basis is almost as bad.

I remember speaking to a company a couple years ago.

She was spending $15,000 per month in Google Adwords (paid placement), but she hadn’t bothered to install Analytics to see what keywords and pages on her site were performing for her.


I could not believe someone would spend that kind of cash without knowing exactly how well it was working (or not).

Measuring Social Media Clicks

In today’s marketplace, we have so many options to spend our money and time on to get our businesses out to the adoring masses. One of the most attractive tools is social media.

It’s almost ubiquitous that companies have Facebook and Twitter accounts. Some have LinkedIn business profiles, Pinterest pages, and so on. Don’t forget that blogs like this (especially the comments sections) are social media too.

Assuming you have Google Analytics installed, configured and actually look at it from time to time, you’ll notice that clicks to your blog or website from your social media pages are just lumped into buckets like “Facebook” under referrals.

If you look carefully, you probably won’t even find any clicks from Twitter.

Aren’t people clicking?

If so, how do you know who is, how many times, and what they’re looking at? Twitter changes their default url to a shortened, which is what you’ll see in your referral clicks.

If you’ve done a good job of creating blog posts and promoting them on your social media accounts, it’s really hard to know how effective it is, or even if anyone is coming over to your site.

Wouldn’t you instead like to have some data into knowing which articles or which social media platforms were getting clicks?


Google’s Little-known Free Tool

Fortunately, Google provides us with a little-known and utilized free tool. Yep, it’s free.

Just about everything from Google, except Adwords, is free. I like free.

We can tag our links with bits of information that translates right into data in Google Analytics.

By doing a little planning ahead (there’s that word again), and thinking about what our planned marketing campaigns will be, we can build an infrastructure of tags that will make complete sense to us when we see it in Google Analytics.

It’s good to track clicks from anywhere:


  • Newsletters
  • Social media
  • Buttons on our website
  • YouTube videos
  • Etc.

We need to provide Google with a minimum of three pieces of information (each one word long) in their URL Builder Tool:


  • The Campaign Source – like “newsletter” or “socialmedia”
  • The Campaign Medium – like “email” or “facebook”
  • The Campaign Name – This can be whatever you want that makes sense to you

When you fill in their online form with the destination page URL, you’ll get a tagged link that tells Google Analytics where a click came from.

Even if someone shares a link from your Facebook page, it will continue, even if it’s coming from people you’re not connected to.

I don’t have the room to describe all the nuances and uses here. But you can watch a video that shows you how to measure social media with Google Analytics, and even gives you a couple freebies.

Photo by Kinologik
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About Thomas Petty (47 Articles)
Thomas Petty is a Digital Marketing Trainer at Thomas Petty Digital Marketing Solutions. He is a popular blogger and speaker and has trained businesses from around the world in digital marketing, search engine optimization and WordPress.