The Importance of Data Tracking in Social Media Campaigns


Do you know if your social media campaigns are REALLY delivering ROI? Discover the key data metrics you should be focusing on to optimise the performance of your social strategies

2019 will see an even tougher social landscape for brands trying to cut through the noise and sadly, it’s time for businesses to accept that social media is no longer the ‘free’ marketing tool it was once perceived to be.

Organic reach has been declining steadily year on year as social channels increasingly move towards monetising their platforms. Facebook pages have been hit particularly hard, especially since the January 2018 algorithm update. We’ve seen some of our clients’ organic reach drop by about a third in the last 12 months and investment in ad spend has become an essential part of social strategies.

Whilst achieving audience reach is becoming more and more expensive, there are some advantages to increasing investment in social advertising. Namely that fact that it opens up a whole new world of data not available through organic promotion.

But before you start investing big budgets into social promotion, it’s important to be able to demonstrate the ROI for your business, which is why every campaign should have trackable KPIs that link back to business objectives.

Here’s our top run down of some of the key data metrics you should be focusing on to optimise the performance of your social strategies…

Social conversion tracking

What is it you want people to do when they engage with your ad? It’s likely that you’ll have two main objectives; to drive engagement within your social channels in order to grow your audience of followers; or to direct people to complete an action away from your social channel.

Tracking actions within social channels are easy, your native platform analytics will tell you everything you need to know about how people are engaging with your content, but you’ll need to configure conversion tracking to follow their onward journey once they leave a channel.

Pixel Tracking or Website Tags are available on most social networks now, from Facebook to LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest, but surprisingly few marketers are using them to their full advantage. Not only will conversion tags show you exactly what people do when they visit your landing page, (tracking everything from button clicks, to purchases, downloads and much more), but you’ll also be able to build custom audiences to retarget these people based on their behaviours on your website. For example, you can serve an ad to everyone who visited your product page but didn’t make a purchase, offering them a discount to close the deal.

This type of data provides a whole new world of opportunities to target your audience with personalised messages relevant to their behaviour patterns. It also allows you to understand which of your ads are driving the best results. For example, you might see a much higher CTR on one ad, but notice that once people land on your website they are failing to convert. Whereas another ad with a lower CTR could be driving a much better quality of traffic, with more people completing the conversion goals you’ve assigned. This kind of information will help you shape your future content strategy.

Split-test for success

In order to really get an understanding of your audience and how they respond to content, it’s essential to split-test your ad campaigns. By using A/B testing to compare different creative, copy and calls to action, you’ll be able to get a much better understanding of what your audience are most responsive to. This knowledge has uses way beyond your social media channels. You can use ad split-tests to gauge audience reactions to new product launches, help you decide what image to put on your next magazine cover or work out the next strap line for your new TV ad.

Split testing will also provide insights into your audience demographics, allowing you to understand which groups are the most interested in your business and what their behaviour patterns are.

Add UTMs to your links to track success

UTM parameters are simple tags you can add to the end of your URL links to allow you to track the traffic they generate. If you’re serious about understanding your social data, you should be using them on all your key campaign content, both organic and paid.

Not only do UTMs allow your web analytics software to track where your traffic is coming from, you’ll also be able to monitor how that traffic is behaving on your site by using ‘funnels’ and ‘goals’ to observe user journeys and conversions. 

UTM’s work by allowing you to label up to 4 elements on your URL, called ‘parameters’, these include; Source, Medium, Content and Campaign. It sounds complicated, but there are plenty of free tools like Google Analytics Campaign Builder that will allow you to plug in these values and will automatically generate the UTM for you.

Once your UTMs start generating traffic, you’ll be able to see the results in your Google Analytics. You can switch between source, medium and keyword views to view different elements of your campaigns and get a solid understanding of how your social campaigns are integrating with the rest of your marketing activities. Read more about how you can get the most from UTM tagging in your campaigns here.

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