Google Analytics: Social Network Referrals Report

The need to track activity on your social properties is now more important than ever. Many of us rely on social for our number one of number two source of traffic. The social network referral report in Google Analytics will help you discover new insights of how this social traffic is interacting with your content on site.

What’s Included in the Social Network Referrals Report

The social network referrals report within Google Analytics gives you a great overview of all of the traffic that has been referred from social networks. This allows you to discover the network that referred your traffic and see the following from each:

  • Sessions
  • Pageviews
  • Avg. Session Duration
  • Pages Per Session

One thing to keep in mind here is that this, by default, displays only those social networks that are defined as such by Google. If you have specific niche networks that aren’t showing here you can add those through the admin section.

Difficulty to set up

Difficulty Meter: 1/5 (default)

The social network referrals report is default to Google Analytics tracking. Add the base Google Analytics tracking to your site and this will be up and running from day one.

Where it is located?

Like the All Pages report, this report is located under the Acquisitions tab on the left hand navigation. It is within the sub-heading of Social and labeled as Network Referrals.

social network referrals report location

Analysis to Complete

Social media’s growth has made it part of our everyday. With that growth, you will do more analysis on social network referrals to your website. While this report does a good job at giving an overview of what is coming in, combining it with other data is where your real strength will lie. Check out the following to see how to take advantage of the social network referrals report inside Google Analytics.

1. Simply Click Your Desired Network

Start off with a simple thing you can do right within the report. Click on one of the social networks that is sending data to your site. This will send you one more level deep, showing the actual URLs that were shared and subsequently clicked on to get to your site.

shared urls from social network referrals report

This is a good way to understand which pages and posts are getting the most activity from network to network.

Take this one step further and combine all of the different social networks referring URLs into a spreadsheet. This will allow you to compare each network and the traffic they send to your site. Does Facebook outshine Twitter for a certain article? Let’s find out.

2. Break Out Social Networks by Campaign

Another quick step you can take right within the social network referrals report, is to pull-down a secondary dimension to expose “campaign”.

This shows you the campaign that any traffic is associated with. That being said, you may see a lot of “(not set)” if your traffic is organic and not associated with a campaign.

social network referrals report campaigns

If you are running campaigns within social, this is a great way of understanding their high-level traffic to your site. Seeing how many people are making it onto your site and combining that with answering the questions “are they staying?” and “how much content are they viewing?” will allow you to take the next steps in bettering that campaign, and your content.

Benefit of the Social Network Referrals Report

With social media now a staple in every company and all of our lives, this report is a great starting point to analyzing social data on your site. A lot of things happen in the social-sphere outside of our owned websites, but once users come onto your site, it is time to capitalize. Most selling happens there, so understanding user behavior that comes from social networks is a must. This report helps to start that analysis and conversation.

Chris Kujawski

Founder and instructor at Digital Metrics Guru.

A passionate and driven digital marketer, specializing in Google Analytics, Tag Manager and Data Studio. A qualified expert in Google Analytics and Adwords, with more than 10 years experience delivering sound solutions to clients worldwide.

View all posts

Add comment

Popular Videos