Andrew Bruce Smith, Director, Escherman

Google Analytics is ubiquitous – 86% of British businesses have installed it, even if they’re not all using it. It’s free to install – but the true cost is in understanding how to get the most out of it. And it can prove the direct and indirect value of social media.

When you login, you are confronted with a default screen. Social is probably buried in the referral traffic. When you look at it, most people assume that search and PPC drive the most traffic. To get the most out of Google Analytics’ attribution tracking, you need to define some goals. ANY event that happens on a website can be a goal. Few people really define the purpose of a site. Do that, set goals and assign values to them.

Social media has a marriage problem – the priest gets 100% of the credit for the marriage under the last click model. What about the guy who introduced them? Or the restaurant where he proposed? These are the factors you’re looking to draw out.

Those companies that do this see that social is an assistive medium, not a closing one. It’s often an early part of a valuable pattern. One ecommerce site got the majority of its traffic from search – but social delivered people with a higher propensity to buy. If they’d turned off social, their sales would have fallen off a cliff.

We can move away from focusing on top line numbers, and start couching the business case for investing in social media, because you can track both direct and indirect value from social activity.

People rarely take your brand value at face value – that’s when they turn to social. That’s why it’s an assistive medium. People don’t just click on a link and think “I’ll buy that” – but attribution analysis shows that downgrading investment in it is unwise.