Making Social Media Referral Metrics Actionable

Examining referral traffic metrics can be greatly beneficial if you use them to review and adjust your activities.

In a word, they need to be actionable.

And to adjust effectively, you first need a clear understanding of your strategy and objectives.

One of our key objectives is to increase traffic to our website, Using Google Analytics, our team reviews social media referral traffic, not only from our proactive social media posts, but also from posts by consumers.

Facebook and Twitter were our top social media referral sites to in Q1 of this year. Facebook accounted for about 78 percent and Twitter about 7 percent. This strongly suggests we should focus more energy on Facebook.

Our third leading social media referrer was StumbleUpon, which accounted for about 6 percent of traffic, just behind Twitter. StumbleUpon referrals to our website went up by about 125 percent in Q1 2017 compared with the previous quarter.

Our efforts on Twitter far outweigh those on StumbleUpon. In fact, we do not have a proactive StumbleUpon team strategy. If this much traffic comes to our website from StumbleUpon organically, what would happen if we had a proactive strategy on this platform?

At a minimum, if we don’t know what StumbleUpon is, we should familiarize ourselves. Or, perhaps we might decide to dial back our Google Plus and Pinterest efforts, in order to devote more time toward a proactive StumbleUpon strategy.

Reviewing metrics regularly helps to raise these issues for our team to consider. We may not take action if the site in question doesn't lend itself to organizational participation.

But if we don't review the metrics we won't even perceive the possibilities.

Generating appointment requests from social media traffic is another strategic priority. In Q1 2017, Facebook was the dominant social media referrer for appointment requests. Next up was Wikihow, which has seen a steady increase over the past year, followed by Yelp. As a result, our team may decide to explore whether reallocation of effort toward Wikihow and Yelp makes sense and whether proactive engagement on those platforms by our team could generate additional requests.

YouTube Referral Traffic - Analytics SectionIf Google Analytics or other data on your website is not available to you, my suggestion to know your referral traffic still applies on social media sites. For example, there is an entire Traffic Sources section on YouTube analytics, which can help you understand how people are finding your videos. You can see whether people are finding your videos more through YouTube searches or external sites. You can see what search terms people are using in YouTube to find your content, and this may help you identify whether your content meets their needs and whether you have optimal tags on your content. You can compare whether more of your YouTube traffic is coming from Google searches, Facebook, your website, or other websites. If other websites are driving a lot of traffic, you may identify lucrative key influencers to cultivate.

I hope these examples encourage you to review social media referral traffic metrics, and to consider how to make them actionable.

How have you used referral traffic metrics to make changes?

Makala Arce is a Senior Communications Specialist at Mayo Clinic, and is a member of the Social and Digital Innovation (Star Wars) team.

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In a word, social media referral metrics need to be actionable.
Social media referral metrics can be greatly beneficial, provided you actually use them.
If you never review your social media referral metrics you'll never even glimpse the possibilities.

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