Demystifying Social Media Metrics: A Guide to Measuring ROI and Success
Social Media Analytics

Demystifying Social Media Data: A Guide to Measuring ROI and Success

24 February, 2024
16 min read
Tamara Biljman

As we move forward, measuring return on investment (ROI) from social media remains a vital part of marketing strategies. With social media platforms continuously evolving and new challenges arising, it's crucial for marketers to gauge the impact of their social media efforts effectively. In this article, we will explore the latest strategies and techniques to measure ROI from social media, taking into account the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing.

Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals has become even more crucial in today's dynamic environment. Marketers must define clear objectives that align with current trends to drive success through social media. Whether it's increasing brand engagement, driving website conversions, or enhancing customer satisfaction, setting goals that are specific, measurable, and relevant to the 2024 marketing landscape will ensure a focused and effective approach.

It's vital to gather relevant data from emerging social media platforms, along with established ones like Facebook and Instagram. Social media marketers should also consider leveraging platforms such as rapidly evolving  TikTok or trendy Lemon8 to capture valuable insights and measure ROI. By adapting data collection strategies to include these newer platforms, marketers can gain a comprehensive understanding of their social media performance.

What social media data should you collect

To showcase the impact of your social media strategies and ensure alignment with your clients and internal stakeholders in 2024, it's crucial to focus on specific data points that highlight ROI and overall success.

Here's a breakdown of the key social media data you should pay attention to:

  • Conversion metrics
  • Engagement metrics
  • Reach and Impressions
  • Brand sentiment and customer feedback
  • Influencer performance
  • Competitive analysis
  • Customised metrics

Conversion metrics

  • Track conversions driven by social media channels, including lead generation, website visits, and purchases.
  • Measure the conversion rate, cost per acquisition (CPA), and return on ad spend (ROAS) to demonstrate the effectiveness of your campaigns.
  • Analyse the customer journey from social media engagement to conversion, identifying touchpoints that contribute most to conversions.

Engagement metrics

  • Monitor engagement metrics such as likes, shares, comments, and retweets to gauge audience interaction and content resonance.
  • Look beyond vanity metrics and focus on meaningful engagement, like meaningful comments or shares from influential users.
  • Compare engagement metrics across different platforms and content types to understand what resonates best with your target audience.

Reach and Impressions

  • Assess the reach and impressions of your social media content to understand the potential audience exposure.
  • Determine the reach by analysing the number of unique users who saw your content, and track impressions to see how many times it was displayed.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your content distribution strategies and identify opportunities for expanding your reach.

Brand sentiment and customer feedback

  • Monitor sentiment analysis to gauge how your brand is perceived by analysing positive, negative, and neutral mentions.
  • Collect customer feedback through social media channels to understand satisfaction levels and identify areas for improvement.
  • Respond to customer feedback promptly and address any issues or concerns to foster positive brand sentiment.
turn-customer-feedback-into-social-media-posts-header

How to Turn Customer Feedback Into Amazing Social Media Posts for Your Clients

Influencer performance

  • If utilising influencer marketing, measure the impact of influencer collaborations on brand reach, engagement, and conversions.
  • Track key performance indicators (KPIs) specific to influencer campaigns, such as click-through rates (CTRs) and conversions attributed to influencers.
  • Assess the alignment between influencer content and your brand values to ensure a consistent brand image.

Competitive analysis

  • Conduct regular competitor analysis to benchmark your social media performance against industry peers.
  • Compare metrics like follower growth, engagement rates, and share of voice to gain insights into your competitive landscape.
  • Identify areas where you excel or lag behind competitors, enabling you to refine your strategies accordingly.

Customised metrics

  • Tailor your social media data analysis to specific business goals and objectives.
  • Define custom metrics aligned with your clients' needs and internal KPIs, focusing on outcomes that directly impact their bottom line.
  • Report on these metrics regularly and highlight how your strategies contribute to achieving their desired outcomes.

By leveraging these key social media data points, you'll be able to demonstrate the ROI and success of your strategies in 2024. Impress your clients with concrete evidence of how your campaigns drive conversions, engagement, and positive brand sentiment. Simultaneously, internally, you'll showcase the effectiveness of your efforts, providing the confidence that your social media strategies are on the right track for long-term success.

How to track growth on social media

To effectively measure results and track growth on social media, it's essential to establish a clear framework.

Here's how you can track growth in a meaningful way:

Step 1: Determine the timeframe

  • Choose the timeframe that aligns with your goals and objectives. Consider options such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, or even individual campaign durations.
  • If you're focused on short-term growth, opt for weekly or monthly comparisons. For long-term analysis, assess year-on-year growth.

In some cases, a combination of both approaches may be suitable.

  • Examples include comparing statistics for a specific period with the previous period (e.g., November 2023 compared to October 2023) or comparing statistics for a particular period with the same period from the previous year (e.g., November 2024 compared to November 2023).
  • Additionally, for new campaigns with no historical data, track metrics specific to the campaign's duration, such as a product launch campaign.

Step 2: Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

  • Clearly identify the KPIs that align with your business goals. These should be specific, measurable, and relevant to your social media strategy.
  • Common KPIs include engagement metrics (likes, shares, comments), conversions (leads, purchases), reach, impressions, and brand sentiment.
  • Align your KPIs with your overall objectives, whether it's increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, or boosting sales.
  • Prioritise a few key metrics that directly reflect progress towards your goals, rather than overwhelming yourself with numerous metrics.

Step 3: Gather relevant data

  • Collect data from social media analytics tools, platform insights, and third-party social media management tools like Sendible that provide comprehensive data for tracking your KPIs.
  • Ensure you have access to data points relevant to your chosen timeframe and KPIs.
  • Utilise platform-specific analytics tools and external tools to obtain a holistic view of your social media performance.

Step 4: Report and analyse results

  • Prepare regular reports to communicate your findings effectively.
  • Analyse the data to identify trends, patterns, and correlations between your social media efforts and the achieved results.
  • Look for actionable insights that can guide future strategies and optimisations.
  • Present the results in a visually appealing and easy-to-understand format, utilising charts, graphs, and narratives to convey the story behind the data.

By following these steps, you'll establish a robust system to track growth on social media effectively. It allows you to measure progress, adapt your strategies as needed, and demonstrate the value of your efforts to both clients and internal stakeholders.

How to gather and report on social media data

Once you're clear on what you want to measure, you'll need to start collecting the data and producing your reports. In this section, you'll learn how to gather and report on the data from the native social networks, Google Analytics, and Sendible's reporting hub.

Insights available natively on social media platforms

Each social media network provides insights and analytics to help you understand how your brand is performing. Let's take a look at some of the metrics available on each platform.

Facebook Insights

Facebook Insights provides a wealth of data to help you understand your audience engagement broken down into several sections. You can find plenty of information on your reach, engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares and clicks), as well as how your posts are performing in general.

Overview

The Overview section provides a 28-day snapshot of your Page’s performance:

facebook insights - overview section that includes metrics Post Reach, Post Engagement, New Page likes

  • Post Reach - The number of people who saw any of your posts at least once. Reach is different from impressions, which may include multiple views of your posts by the same people. This metric is estimated.
  • Post Engagement - The number of reactions, comments, shares and clicks on your posts.
  • New Page likes - The number of new likes of your Facebook Page.
  • Recent content - Recently published content with a quick overview of the reach and engagement.

Home

On the left sidebar, navigate to Home to get a bit more detailed Page overview for the last 28 days.

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Here you'll find important metrics such as the total number of followers, post reach, post engagement, new page likes, and new page followers.

After that, you'll find the top-performing post in the last 28 days, and the Content section lets you easily dive deep into all published content, both organic and paid.

Finally, the Audience section provides you with the number of followers and some basic demographics.

Page Overview

Just under the Home tab, you'll see the Page Overview. Navigate to this section to get a neat overview of the most important data collected for the pas 28 days.

demystifying-social-media-metrics-facebook-insights-page-overview

Content

Under the Content section, you'll be able to get a good grasp of your content performance. 

You can choose the timeframe (last 7, 28, 60, or 90 days) as well as the order of posts by date, reach, or engagement.

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For a more detailed analysis, just click on a post from the list to learn more about the specific metric you're interested in.

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Audience

Finally, navigate to Audience to learn more about the demographics of your followers.

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What are the most important Facebook metrics to track?

Of course, the answer to the question of what Facebook metrics to track will vary depending on your or your client's specific business objectives and metrics. However, in general, these are the metrics that tend to be most important:

  • Reach and impressions: Measure the number of unique users who saw your content and the total number of views.
  • Engagement metrics: Track likes, comments, shares, and clicks to understand how users are interacting with your content.
  • Audience demographics: Gain insights into the demographics and interests of your followers.

Instagram Insights

You can navigate to Instagram Insights either directly from your profile by tapping on the Professional Dashboard or by tapping on the hamburger menu at the top right and then tapping on the Insights option.

Account insights

The first thing you'll come across is the Account Insights section, which provides a comprehensive overview of the accounts that have been reached in the last 30 days, followed by a sneak peek of your top-performing post.

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Overview

To gain a better understanding of your content pillar strategy, you can expand the analytics by selecting a timeframe from the drop-down menu on the top left.

Then, you'll be able to see the number of Posts, Stories, and Reels you shared for the chosen period. It's easy to navigate each content type and dive deeper into the insights.

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Progress

Check out your overall performance trends for the past six months by clicking on the Progress tab located just below the overview section.

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Content

Click on the See all just next to the Content you've shared section to gain more insights.

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From here, you have the option to view all of your content or filter by specific post types. You can also sort your content by engagement level and choose your preferred metric, either Accounts Engaged or Accounts Reached.

demystifying-social-media-metrics-instagram-professional-dashboard-content-analytics-sort-by

What are the most important Instagram metrics to track?

Determining the most important Instagram metrics to track is a million-dollar question that depends entirely on your pre-set KPIs. However, here are some of the most popular metrics to keep an eye on:

  • Reach and impressions: Monitor the number of unique accounts that have viewed your posts and the total number of views.
  • Engagement metrics: Analyse likes, comments, and saves to gauge audience interaction and interest.
  • Saves: The number of times users have saved your posts, indicating high-value content.
  • Hashtag Performance: Track the performance of specific hashtags used in your Instagram posts, including impressions, reach, and engagement.
  • Story metrics: Assess views, taps forward/backward, and exits to evaluate the performance of your Instagram Stories.
  • Link Clicks: The number of times users have clicked on the link in your bio or swipe-up links in your Instagram Stories.

X (Twitter) Analytics

To access X (Twitter) Analytics, simply navigate to the left sidebar and click on More. Then, select Creator Studio from the drop-down menu and choose Analytics.

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Overview

This 28-day dashboard provides an overview of your top-performing Tweets and introduces you to the influencers in your network. It showcases high-level statistics and acts as a gallery of your most successful content.

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Tweet Activity

To access your tweet insights, head to the Tweets section on the top menu or click on View all Tweet activity under the Top Tweet section in the Overview.

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You'll have all the details on how many people have viewed, Retweeted, liked, and replied to your Tweets. Plus, you can filter by Promoted-only Tweets, adjust the date range, and export the data as a .CSV file.

More

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From the More drop-down menu located at the top bar, you can dive even deeper into data:

  • Video Activity Dashboard (VAD): The video activity dashboard provides you with valuable insights on retention, view rate, and completion rate for all of your X (Twitter) videos. You can even filter by promoted views and export the data as a .CSV file, while adjusting the date range to suit your needs.
  • Conversion tracking: Take your X (Twitter) advertising to the next level by setting up conversion tracking. This tool allows you to measure the actions your audience takes after viewing or engaging with your ads, giving you valuable insights into their customer journey. Don't miss out on this opportunity to optimise your return on ad spend.

What are the most important X (Twitter) metrics to track?

It's important to note that the choice of metrics to track depends on your specific social media objectives and KPIs. While certain metrics may be valuable for some, they may be considered vanity metrics for others. Nonetheless, here are some of the most commonly tracked metrics to consider:

  • Impressions: The total number of times your tweets were seen by users.
  • Engagements: The total number of interactions with your tweets, including likes, retweets, replies, and clicks.
  • Engagement Rate: The percentage of engagements compared to the number of impressions, indicating the level of interaction your tweets receive.
  • Followers: The number of users who follow your X (Twitter) account.
  • Reach: The total number of unique users who have seen your tweets.
  • Clicks: The number of times users have clicked on links or media included in your tweets.
  • Retweets: The number of times users have retweeted your tweets, amplifying your content to a wider audience.
  • Replies: The number of times users have replied to your tweets, indicating conversation and engagement.
  • Hashtag Performance: Track the performance of specific hashtags used in your tweets, including impressions, engagements, and reach.
  • Video Views: The number of times your videos have been viewed on X (Twitter).
  • Video Retention: Analyse how long viewers are watching your videos and identify any drop-off points.

LinkedIn Analytics

To get to LinkedIn Analytics, head over to your LinkedIn Page and click on the "Analytics" tab located at the top of the page. This will give you access to valuable insights on how your LinkedIn Page and its content are performing.

Once you're in, you can choose from a variety of overviews from the drop-down menu, including:

  • Visitors
  • Followers
  • Leads
  • Content
  • Competitors
  • Employee Advocacy

Visitors

Before diving into the data, choose the desired timeframe.

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  • Visitor highlights: This section provides valuable insights on the total number of page views and unique visitors over time, measured across both desktop and mobile for logged-in LinkedIn members. The number of unique visitors is calculated daily and not de-duplicated over multiple days.
  • Visitor metrics: This section offers helpful information on the number of unique visitors and page views over time, including those from LinkedIn's native apps and mobile web browsers. The number of unique visitors is calculated daily and not duplicated over several days, giving you a clear understanding of your page's performance.
  • Visitor demographics: You can discover more about the types of LinkedIn members who visit your page, including their job function, company size, industry, location, and seniority. This data is aggregated and segmented for your convenience.

Followers

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  • Follower highlights: You can keep track of your all-time followers as well as any new followers your LinkedIn page gains in the last 365 days.
  • Follower metrics: The number of fresh followers, including those acquired through Ads and Sponsored Content, are displayed in the Follower metrics section.
  • Follower demographics: Here you can find a breakdown of the different demographic groups among your LinkedIn page followers. The percentage shown represents the proportion of followers within each demographic out of the total number of followers with standardised demographics.
  • All followers: Here, you'll find the list of your page's current followers, sorted by recency.

Leads

Keep in mind that leads collected from your Page Home and Product pages are only available for 90 days after submission. Don't forget to check this data regularly and export it to stay up-to-date on your lead gen form's status.

Content

Keep track of how your organic and sponsored posts are performing over time with engagement metrics. These metrics show both aggregated data across all posts and individual post metrics. Sponsored metrics include both sponsored posts and Direct Sponsored Content.

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  • Metrics: You have the option to select which metric you want to explore in the Metrics section.
    • Impressions
    • Unique impressions
    • Clicks
    • Reactions
    • Comments
    • Reposts
    • Engagement Rate
  • Content engagement: For individual posts, engagement metrics are updated in real-time, and data for sponsored posts includes both organic and sponsored engagement. The time range filter applies to the dates when your posts were created, and all dates and times are in UTC. However, please note that video views are limited to the past six months.

Competitor analytics

Head to this section to see how your LinkedIn Page's follower and content metrics stack up against those of other Pages on the platform. Note that the time range filter doesn't affect the total number of followers or the top-performing competitor posts.

Here you'll see the comparison of follower metrics, as well as organic content metrics.

Employee Advocacy

Are you running an employee advocacy program? Amazing! This section provides valuable insights into how your employees are posting recommendations and how LinkedIn members are engaging with those posts.

What are the most important LinkedIn metrics to track?

Remember, the specific metrics you track will depend on your business objectives and the actions you want your LinkedIn Page to drive. By regularly monitoring metrics listed below, you can assess the effectiveness of your LinkedIn marketing strategy, make data-driven optimizations, and demonstrate the ROI of your LinkedIn efforts:

  • Conversions: Monitor the number of conversions resulting from your LinkedIn Page, such as form submissions, lead generation, or website purchases. This metric helps you gauge the direct impact of your LinkedIn efforts on driving valuable actions.

  • Click-through Rate (CTR): Track the percentage of clicks on your LinkedIn Page's posts or ads compared to the number of impressions. CTR indicates the effectiveness of your content in capturing audience interest and driving traffic to your desired destinations.

  • Engagement Rate: Measure the level of engagement on your LinkedIn Page, including likes, comments, and shares, as a percentage of impressions. A higher engagement rate signifies that your content is resonating with your audience and generating interest.

  • Follower Growth: Monitor the growth of your LinkedIn Page's follower base over time. While follower count alone may not directly indicate ROI, an increasing follower base can expand your reach and potential audience for future campaigns.

  • Lead Generation: Assess the number of leads generated through LinkedIn, such as form submissions, newsletter sign-ups, or contact requests. This metric helps evaluate the quality and effectiveness of your LinkedIn Page in generating actionable leads.

  • Post Reach: Measure the number of unique users who see your LinkedIn Page's posts. Increased reach indicates a broader audience exposed to your content and the potential for higher engagement and conversions.

  • Social Media Referral Traffic: Analyse the amount of traffic generated to your website from your LinkedIn Page. This metric provides insights into how well your LinkedIn efforts are driving visitors to your website and potentially converting them into customers.

  • Content Performance: Evaluate the performance of your individual posts and content. Track metrics such as impressions, clicks, engagement, and conversion rates specific to each piece of content to identify what types of posts are most effective in driving ROI.

TikTok Analytics

TikTok Analytics is a powerful tool that provides insights into the performance of your TikTok content, allowing you to optimise your strategy for maximum engagement and growth. With TikTok Analytics, you can track metrics such as views, likes, comments, shares, and follower growth, as well as monitor the trends and demographics of your audience.

Overview

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  • Follower Growth: Keep track of the growth of your follower base over the last 7, 28, or 60 days, or a custom date range of up to 60 days.
  • Video Views: Monitor the total number of views your videos received in the selected date range.
  • Profile Views: See how many times your TikTok profile has been viewed.
  • Likes, Comments, and Shares: Measure the number of likes, comments, and shares your videos received within the selected date range.

Content

  • Total Views: Get insights into the total number of views for each video you've posted.
  • Total Likes, Comments, and Shares: See the cumulative number of likes, comments, and shares for each video.
  • Average Watch Time: Measure the average duration viewers watch your videos.
  • Watched Full Video: Determine the percentage of viewers who watched the entire video.
  • Traffic Source Type: Identify where viewers found your videos, including your profile, the For You feed, and more.
  • Audience Territories: Explore the geographic distribution of your video's viewers.
  • Content metrics are available for the last 7 days only.

Followers

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  • Audience Demographics: Understand where your TikTok followers are from, their age, and gender.
  • Active Times: Discover the times of the day or week when your followers are most active on TikTok.
  • Follower Growth Change: Compare the change in follower growth with the previous period.
  • Profile Views: Track the number of times your TikTok profile has been viewed.

LIVE (for creators with LIVE access):

  • Total Views: Keep an eye on the total number of views on your live streams.
  • New Followers: Track the number of new followers gained during your live streams.
  • Total Time: Measure the total duration of your live streams.
  • Diamonds Earned: See the number of Diamonds earned in the last 7 or 28 days.

We know managing TikTok can be challenging, so we've created this handy TikTok management checklist!

maximise engagement with our free TikTok account management checklist.

Capturing social media data in Google Analytics

Google Analytics allows you to extend your data capture by tracking your website activity. For instance, you can see from which networks your visitors came, how long they stayed on your site, check which content they downloaded, and much more.

Let's take a look at a few metrics you could track.

Review all traffic to your website

Looking at all the traffic coming to your website allows you to compare social media with other channels and their performance. Access this area by logging into your Google Analytics account and navigating to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels:

Google Analytics all traffic by channel

Acquisition:

  • Sessions - The number of times when users are active on your site.
  • New sessions - The number of new users compared to returning users.
  • New users - The number of users coming to your site for the first time.

Behaviour:

  • Bounce Rate - The percentage of users leaving your site after a single page view.
  • Pages / Session - The average number of pages a user views each session.
  • Average Session Duration - The average time users spend on your site per visit.

Conversions:

  • Goal Conversion Rate - The percentage of conversions per channel.
  • Goal Completions - The total number of conversions.
  • Goal Value - The value of each conversion.

(More on Conversions and Goals below...)

Compare traffic from social media by network

The above metrics are all valid starting places for tracking overall website activity. But with Google Analytics, you can drill down further to get specific social media reports.

For example, you could click 'Social' from the available 'Channels' to display the social media data for each network:

Google Analytics traffic by social media network

Or, to save you time and help visualise the data, you could create a custom dashboard showing:

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  • Social Traffic Sessions
  • Social Traffic Time on Site
  • Social Traffic Pages per Visit
  • Social Traffic Popular Content
  • Social Traffic Campaigns and Conversions
  • Social Traffic by Network
  • Social Traffic Conversions by Network

Pro Tip: Here’s a guide to proving social media ROI and building your custom dashboard.

Analyse traffic for specific campaigns

The most accurate way to track traffic coming to your website is by adding UTM values to your links. When used correctly, UTM values show you:

  • Source - Where the traffic is coming from; e.g. Instagram, Facebook, X (Twitter).
  • Medium - How the traffic is coming to your website; e.g. social media, email.
  • Campaign - Why the traffic is coming to your website; e.g. the 'Product Launch Promo' campaign.

Pay attention to conversion rates

The best way to prove your ROI in Google Analytics is to use Goals and Conversions. You can create goals to track different leads such as newsletter subscribers, contact form submissions, content downloads, product trial signups, and, ultimately, new customers.

This way, you can learn much more about the anonymous traffic on your website to further optimise it.

Sendible's Reporting Hub

So far, you've seen metrics and insights from the native social media networks and Google Analytics. These data sources are all valid and useful when reporting on your successes.

But what if there was a way to combine the best of these sources in one place?

That's one of the benefits of using Sendible's reporting suite.

Reports Hub

The Reports Hub is available on all plans and gives you nine ready-to-go social media reports for an instant snapshot of your social data.

The area includes one overall 'Engagement' report that provides insights into your combined audience, post engagements, posts, and mentions across all the channels you manage. 

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Custom reports

You can take advantage of our Custom Reports feature to create reports that showcase your brand and demonstrate ROI through over 100 modules. Our drag-and-drop report builder makes it easy to tailor your reports to each client and provide them with valuable insights.

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Automated reports

Make reporting on success a breeze for your clients by automating reports to be sent to key stakeholders, team members, and clients on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This saves time and ensures everyone is up-to-date with the latest insights.

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Website traffic reporting with Google Analytics

Our Google Analytics report can help you understand how your social media content is affecting website visits. By identifying which social channels are driving the most traffic, you can focus your efforts on the most effective strategy.

Wrapping it up

Don't worry, finding and gathering social media data for your reports is a breeze once you know what to look for.

Once you've determined your method for tracking and reporting your brand's growth, you can easily extract the necessary data from the best sources and showcase your performance.