Creating a Social Media Traffic Report in Google Analytics 4

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You can find the social media traffic report relatively easily in Google Analytics Universal Analytics. You might know that you can find a few default, out-of-the-box reports in Universal Analytics. 

You can find it in the left navigation under Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels and drilling down into social. You can go to Acquisition > Social > Overview or Network Referrals. 

It’s not so easy in Google Analytics 4. Social media traffic is rolled up into another traffic acquisition reporting in Google Analytics 4. 

There are two options to finding the social media traffic data in Google Analytics 4. You can either use an audience comparison–what is known as a segment in Universal Analytics–or you can create an Explore report using the free form option.

There are a few differences between the two options.

The audience comparison requires you to recreate it every time you remove it, and the process is quite manual as it requires a lot of clicks to create the reporting view, depending on how many social networks you want to include in your report.

Creating an Explore report provides you with data you can refer to again and again without having to recreate it. You can also add different data visualizations since Google Analytics 4 offers a couple chart options in the Explore reports.

Watch the video:

Creating Audience Comparison for Social Media Traffic

At the top, click on “Add comparison”. For the dimension, type “Source”, go down and select “Session source”.

Adding audience comparison Google Analytics 4

In this method, you have to type in all of the social media networks that you want to include in your report.

For example, type in “facebook”, “instagram”, etc., select your sources, and click apply.

Configuring audience comparison Google Analytics 4

You can compare this audience to other audiences or remove the other one(s) and only view the social media traffic in the reporting view.

The traffic acquisition report will show you metrics including but not limited to:

  • users from each of the social networks
  • the number of sessions
  • engaged sessions
  • average engagement time per session 

The issue with these audience comparisons is that they’re only good for when you want to analyze or to explore something on the spot. Something might pop into your head that peaks your curiosity. 

You’re not able to save these comparisons. One of the signs is that you’re not able to name the comparison. You’ll notice that when you over the comparison, it just gives you the conditions of the comparison.

If you remove the comparison that you added, it goes back to the default, all users. If you click on “Add comparison” again, see that you have to start over and re-configure the conditions.

Configuring Basic Setting for Social Media Explore Report

The other option for obtaining social media traffic data is to create an Explore report. In the left menu bar with the icons, click on Explore, which is the second icon, and click on Free form to start a new exploration report.  

For the exploration name, name it something appropriate like, Social Media Traffic Report. Under the variable settings, add a dimension for source. Move it over to the rows in the tab settings.

Variables & Tab Settings Google Analytics 4

In the tab settings column, go down to filters and add one for source. Select the match type for regex, which stands for regular expression. Use the following regex for the source filter:

(.*\.|)(facebook|instagram|linkedin|pinterest|twitter|t)(\.(com|co|)|)$

Tab Filter Google Analytics 4

The regex looks for top-level domains and subdomains for each of the values. If you want to add any other social media networks, do so in the second set of parentheses and click apply. 

The report updates the report and you can see the social networks that are bringing traffic to your web property with the number of active users for each in this time frame. You can name the tab appropriately.

Add Other Charts to Your Social Media Traffic Report

The free form report allows you to add some data visualizations. Duplicate your tab by clicking on the drop down next the the title of your tab and select duplicate.

 If you go to your tab settings and click on any of the icons to change the report.

Free form data viz Google Analytics 4

There’s the donut chart so you can view the percentages of traffic by different social networks.

Google Analytics 4 donut chart

The line chart will give you social media traffic over time.

Google Analytics 4 line chart by Growth Learner

If you have a lot of domains in your regex for the filter, the line chart can get pretty messy. It can still help you identify trends and attribute spikes or dips to certain events. 

The bar chart is similar to the data table except it simplifies the data table.

Google Analytics 4 bar chart by Growth Learner

Another good chart to add is the geo map chart.

Google Analytics 4 geo map by Growth Learner

You can see the locations that are sending the most social media traffic.

Other Settings in Your Free Form Report

In the variables column, you can change the time frame and compare it to another date.

Google Analytics 4 date range by Growth Learner

You should also check the top right corner for sampling. If you hover over the right-most icon, you can view the sampling rate. A green icon with a checkmark indicates the report is based on 100% of all data.

Google Analytics 4 Free form Sampling by Growth Learner

It’s also useful to look at the data around engagement. Add these to your report by clicking on the plus sign in the metrics section under the variables column. Search for “engage” and you’ll a list of engagement metrics:

Google Analytics 4 engagement metrics by Growth Learner

Finding Your Social Media Traffic Report

You can find your social media traffic report back on the Explore main page. That’s where it’ll live so you can keep coming back to analyze the data. 

If you have configured the tracking in Google analytics 4, you can include reporting tabs for events and conversions.

Conclusion

Though social media engagement may not be as tangible as a traditional company’s revenues and earnings, the use of social media provides a valuable opportunity for companies to improve their brand, promote new products or services, and interact with their customers. The way in which a company chooses to engage with a customer on social media is a direct reflection of how it perceives its relationship with them.

If you have a conversion funnel set up, you can still attribute conversions or sales to social media with working campaigns. 

It’s not so simple to find social media traffic data in Google Analytics 4, but there are ways you can obtain the data that you want and find insights.

If you’re looking for Google Analytics support, take a look at the help available at Fiverr.

AUTHOR: Isaiah Stone

Isaiah Stone is a digital analyst in the consumer goods industry. He is fascinated with productivity, business growth, and accomplishing more.