Tracking Revenue from Facebook Visitors using Google Analytics Goals

Published February 4, 2015
You use Facebook to build a loyal brand following and to drive traffic to the content on your website. As previously covered in our article on tracking Facebook users with Google Analytics there is a lot of information to be gleaned in your analytics about who these users are and how they are engaging with your content.
However, as a savvy marketer, you want to do more than simply track Facebook users. You want to look at the value Facebook is helping to drive for your brand.
In this post, we’ll look at how you can define conversions that have a monetary value. These conversions can be connected directly with dollar amounts in Google Analytics using Ecomerce Tracking or Goal Values. We look at using Goal Values to attribute revenue to conversions from Facebook traffic.

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Setting Up a Goal with a Value

To attribute revenue to Facebook users, first set up a Goal that includes a value. As an example, we’ll use a brand that uses social media to not only drive users to the content on its site, but also to promote the purchase of an eguide. Users find out about the eguide through direct social posts, as well as promotion within site content.

First, set up a Goal to include a value. Start by going to the Admin screen in Google Analytics, choosing the View you’d like to use and select Goals under that view. Next, choose “New Goal” and begin to specify your parameters.


Google Analytics Goal Setup with Value


For our example site, any time a user purchases the eguide they land on a “thank you” page. We will set our Goal to register anytime this page is reached. In addition, we’ll turn on the Value option, denoting the $20 cost of the eguide.

Now, whenever we look at results from this Goal, we will also see the total revenue tracked as Conversion Value.

Viewing Revenue from Facebook

To specifically view revenue from Facebook, go to Acquisition > Social > Conversions. At first, you’ll see total numbers for all Goals. You’ll want to select a specific Goal using the Conversion dropdown above the graph.


Google Analytics Selecting a Goal for Social Conversions Report


For this scenario, we’ll choose the eguide purchase as our Goal by selecting its checkbox. After applying this to the report, we’ll now see social networks, Conversions and Conversion Value filtered specifically to show eguide purchases.


Google Analytics Reporting Conversions from Social Networks


Here, we see Facebook without question tops the list of social networks for eguide purchases, driving more than 100 sales and over $2,000 in revenue. Clearly, Facebook contributes not only traffic to the site, but traffic that converts, and it plays the largest role by far out of social networks in contributing to revenue for this site.

How Does Facebook Stack Up?

That last report showed Facebook’s revenue contribution compared to other social networks. It did not reflect how Facebook’s performance compares to that of the site as a whole. We don’t know how the total value compares to the value driven by other channels, such as search.

To compare the performance of specific sources, look at the All Traffic > Source/Medium report.


Google Analytics Conversion by Source/Medium


In this report, we’ve filtered the conversion columns at the right to display the eguide purchase. First, we see a lot of direct traffic, which can include anything from people accessing the site directly, to untracked organic search, to improperly tracked email campaigns.

Unfortunately, we don’t know the source of this direct traffic, but we can see that Google organic traffic appears to be the next most significant contributor to eguide purchases. We also see Facebook represented separately by (desktop site) and (mobile site). To better compare Facebook with other sources, we’ll create a segment that will aggregate all Facebook traffic.

To do this, we’ll start by selecting “Add Segment” above the graph in the Analytics reporting interface.


Google Analytics Creating a Segment


Next, we’ll select the red “New Segment” button and move on to define our segment’s parameters.


Google Analytics Creating a New Segment


Within the box that appears, we’ll go to Traffic Sources, choose to Filter Sessions and set the Source to contain “facebook.” As you can see, Facebook referrals include a number of possible URLs, so we group these together in one segment.


Google Analytics Creating a new Segment


After naming and saving the segment, we can now apply it to our Google Analytics view. We’ll also select the All Sessions segment so we can easily compare Facebook’s performance with overall metrics for the site. In addition, we’ll add an Organic Traffic segment, included by default in Google Analytics, to compare metrics with what we saw to be the largest driver of purchases, apart from Direct.


Google Analytics comparing several segments


Now, we can see metrics stacked up for All Sessions, Facebook and Organic Traffic, once again with the eguide purchase selected as our Goal in the conversion columns. We’ve also narrowed to a slightly shorter timeframe because of the volume of data affecting accuracy when looking at multiple segments.

In this timeframe, we note that people from Facebook were just as likely to purchase the eguide as people from organic search, shown by the conversion rate being the same (.14 percent). However, since organic search received nearly twice as many sessions, it also received twice the number of conversions.

From this data, we can determine the traffic coming from Facebook is just as valuable as that coming from organic search, but at a lower volume. This conclusion is quite significant, since many sites see Facebook contributing to branding but not directly to sales. Also note that Facebook shows lower engagement, with a higher bounce rate, fewer Pages/Session and lower Average Session Duration than organic search while still converting at the same rate. This means that lower engagement does not always equal lower revenue from a traffic source.

We also note that sales from Facebook referrals account for around 10% of the website’s total sales for this product. In seeing the value of Facebook traffic, this site’s owner could push to more heavily promote the eguide to Facebook followers to raise this percentage. Of course, maintaining a balance between building a relationship with your brand’s followers and direct selling becomes an important factor.


As shown in this post, Facebook can clearly contribute directly to revenue. The extent to which Facebook traffic can drive revenue for your site depends on your industry, your social media strategy, and your content. Google Analytics provides features that enable you to track this revenue by setting up Goals with dollar amounts of value attached and then looking at Goal performance by source.

Comparing Facebook to other traffic sources reveals its relative importance as a source of revenue. If your Facebook traffic isn’t contributing significantly to revenue, you may want to start identifying opportunities to promote your products directly to your audience on Facebook.


When the client first came to you, you talked up the value of Google Analytics. You emphasized the importance of seeing where your traffic was coming from. You went on and on about how Google Analytics can show traffic sources to pinpoint whether people came from search, social media or a specific site referral, and how valuable this data was. You sold them on it, so much so that your client looked forward to receiving that first report, the magical day when they would finally understand where visitors were coming from.
But then the report came, and it looked like this:



It showed that 10% of your client’s traffic came from “(direct)/(none)”. What does this label mean? How do you explain Direct traffic to your client? Better yet, how do you explain “none”?
Let’s take a closer look at understanding Direct traffic in Google Analytics and how we can address it with clients.
Digital marketers spend a lot of time focused on PPC and SEO campaigns in order to drive desirable traffic to a website. The phrases we’re ranking for and bidding on get meticulous attention, so much so that we often forget about some of the other ways that visitors find us.

We put a tremendous amount of the effort we put into reviewing organic search data and PPC campaign performance in analytics. But how closely do we monitor referral reports?

If that’s not a channel you review regularly, you may be missing out on seeing traffic that is coming directly from links you’ve obtained around the web, local business listings, news mentions, and more. Many times, links are only considered as a means to an end, a metric that Google uses in determining how to rank sites in the SERPs (search engine results pages). But the fact is, many of a site’s links may be directly contributing to its traffic.

In this article, we’ll review how to look at referral reports in Google Analytics, and some of the many ways to use that data to better inform your web marketing decisions.


Remember how your mom told you not to stand too close to the television because it might hurt your eyes?

The same rules can apply to data. If you’re too close, you may miss the patterns and trends that are crucial to understanding your website’s performance. You can’t judge a site’s performance looking at data in the bubble of a single day, you must consider any day’s traffic compared to the days before and after.

Google Analytics makes it fairly easy to analyze trends over long periods of time. But it also allows you to stand right in front of that TV, to look at more granular levels of time, right down to the hour.
There’s a better way to get that close to the data, without burning your retinas. We’ll cover how to analyze traffic effectively in today’s post.