What Is Social Traffic? (+ How to See It in Google Analytics 4)

On 02 May 2022

Social media is now among the most important marketing channels out there. In fact, some businesses rely heavily on their social media networks to run their business, find clients and customers, and even book appointments or make sales. 

Understanding how much traffic is coming from your social channels is increasingly important because it will allow you to identify areas that need improvement. But, what is social traffic? We take a closer look at the definition of social traffic and how to see it in Google Analytics 4 (GA4). 

What Is Social Traffic?

Social traffic is all of the traffic that comes to your website from social media channels. If a person clicks on a link in a social media network and arrives on your site, this would be considered social traffic. Some of the most popular social media channels include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok
  • LinkedIn

And, the list goes on…

The Benefits of Using Social Media for Marketing

Social media is everywhere. People use it on their phones, laptops, and tablets to communicate with friends, find products, research companies, and even leave reviews. Having a social presence is becoming increasingly important in most industries. Here’s why:

Increased Brand Awareness

Social media is among the best ways to increase your brand’s online presence. Using social media as part of your marketing strategy will allow you to reach a broader, international audience at a relatively low cost. 

Low-Cost Marketing Channels

Social media is a cost-effective way of building brand awareness. The majority of channels allow you to create a business profile for free. Moreover, by simply asking your colleagues, friends, and family to share and like your page, you will increase awareness of your brand significantly. 

While you can create your accounts for free, paid ads such as Facebook ads, are a great way to target your content to reach your desired audience, thus boosting your brand awareness where it matters most. 

Improved Trust, Authority, & Brand Loyalty

When it comes to creating a loyal client and customer base, brand trust, authority, and loyalty are a must. Posting relevant and informative content on social media creates a higher level of credibility and trust with your audience. 

In addition to the above, social media allows your audience to contact you more easily, opening up communication channels and giving your customer support team a chance to work their magic and potentially make more sales. Lastly, your audience is more likely to share your content on their personal profiles, further boosting your authority and credibility within your industry. 

Increased Inbound Traffic

Social media is a melting pot of people from across the world, making it one of the best sources of new inbound traffic. By creating relevant social media profiles across different networks and posting credible content targeted to address your audience’s pain points, you’re opening the door to a whole new client base. 

More Opportunities for Conversions

Social media networks help humanize a brand by giving your audience the chance to communicate with you naturally via direct messaging, comments, likes, and shares. People like doing business with people. And, by providing them with easy access to your content, your team, and your products, you’re more likely to see a boost in conversions and, of course, sales. 

Where Do You See Social Traffic in Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 allows you to take a deeper dive into your traffic so that you can establish which marketing channels are working well for you and which strategies need adjusting. GA4 allows you to identify how much traffic your website receives from social media channels. It can also tell you exactly which social media traffic sources your visitors come from.

Checking Social Traffic

Google collects traffic that comes from social media channels and collates it under a label called Social Traffic. Here’s how you can check how much of your website traffic comes from social media platforms:

Step 1: Head over to your Google Analytics 4 dashboard and click on ‘Reports’.

Step 2: Next, click on ‘Acquisition’, followed by ‘Traffic Acquisition’ in the drop-down list. 

Step 3: On the following page, choose the date range for which you would like to see social media traffic and go to the bottom of the page. In the drop-down list on the top left of the table, choose ‘Session default channel grouping’. Here, you will see ‘Social Traffic’. In this row, you will be able to see how many users, sessions, and engaged sessions come from social media channels, among a wealth of other information relevant to this traffic source. 

Identifying the Exact Sources of Your Social Traffic 

In addition to identifying how much social traffic comes to your website, GA4 can help you identify which exact channels your traffic is coming from. To see which social media networks your traffic is coming from, you should:

Step 1: Follow steps 1 and 2 above. Then, on the Traffic Acquisition page, choose your preferred date range and scroll down the page to the table of data. Here, in the top left corner of the table, choose ‘Session source’ from the drop-down list. This will tell you exactly which social sources your website traffic is coming from.

Step 2: From here, you can analyze the various sources to identify which ones are social media channels.

Improving Social Traffic

Boosting your social traffic starts with increasing engagement on your social media channels. It’s worth mentioning, however, that if you choose to use social media (which you probably should), you need to be in it for the long haul. It takes commitment to grow a following but, once you do, you’ll acquire a loyal audience that will sing your praise at every opportunity. Here are some tips for growing your social channels, and in turn, your social traffic:

Post Content Regularly

As mentioned above, the key to social media growth is consistency. Posting unique content across your social media channels on a regular basis is the first step to growing an audience. But, it’s also important that you link this content to your website to see a growth in social traffic. 

Some platforms, like Instagram, only allow you to add a link in your bio. With this in mind, be sure to use up your 30 hashtags in every post in order to reach a broader audience. By sparking interest with your social media posts, your audience is more likely to click the link in the bio, thus boosting your social traffic. 

Use Visuals Where Possible

Visual elements are a sure-fire way of catching your audience’s eye. Whether you’re in marketing, nutrition, photography, finance, or any other industry, there is always a way to make your content more exciting and interesting with the help of visual aids. Here are some tips that are applicable to most industries:

  • Use vibrant colors
  • Create well-designed layouts
  • Highlight your products or services in your imagery
  • Use high-quality photography

Don’t Leave Your Audience Hanging

Your audience will hate nothing more than not getting an answer from you. Whether it’s a comment or a direct message, it’s important that you acknowledge when someone engages with your content. If you receive a comment, reply to it or like it, and if you receive a direct message, see that your customer support team provides them with answers to their questions. 

Make Your Content Easy to Share

Social media channels offer the option to share content from other pages. With this in mind, it’s important that you give your content click-worthy titles that intrigue your audience. The more engaged they are with your content, the more likely they are to share it on their pages. 

In addition to the above, you should give your audience the chance to share your content from your website on their social channels. There are now a wealth of plugins you can use to make your blog posts shareable. These buttons should be mobile-friendly and easily accessible. 

Harnessing the Powers of Social Media Ads

Social media ads, specifically Facebook ads, are a great way to build trust, awareness, credibility, and loyalty for your brand. With Facebook ads, you can target every aspect of your ad campaign from gender to location, age, hobbies, and more. 

Because of these highly targeted efforts, you’re more likely to reach your desired audience, thus increasing engagement, leads, and of course, sales. 

Alternative Forms of Traffic 

Social traffic isn’t the only traffic to look out for. Google Analytics 4 also allows you to view:

  • Organic traffic is the traffic that comes from someone clicking on the organic results on search engine results pages (SERPs). This should not be confused with traffic from Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads which are the pages at the top of the SERPs that say ‘Ad’ to the left of the title of the page. 
  • Paid traffic refers to all of the traffic that comes from your paid ad campaigns. This includes everything from your social media ads to your PPC ads as well as any other advertisements you are currently running online. 
  • Direct traffic is the traffic that comes from people inputting your website URL directly into their web browser. Typically, this traffic comes from people that already know your site or that are part of your team.
  • Referral traffic comes from other websites. Simply put, if a blog or web page links to your website and someone clicks on it, GA4 would consider this referral traffic. 

Visit Spark Traffic to Learn More About Google Analytics 4 & How to Use It

As of January 2022, there are almost 4 billion social media users worldwide. With this in mind, it’s essential that you incorporate social media in your marketing strategy and learn to analyze your data correctly in GA4 in order to reach this growing population.

Want more tips on how to use Google Analytics 4 to boost your marketing efforts? Contact our support team at [email protected].