I started in the traditional public relations world where earned media was king and paid media was rarely part of my communications campaigns for clients.
Fast forward a good six years, and I’m now a firm believer that when done strategically, combining paid, owned and earned media can create profound results for a company. You are actually doing a disservice to your company or client if you don’t understand the difference between and benefits of these various forms of media. When crafting your marketing budget, paid online media should absolutely be a consideration.
Going back to the “when done strategically” part, I want to be sure you’re aware of a powerful little tool called Google Analytics URL Builder and how you can utilize it when you’re doing Facebook promoted posts. URL Builder is a nifty, free tool that lets you build URLs for custom campaigns. Want to know how a particular link performs when shared through social channels? Of course you do! URL Builder lets you do just that.
Follow the simple steps below, and boom, you have yourself a custom URL that is trackable and syncs with your site’s Google Analytics. To find the data in Google Analytics, go to Traffic Sources –> Sources –> Campaigns. Once your link generates clicks and it loads into your analytics, you’ll be able to get typical Google Analytics data (visits, pages/visits, bounce rate, etc.).
Now, how and why to use this with a Facebook promoted post. Here’s what we recently did for a client. We were helping to promote a nonprofit client’s event, and we wanted to target young adults because there was a lower ticket price for 21-30-year-olds. We created a promoted post that spoke to that audience and used URL Builder to create a unique URL that took people to the ticket page on the website.
Now, Facebook data will show you how many people your post reaches and how many clicks there are on a photo with the post, but creating a unique URL with URL Builder will tell you how many people who saw that promoted post actually took an action and clicked the link.
You could always look at referral traffic in Google Analytics on the day you did the post, and if you see a spike in Facebook traffic, you could naturally assume it was due to the promoted post. But, why guess? Using the custom URL lets you know exactly how many people came to that page on your site thanks to the promoted post. Then, when your boss or client asks “Why are we messing with Facebook promoted posts?”, you can easily say, “Well, we spent X amount on a promoted post and it drove X amount of traffic to our desired page.” You could even get smarter and figure out what those people did once they came to that page from Facebook, but that’s a topic for a whole different post!
Doesn’t sound too complicated, right? Now, the fun part is figuring out how else you can use URL Builder to track your online efforts. The options are endless!
If you’ve used URL Builder in a strategic and smart way, feel free to share in the comments.