Posts

Klout score alternatives Kred, Skorr

Klout is dead. What are the social score alternatives?

The epic Klout score, acquired by the digital marketing company Lithium for 200 million, has been killed.

 

What was Klout

“Klout was a website and mobile app, launched in 2008, that used social media analytics to rate all social media users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score”, which is a numerical value between 1 and 100. In determining the user score, Klout measured the size of a user’s social media network and correlated the content created to measure how other users interact with that content.” (Wikipedia, 25-05-2018).

Klout changed from a pure scoring tool to a publishing tool. Not everyone was confident about the reliability of its scores though.

Lithium Technologies, who acquired the site in March 2014, announced in May 2018 that they would end the service on May 25, 2018. The service was shut down on May 25, 2018, the same day GDPR came into force – my latest score was 66/100.

Klout score shut down. The alternatives

Remembering Klout

On May 25th 2018 the following note has been published on klout.com:

“The Klout acquisition provided Lithium with valuable artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities, but Klout as a standalone service is not aligned with our long-term business strategy. We appreciate the loyal Klouters out there who stuck with us all these years – keep influencing!”

According to the blogger Paul Colmer, Klout could have been shut down also because it wasn’t fully compliant with GDPR, the new EU General Data Protection Regulation that is resulting very painful for many businesses. Lithium, after all, was only interested in its technology and know-how for its business, whilst Klout itself didn’t seem to be profitable.

 The alternatives to Klout score

Kred

There are two alternatives. One is Kred, on the market for a few years, that will be relaunched the 11th June.

Skorr

The other, launched very recently and less known, is called Skorr. It doesn’t seem reliable like Klout but it might improve in the future. You can check out my social skorr, download the app and check yours.

Facebook to discard Conversion Tracking Pixel in the second half of 2016

Features of Facebook Pixel

All digital advertisers that are currently using Conversion Tracking pixels have to move to Pixel by the second half of 2016.

 pixel is a better solution for both building Custom Audiences (e.g. remarketing) and tracking any conversion (see image).

Custom Audience pixel will remain. However, it is advised to move to the new Pixel that enables to build everything.

The FB pixel can be implemented through Google Tag Manager or other tag management services, covering all pages of the website(s) along the customer journey.

There is no need to create and implement multiple Pixels as one can be shared among different Ad Accounts. Consequently, Custom Audiences and Custom Conversions can be created directly into each Ad Account according to specific needs.

* the Conversion tracking pixel will be disabled by the second half of 2016 as announced by .

Top engagement drivers: how to get viral on Facebook

 

How to boost Facebook organic reach

Page Insights, among other things, help to identify what is the most engaging content for your audience. Some content gets viral, while other doesn’t get noticed at all.

Every content is a meme: some memes survive, going viral or being the source of new memes, while other doesn’t get noticed at all and disappear.

In this sense, are not only a memetic machine, with their constant production or reproduction of memes, but also a memetic cemetery (despite some memes of the past can always come back to life, under any circumstance).

This analysis is neither exhaustive nor definitive but tries to offer an overview over factors that affect the viral reach of Facebook posts, either on pages or profiles.

Results are summarised in the above scheme that is the outcome of frequent observations through different Facebook pages.

Why do we post?

The scheme starts from publisher’s intentions, either posting as an individual or for an organisation/brand.

Drivers of our publishing activity could be divided into three main, groups:

  1. Individualism – it tells how we feel or how we want to represent ourselves to the world (or, at least, our audience)
  2. Altruism – it is probably the most valuable content because it is aimed at creating/sharing value with the audience
  3. Opinion – this can be the outcome of either an individual attitude or a wish to start/join a conversation and affect the public opinion

Most of what we post contains elements of any of the above factors.

Content focus: individual vs. general

While Individualism can be categorised as material embedding a personal element and focusing on the poster (e.g. a selfie), the other two categories (Altruism and Opinion) relate to the external environment (e.g. tech, politics, sport, arts, science, culture in general, etc.).

Unless talking about VIP’s (including social stars, even in very narrow fields) or well-known brands that despite talking about themselves have a strong influence on the external environment, general content has more chances to get viral than the individual.

Engagement factors

The expected consequent actions (reactions) made by our audience, will increase the reach of our content: this is the viral effect, an enormous benefit because it does not cost anything, differently than promoted posts. Quality has value.

To get a high viral reach, it is important to engage people that are social stars, since their actions on your posts usually are more effective regarding reach, but, in general, every little helps.

  • Individualist content might be shared because of Empathy
  • Altruist content can be multiplied when it is perceived as Useful
  • Opinions tend to encourage Participation (either with a positive or negative feedback)

The actions that we expect from this are likes for an individualist content, share for a useful altruist content and comment for an opinion that drives participation.

How to categorise Facebook posts: some examples

We can try to attribute each content we see on Facebook to one of the following three categories and imagine what can be the expected reaction.

  • Individualism: selfies, feelings, travel, self-made content, etc.
  • Altruism: pets, recipes, reviews, guides, invitations, etc.
  • Opinion: politics, violence, VIPs, activism, etc.

Some content stays in between two or even all three categories. For example, a video clip of a song can be posted to represent a personal feeling (individualism) and at the same time to help other people discover that particular content (altruism) and express an opinion that reflects the lyrics (opinion).

Support for a political leader/movement or complaints towards a brand/company’s customer services can be categorised as opinions and can have a follow up made of supporting (or detracting) comments – and relative comment-likes and comment-tags.

A selfie is an individualist content, while an is (or, at least, try to be) an act of altruism that hopefully is perceived as useful and then multiplied by being liked and shared.

Affinity to your average audience increases engagement

Everyone has a different personality and Facebook knows that. Thinking of Lookalike audiences, we have to post with our audience in mind, more than content.

Knowing our audience enables to build an ideal average that should be our main content driver. The affinity of our content to our audience’s expectations is a core virality factor.

A Facebook Page with a very generic audience tends to have fewer occasions to gets its content viral due to high engagement-rate, while as opposite, content posted on a Page whose audience is very narrow and specialised can get viral with a high engagement-rate.

All factors count

Often many pages publish great content too generic and informative: its engagement-rate (and consequently its organic reach) will be very low.

Some content is too cold (for example a link to a technical guide) or too personal (for example a personal status about facts of little interest for the audience) or too introvert (something that nobody or very few people can understand or care of).

To get viral on Facebook, content need to be a mix of all factors proposed in the scheme [ individualism + altruism + opinion ] paying attention to audience’s closeness (including language and jargon) and possibly enriching text with hashtags if the content is about places, brands or trending topics.

Write your content (make it original), try to disseminate value – a strong factor, usually appreciated by your audience – and don’t forget to express your point of view because Facebook is a conversational platform after all.

Something missing: the dark side of analytics

Not all content is shared publicly. Therefore, its virality cannot be adequately measured. Often, good content is also multiplied by private messages (e.g. Facebook, Whatsapp, etc.), channels that cannot be tracked but still can increase reach, engagement, leads, conversions.

In fact, many of us are not willing to publicly share or comment anything, but it doesn’t mean that we are not interested in debating about with our best friend through private messages. We are not aware of what happen behind the wall unless we don’t start to track and read everyone’s private messages, but such amazing advanced tools apparently are available only to very few organisations/governments..

So don’t stick to what’s measurable, ignoring the dark side of analytics. What’s behind a “direct” source can be the outcome of your efforts.

The infographic is made mainly for Facebook, but can be useful also for content marketing in general and other social media platforms, in particular, Google+ and Twitter.

Feel free to download and share Facebook Engagement Factors (PDF)

Discrepancy between conversions on Google Analytics and Facebook advertising reports: VTC vs CTC

Digital Marketing Conversions

A digital customer journey: which channel will get (most of) the credit for a conversion? (Image credit: DigitSix.com)

Have you ever encountered a discrepancy between performance reports by channel and what’s reported by advertising platforms’ reports, for example, ? The former is usually less generous than the latter, and you don’t know who’s telling the truth, right?

Let’s imagine a situation when you have been running promoted posts through Facebook and the outcome has been ten conversions according to the Report (measured through the Facebook Conversion Pixel), four Assisted Conversions according to Google Analytics (Multi-Channel funnel report) and no Direct Conversion (still according to Google Analytics). What measure can be considered more reliable?

It depends on what you are trying to sell. If you want to know what is the best target audience, then go for the Facebook report. If you want to know what is the best channel to generate leads go for the Assisted Conversions report. Differently, if you are offering something that should not require much thinking before a conversion, then focus on the Direct Conversion report – where usually Search Marketing performs much better than , in particular if targeting branded keywords.. a quick win!

The difference is explained by the methodology adopted to identify a conversion: Google Analytics takes into account only CTC (Click-Through-Conversions) while other platforms in their reports also show (or only) VTC (View-Through-Conversions).

offers both options, but CTC (more meaningful for search marketing than for display) are deducted from VTC.

Some advertising platforms (like Adroll) make a clear distinction between the two measurement methods, while others (like Facebook) state it in a more subtle way:

Facebook (then) matches that conversion event against the set of people an ad was served to/or that clicked on an ad so that we can provide you with information that helps you understand the return on investment for your ad spend.“

(source: https://www.facebook.com/help/435189689870514)

However, even on Facebook, you can still compare both methods also on Facebook report through the Attribution Window settings (image above).

Facebook Advertising report: Attribution Window settings

Facebook Advertising Report: Attribution Window settings

 

Another aspect to consider is the time frame. Facebook offer three options: 1, 7 and 28 days, while in Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel report you have 90 choices, from 1 to 90 days before conversion. Every platform has its options therefore if you don’t synchronise the method, you will get different results.

VTC methodology considers a digital channel like an offline channel (e.g. TV) since it takes into account all conversions completed after someone has seen an ad but has not clicked on it. Some way, it makes sense because a person might discover a brand or a product through a promoted post and still do not take any immediate action (e.g. click, comment, share, etc.) but search for it later through other channels.

Obviously, VTC is more generous towards the platform than CTC, which is a situation that requires the converted user to click on an ad, within a particular period of time. On Google Analytics, Multi-Channel Funnels take into account only CTC.

To make the story short, in a logic sequence, the highest performance regarding Conversion Rate, , , etc. is measured considering VTC, and then CTC (Multi-Channel) and eventually CTC (Direct or last-click).

Digital Conversions: VTC vs CTC

VTC will always include CTC

Digital agencies usually tend to show the best performance in their reports, but despite it might sound obvious to some people, it is always good to ask for a clear “legend” where it’s well explained what is intended by “conversion”.

The methodology applied should always be explicit and come before any attribution model. The best approach, therefore, is to produce different columns to outline the outcome of each methodology applied to determine conversions.

 

Tips to promote mobile apps through digital channels

Promoting mobile apps

Making a app is not the final step to reach a broad mobile audience. In fact, your amazing app can be discovered only by a few friends if you do not push it in the market – or better, in the right market segment(s) – hopefully catching the right multipliers to benefit from a viral exposure. Here are some guidelines to boost your app reach.

 PLATFORMS (Facebook and Twitter)

  • Ok, an obvious but fundamental step: always check if links to app stores work, in particular if you are using short links like bit.ly or goo.gl
  • If you have Facebook Page(s) or Twitter profile(s) you can add covers to promote your App. Please consider covers do not have a broad reach since users tend to engage with your social media content directly on their timeline.

FACEBOOK ONLY

  • Geo-target posts by selecting only people in the country with a relevant age range (e.g. 17-30). This way the target audience will be smaller but more consistent, increasing the conversion rate of relevant goals (e.g. clicks to the App store, downloads, usage of the app, clicks to your transactional site, transactions=hard goal) and the engagement rate (likes, shares, comments). As a result, there will be an increased post’s edge rank and, consequently, its organic reach. Geo-targeting is also a good way to avoid reaching fake fans that in some pages can easily be spotted by looking at the country of origin, different than your primary target country (in particular for pages with a high geographical focus).
  • Image size matters. Ideally, shared images for Facebook posts (free or paid) should be 1200×1200 (they will have a max width of 504 with a variable height) while shared links should be 1200×628 (they will be 484×252). Remember the 20% text rule: no more than 20% covered by text or they will not be enabled to be boosted as promoted post/image/app/whatever.
  • After changing the Facebook Page cover you should add a brief description with a short link to so if people click (or tap) on the cover to find out more, they will still be able to get straight away to the app store. I have noticed that Facebook page visitors on average about 1% of all page like(rs) and, if you are running promoted posts reaching a wide audience, page visitors can be something like 0.05% of your total Reach. A social media page should never be considered as a website; you can look at it as a repository of content that will be seen from another point of views, surrounded by other content that you cannot expect because each social media user has a different surfing experience. You can now add call-to-actions to Facebook covers but please remember to keep text under 20% of the entire space – check your cover here.
  • offers ways to promote directly. Please do not boost links to app stores because they will not be approved as ads since they would violate their regulations. Here are the guidelines to run Paid Ads for Apps through Facebook Advertising platform:
    https://developers.facebook.com/docs/ads-for-apps
    To go further and measure App downloads, the Apps has to be registered and linked to the FB Ads account. More info here:
    https://developers.facebook.com/docs/ads-for-apps/mobile-app-ads/register-your-app

Anyone running Google Adwords campaigns can benefit from Ads extensions to enrich their content. Such extensions also include links to App stores (iTunes or Google Play respectively, depending on the user device).

Here is an example:

App extension

Google Adwords App Extensions, an example

APP POPULARITY AND RANKING

App ranking is made of many factors. No. of downloads is just one of them, and it varies by country. Number of Downloads are not a good indicator of an app popularity, whose ranking is influenced mostly by “current installs per user”. Important indicators are also rating (up to 5 stars), positive comments, no. of app uninstalls (negative factor) and how fast users delete the app (it tells how attractive it is). A boost in the first 72 hours, benefitting of being listed among “new” apps, is just one of the factors in effect.

I am sharing a screenshot of Google Play insights. This app has more than 100 downloads but in fact, the number of real users is about 50%:

Android app insights

Android app insights

For this reason, it is important to invite people to download and give five stars plus an excellent comment and possibly keep the app on their device(s).

The App should be categorised in the right category (free or paid), and its description and associated keywords should be relevant and translated into as many languages as possible otherwise, they will not be available in some App Stores (either iTunes or Google Play). Therefore, when a user clicks on an ad in a given country he/she will see an annoying message saying something like “App not available in this country”.  The description and keywords should include relevant words also in foreign languages if appropriate wherever needed to increase the chances to be found by prospective users.

There are a few ways to check App ranking in different country mobile stores. One is Applyzer.com where you just have to create a free account to access details by country and sector.

For example, these are the top Education apps for iPhone in Italy in October 2014:

App ranking checker

App ranking checker

It is interesting also to check performance of the same app in different countries:

Check your app performance in different countries

Check your app performance in different countries

Unsplash: free do-whatever-you-want hi-res stock photos

Unsplash free photos

In the era of copyleft and open source, there are still many cases when people steal images for their private purpose with no quoting, no link (or not followed link), no request for permission not to mention economic contributions.

If not the ultimate solution it seems an excellent resource for anyone looking for great, catchy, free, high-resolution images for posting. The risk is that some of them might get very popular at the end, reaching an iconic status, but it worth trying unsplash.com, as I did here.

Here is their “legal stuff”:

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

free image stock

 

How to increase Facebook organic reach: content and audiences are two key factors

Facebook Organic Reach, October 2014

Organic Reach is still alive if content is interesting.

IS FACEBOOK ORGANIC REACH DEAD? Interesting insights by Kimanzi Constable in his post “5 Reasons Why Social-Media Marketing is Overrated“. However, I don’t take for granted his first assumption telling that “Organic reach is pretty close to zero” because evidence can show something different (see above screenshot). For example, I could still reach more than 20% through organic, in October 2014, way more than the 2.71% declared in the article.

SWITCHING TO PAID CONTENT – It is true that Facebook organic reach has been decreasing year after year, in parallel with the growing Facebook Ads market – Twitter to follow very soon – but organic reach can still have a relevant impact regarding engagement and conversions if wisely managed.

DON’T FORGET THE LONG TAIL – It is good to monitor content performance periodically but not constantly because the long tail should always be taken into account: posts’ reach is not always skewed. A good exercise is to identify and classify by topic and type the top performers, rather than posting like a machine. We are dealing with humans after all and our prospective customers don’t want to be overwhelmed with content that is not bringing them any real opportunity, inspiration or value in general. Patronising users’ expectations is still a good way to gain support, but apparently Facebook knows that such content is not valuable, but only aimed at generating a soft engagement (e.g. Likes) by confirming a point of view biassed in a particular custom audience.

CONTENT RULES – If you post too much content the average page engagement rate will decrease, also penalising good posts. Same if you target the wrong audience, therefore your activity has to be very focused or, if exploring new target audiences, modified. To reach new users, build your audience with paid content first, then play with free content later. Paid content has better targeting features than organic; you might guess why… Think of good content, use words and images that catch your target audience attention or inspire them, add relevant if needed and make your post length short (try to be under 90 characters). This way you can quickly increase your organic reach.

INSPIRE YOUR (VERY WELL TARGETED) AUDIENCE – Post content reminding about opportunities like competitions, free resources or local free events, using strictly geo-targeted audiences and city tags (sometimes adding photo of the most recognisable places): it will show a higher engagement rate and, in many cases also higher conversion rate when talking about business and the whole page will benefit, also gaining new likes for free. Sometimes users spread the work simply by tagging their friends in a comment on a post telling about exciting opportunities. Empower your current users by giving them the chance to spread the word of what you are offering them: they will be glad to contribute to your success.

QUALITY FIRST OF ALL – These facts lead to the conclusion that Facebook tends to boost the organic reach when the content sounds interesting/attractive/inspiring for its users, despite it has not been paid. Always ask the magic question: what’s in it for me?

TAG TO TRACK – Last but not least, in particular if you have an e-commerce or a site where you try to lead users: do not forget to add URL parameters when linking to your site or you won’t be able to track your social media content ROI on . Use standardised and meaningful tags for campaign, source, medium and, to go deeper, also content and, when moving from organic to paid, just update them through tools like the PowerEditor to measure differences in performance for the same content.

 

MoreMetrics imports additional Social Media metrics into Google Analytics

 * The service MoreMetrics has been discontinued * 

MoreMetrics is a new free service provided by the Italian startup Bryo to help you importing some core Social Media metrics like Facebook fans or Twitter followers into any Google Analytics property.

Wouldn’t be nice to have Facebook Page Fans stats in Google Analytics? Tired of checking your KPIs on different sites? Do you love Google Analytics as much as we do? Let’s give MoreMetrics a try.

At the moment of launch there are the following options: Facebook Likes/Fans, Twitter Followers and Youtube Views/Subscribers. MailChimp is expected soon.

more metrics options

MoreMetrics options available (June 2014)

Once such data is imported into your GA, you can then create a Widget in a custom GA Dashboard to show a timeline of your SM trends.

Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Click on Dashboards, choose a dashboard and click on Add Widget.
  2. Give a Widget title matching the type of SM metric, for example “Facebook fans”
  3. Choose Standard/Timeline
  4. Choose “Event Value” in Graph the following metric over time
  5. Filters using the following three conditions:
    a. Only show Event Category Exactly matching MoreMetrics
    b. Only show Event Action Exactly matching the type of metric you want to show (e.g. FB Fans)
    c. Only show Event Label Exactly matching the [Event Label]
  6. Save

Some additional notes:

  • normally such metrics are not available in Google Analytics, not even in the Acquisition/Social report.
  • data are sent once a day therefore data will be available in about 24 hours
  • Universal Analytics is needed since the tool uses Measurement Protocol
  • Event value is the sum of all likes (or followed) day by day therefore you need to look at the daily value, not its aggregate: you need a dashboard widget to explore such data into Google Analytics

Update – some examples of GA dashboard widgets built through MoreMetrics:

more-metrics-google-analytics-social-media-facebook-likes-twitter-followers

Timeline and daily amount

 

more-metrics-google-analytics-social-media-facebook-fans-twitter-stats

A comparison between Facebook and Twitter

Try MoreMetrics now.

Did you know Google+ Ripples? It helps you monitor shares of a post on Google Plus

Google+ Ripples

+ Ripples for a very popular post by Matt Cuts: “The decay and fall of guest blogging for

UPDATE: Google+ Ripples has been terminated on 20th May 2015.

 

Last 20 January, the Google webspam team leader Matt Cutts posted about decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO. Whatever he says in his blog sound like the Bible for the SEO industry. Despite some times (like the above case) he might change his mind.

The above screenshot taken directly from Google+ Ripples shows the public shares of such popular post on Google+.

Google+ Ripples (in Italian Google+ Eco) creates an interactive graphic of the public shares of any public post or URL on Google+ to show you how it has rippled through the network and help you discover new and interesting people to follow.

Ripples shows you:

  • Who has publicly shared a post or URL and the comments they’ve made
  • How a post or URL was shared over time
  • Statistics on how a post or URL was shared

A link to Ripples for web pages / posts shared through Google+ is now available also in under “Acquisition / Social / Data Hub Activity”

Google+ Ripples accessible directly through Google Analytics

Google+ Ripples accessible directly through Google Analytics

You can see Ripples for each post just by adding its URL at the end of this one, in your browser bar:

https://plus.google.com/ripple/details?url=_________

and SEO are getting closer day by day and guest blogging apparently is decreasing in popularity – if Matt has said so, it’s true.

Let’s imagine a link between number of shares and author(ship) rank for each of such shares. It would certainly give an idea of the weight of such an important ranking factor like Google+ activity.

Here is my Google+ Author Rank measured with the experimental tool by Virante that calculates a score based on the content linked to my Google+ profile via Authorship. It does not currently include any measure of authority due to my actions within Google+.

Google+ Author Rank

Google+ Author Rank

You can monitor Author Rank for any of your (Google+) friends.

UPDATE: Google+ Ripples has been terminated on 20th May 2015.

Google Analytics custom filters to tidy up your metrics: how to split up social media from referrals

Note: The Google URL Builder has been updated therefore I advice to have a look to this interesting guide written by Prateek Agarwal.


This post is about adding a custom filter to refine your Medium report on Google Analytics.

I am not going to talk about the “direct / none” aggregate that unfortunately include also visits that are not direct accesses like a user typing your URL or a bookmark, but any other session missing server data information. There is a wide literature about, but the problem remains unsolved.

Let’s talk about another medium category, referrals, that includes also visits coming from social media. Why not taking social media visits away from referrals?

Custom filters are a very useful tool for aggregating or adjusting some metrics before they appear on reports. In this post I’ll show you how to use custom filters to assign all visits coming from social media sources to a Medium category called “social“. Just follow this step:

Filter to separate social sources from referral on GA

Filter to separate social sources from referral on GA

The source for visits from FB mobile is “m.facebook.com” whilst Twitter is “t.co”. You can add all social media together by using Regular Expressions (RegEx). In this case you might need to do some testing. A RegEx for social filter can be this one:

(facebook.com|m.facebook.com|facebook|vk|vk.com|t.co|twitter|hootsuite|tweetdeck|plus.url.google.com|youtube|linkedin|reddit|digg|delicious|stumbleupon|myspace|flickr|popurls|friendfeed)

Remember to add also “field b = referral” because you don’t want to tas as social whatever is tagged not referral, for example a CPC campaign run through Facebook or LinkedIn.

After applying the filter don’t be impatient with Real-Time stats as custom filters might take a short while to apply properly.

A suggestion to speed up your RegEx learning process is to create a test profile (never play with the main profile!) and apply different filters there, assigning categories called social1, social2, etc. for different RegEx’s so you will reckon which is working and which is not by looking at the variable appearing on reports few hours after applying the filters.

Let’s go back to my proposals. Here’re the filters applied taken:

  1. visits from social media whose source is “facebook”, “twitter” or “google plus” have been all automatically categorised as “referrals” and will now be categorised as “social”
  2. using another custom filter, all medium assigned to “rss” will be renamed “feed” in order to join another existing category:  there is no need to have two different categories of the same type (distinction will be still available under Sources)

Here is what I had before (15/05/2013)

Before the filter...

Before the filter: no social!

and this is what I had after applying the filter (19/05/2013)

...after the filter

…after the filter, social appears!

Observations:

  • visits from social media are taken off from “referral” and placed into a new category called “social” that will also include all future social media activity tagged through the URL builder to be taken away from the “(none)”
  • RSS disappear and joins “feed” for more clarity
  • the site does not have benefit of any paid advertising source
  • direct/none stable (14% / 15%)
  • organic stable (11%)

Filters above apply only to Campaign Medium, but what about organising also Sources by aggregating at least the most relevant URL’s under just few categories? For example you can join www.facebook.com and m.facebook.com under just “facebook”.

Again, to be precise, you can use RegEx but mind that if you select all domains that contain the word “facebook” or “twitter” you might end up in adding sites that are not facebook and still link to you. For example think of the service “twitterfeed” which is not Twitter. My suggestion here is to narrow aggregation just to the most relevant categories: if you’re embracing let’s say 95% of your visits that could be enough, isn’t it?

A further action: tag your incoming links with the URL builder whenever possible

If you want to reduce the amount of “(none)” among your media, start tagging all your social media posting that links to your website using the URL builder. In this case, I suggest to keep “social” as Campaign Medium for non paid (e.g. a Tweet or a Facebook post on wall or tab) and “cpc” or “paid” for paid (e.g. Facebook advertising) aligning it to other paid sources if any (e.g. AdWords).

You can use URL shorteners, but be sure that they keep tags or your link end up in the meaningless “direct/none” category. To manage non-paid incoming links from your own social sources Lunametrics has built a simple but still useful Google spreadsheet, using the shortener bit.ly

Be consistent with tags

If many people have access to your social media stream and run digital campaigns you should do some efforts to align tagging policies otherwise you might end up in a mess on GA reports. I’ve seen reports including many similar tags all together such as CPC, cpc, PPC, paid, ads, advertising, social, socialmedia, facebook, fb, etc.

Why separating social from referrals?

Ok they are all referrals, but usually visits coming from social media come from piece of content that links to your website (e.g. a post on Facebook wall). I say ‘usually’ because such links might be also placed on social media areas such as notes, tabs, twitter profile description, about sections, etc. together with other links, but such places are less relevant than the mainstream. Other referrals (traditional, let’s say), most of the times are link placed on websites (e.g. blogs), either because they like you/find your content relevant/worth mentioning or because of your link building activity. I’m not engaging in a debate if it’s better to have “social signals” or referrals from a pure SEO perspective during the Penguin era. Let’s say that it’s important to be noticed both by search engines and (yes, apparently we’re still humans) real people, but this post helps you to distinguish among digital type of  place where you’ve been spotted on: making a parallel with geography, if the source is the name of the place, the medium is the type of place.

A filter also for email

Usually newsletters/DEM are tagged with “email” medium. Why not doing the same with a custom filter that attributes “email” medium to all sources that contain the word “mail”? It can be mail.yahoo.com, gmail.com, etc. You might also add other relevant email providers like outlook, hotmail, etc. with a RegEx like (mail|outlook|hotmail|etc….). Again, if you want to preserve other medium like cpc, add a field b=referral – this way you will be pretty sure that all links to your site placed on email content will be tagged with “email” medium instead of referral.

Remember: it’s never too late to tidy your reports and to adopt a consistent and constant “tagging policy”.