How to split your Social Channel in Google Analytics

These instructions are for Google’s Universal Analytics Platform only. They should not be applied to next Gen Google Analytics or Google Analytics 4

While Google Analytics does a professional job at separating Paid & Organic Traffic from search engines into their own channels, the same cannot be said for traffic from Social Platforms. Paid advertising on these platforms is now an important part of the marketing mix of most brands.

The instructions below will change the Default Channel Grouping which will have the effect of altering your default acquisition reports. You will need to be an administrator on your Google Analytics account to effect these changes.

If you implement the changes below, you will no longer collect data in your current Social Channel, and you will introduce two new channles; Paid Social and Organic Social instead.

Before you proceed, you need to be aware of what you are about to do:

You will be adding two new channels; Paid Social and Organic Social. All new social traffic will be added to one of these channels.

These changes are not applied to your existing data.

Your existing social channel will not get any new traffic.

You must use proper UTM parameters on all social links to make these changes work

INSTRUCTIONS – How to split your social traffic into Paid Social and Organic Social

Create a backup of your Default Channel Group

  1. In Google Analytics, go to Admin > Your view > Channel settings > Channel grouping
    1. Create a backup by duplicating the existing Grouping:
      1. Under Actions, Choose copy
      2. Rename the Grouping to Backup Default Channel Grouping
    2. Open Default Channel Grouping (not the copy) by choosing Action, then Edit
    3. Create a Paid Social Channel
      1. Press Define a new channel
      2. Name it Paid Social
      3. Select Medium as a Dimension
      4. “Is one of” as the selector
      5. In the box type, paid social, press return. paid-social, press return and finally paidsocial
      6. select a colour, then press save
    4. Create an Organic Social Channel
      1. Press Define a new channel
      2. Name it Organic Social
      3. Select medium as the dimension, and Is one of as the selector
      4. in the box add organic social, organic-social, and organicsocial each on a seperate line
      5. choos a colour, press save
    5. Rename existing Social Channel
      1. Press the pen icon to open the channel in edit mode.
      2. rename it Social (legacy)
      3. press save
    6. Move Social (legacy) to the bottom of the rules
      1. Hover your mouse to the left of the Channel name
      2. Press the left mouse key and and drag the rule to the bottom
    7. Update active links on all your social media platforms as appropriate
      1. utm_medium=organic-social
      2. or utm_medium=paid-social

If you are using a Digital Tracking Planner (like DTP by Intelidat) you may be using a bespoke parameter value to identify individual links. Bespoke parameters do need to be defined BEFORE being passed to Google Analytics.

How to define a bespoke parameter using Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics