All articles

Mar 09, 2018

Approx. 12 min. read

Using Analytics to Measure Your Employee Advocacy Program Success

Using Analytics to measure your Employee Advocacy program offers valuable insights into where you should focus your energy when it comes to your...

Using Analytics to measure your Employee Advocacy program offers valuable insights into where you should focus your energy when it comes to your content, engagement, social media platforms and ROI. By using UTM parameters you can find several ways to track and measure your progress.

Consider these questions:
  • After reviewing your content success, what specific changes are you currently making to pivot towards most successful decisions?
  • Do you have accurate, realistic goals set for each type of campaign or content you are measuring?
  • Are you measuring your Employee Advocacy in Analytics as a campaign?
  • If not, is there any way for you to calculate your current ROI on EA?

Utilizing Google Analytics is a simple and effective way to receive real-time data regarding the success of your Employee Advocacy program. Here we present a few clever ways to track your success.

UTM Dimensions in Google Analytics

UTM parameters allow you to see in specifically where traffic to your website comes from. The more you break your parameters down, the easier it is to see what works and what doesn’t. The primary dimensions of Google Analytics can easily be applied to UTMs for Employee Advocacy.

Google Analytics uses a few dimensions, some of which are more common than others. The main dimensions are source and medium. Source dimension is the source of your traffic, meaning where the visit came from. This can be for example Google, Facebook or a news page. The medium identifies the marketing medium in which the link was clicked upon, like email or paid advertising (cpc). In Google Analytics, you can find these under Acquisition, All Traffic -> Source/Medium.

Google Analytics Employee Advocacy Source Medium
Source/Medium Google Analytics

In the example photo Google, LinkedIn and Twitter are sources. Organic traffic, referral and Smarp are medium.

Besides these, Google Analytics allows you to add a campaign dimension to show you in specific, which campaign (or which campaign version) brings the best traffic to your website. For paid traffic you can also add term and content dimensions, helping you identify which keywords and ads bring the best traffic to your website.

For measuring your Employee Advocacy success, you’ll be needing the source, medium and campaign tags (Employee Advocacy being the campaign). So, next, we are going to show you how to easily track the Employee Advocacy campaign tag by utilizing both Smarp and Google Analytics.

How to use UTM Parameters to Measure Employee Advocacy

Step 1: Enable UTM Tag Generation

In Employee Advocacy Platforms like Smarp, tracking your EA success begins by simply ensuring you have the automatic UTM appending functionality turned on. You can check this by going to Settings and then to Content & Targeting. In the Content Section, make sure that “Enable automatic utm-tags generation for shared links” is ticked. If you disable automatic utm-tags generation, the application can't carry EA UTM to links shared.

Enable UTM parameters for Employee Advocacy 

Step 2: Employee Advocacy Naming Convention 

Let’s take a quick look at the way Smarp’s UTM convention works, so you can understand where the parameters are coming from. Check out this string:

After the URL, this includes the following: 

  • utm_campaign (in this example, 10101010101010) contains the unique user ID of the person who shared the post trough Smarp
  • utm_content (in this example, 00000000001) contains the ID of the specific post
  • utm_medium is always smarpshare, telling you the post was shared through Smarp.
  • utm_source is the social media network the link was shared to, in this case, Twitter
URL builder for Employee Advocacy UTMs

Step 3: Export User and Post IDs

As mentioned earlier, Smarp assigns unique IDs to each post and each user, enabling you to go as deep as possible when you are investigating your site traffic. Before you access the data from Analytics, export the IDs from Smarp. You can do this by going to Analytics section, choosing Users (if you want User IDs) or Posts (if you want Post IDs) and choose Export Statistics. Once you have these in cvs form, you can interpret the data gained from Google Analytics. 

Employee Advocacy Statistics

Combining Employee Advocacy Analytics and Google Analytics

And now, we enter the fun phase. There are a few ways you can measure your EA, depending on how deep you want to go, and which dimensions you want to focus on. You gain a lot of insights focusing on Source/Medium, so first, go to Acquisition, choose All Traffic, and then Source/Medium.

Google Analytics Source Medium

Option 1: Most Popular Content per Individual Shares

Once you're in Source/Medium details, you can choose smarpshare as your Medium. From here, choose Ad Content as your Secondary Dimension, and you will get a rundown of the content unit which performed best when shared via your EA program. Once you have this data, you can just copy the line from the Ad Content string and find it from the Post ID document you pulled from Smarp.

You can measure, for example, what type of content was most clicked when shared within our EA program. You can also compare the results between paid advertising and medium. Are they in line with each other and are you putting your paid resources into the right type of content?
Google Analytics Source Employee Advocacy

Option 2: Most Popular Content in General

If you don't want to get into the details of which individual posting created through the EA program gained attraction but want to focus on the most successful content itself, you can choose smarpshare as medium and simply add “destination page” as your secondary dimension. Again, how this differs from Ad Content is that with Ad Content, you can track two different posts made of the same company content, and with Destination Page, you only focus on which pages were most attractive in your EA program.

Google Analytics Secondary Dimension

Option 3: Measure Individual Campaigns

In this option, you are able to track down your Employee Advocates based on their individual IDs. Choose your Secondary Dimension as Campaign and you can see the IDs. By comparing them to the file you pulled from Smarp Analytics, you can see which ID they match with. Even if you don’t want to go that much into detail with this one, you can see interesting data of how traction is divided between your advocates. You can compare the statistics between your Employee Advocates to see if there are differences between the quality of traffic between IDs. You can also test the influence of time to see how your EA launching process is succeeding. You can also specify source and maintain smarpshare as medium and compare how successful different sources are.

Employee Advocacy as Medium in Google Analytics
Meshing Employee Advocacy Source Medium in Google Analytics

Option 4: Use Advanced Filter or Add Secondary Dimension

You can also use Advanced Filter to only take in sources with smarpshare as medium, where you should look at, for example:

  • Bounce rate
  • Average Session Duration
  • Conversions and conversion quality

By adding a Secondary Dimension, you can find these:

  • Destination Page: What is the most common clicked?
  • Page Depth: What stage of the user path is the visit usually happening?
  • Exit Page: What is the page from which your visitors leave, after entering via EA referral?

Option 5: Compare Medium Success by “Contribution” Parameter

You can also measure your EA program in relation to your other Mediums. You can also choose just medium and see directly which medium brings the most traffic to the website. Go to Medium and right-click the pie box (percentage), and choose “contribution to total”, and you can see for example, how user traffic is divided between the sources (click Users).

Contribution Parameter Google Analytics
Employee Advocacy Google Analytics DistributionYou can also choose, for example, “Goal Completions” or “Goal Value”. This gives you good insight into which medium brings you the most value. The way Google Analytics is built is that it intuitively gives a lot of weight to acquisition rates and while this is an important metrics, it is good to keep in mind that goal completion rates matter in social traffic as well.

Analytics goal completions contribution to total


Employee Advocacy Goals

To measure the success of your Employee Advocacy program in Google Analytics, you need to set up conversion tracking and/or goals in order to see how you are reaching them. You should choose your goals based on what you wish to achieve with your program. If your primary goal is to increase brand reach and awareness, you can measure how much your EA program increases your traffic. You could also be using an EA program for a more specific target. For example, one good way to see clear value and success of your Employee Advocacy program is during a talent acquisition campaign. If you are looking for improved conversion rate in talent acquisition progress, you can set the recruitment process as a goal and see how many times the goal was met when the visitors came through the EA program. If you want to increase online sales via social selling, you can set a goal for conversions in e-purchases and again, compare the conversion rates between EA medium and other mediums.

Metrics You Can Measure About Your EA Program with Analytics:

  1. Increased brand reach and awareness: Using EA as a dimension, follow the growth of New Users
  2. Success of program integration: Measure the rate of social activity by reviewing both Users and New Users
  3. Individual successes: Research specific well-performing posts by identifying their User ID
  4. Best performing content types: Which ad content type attracts the most visitors to your site?
  5. Best performing social messages: Compare ad content types per social media channel performance and track the type of social messages attached to them
  6. Tracking talent acquisition as a goal conversion: What is the conversion rate via EA program compared to your other visitor traffic, and how does the ROI perform in relation to paid advertising campaigns?
  7. Tracking conversions as per individual social selling campaigns: What is the conversion rate and ROI of social selling campaigns?

Specify any parameters causing bottlenecks and hindering traffic. This may require lateral thinking, as we are dealing with several parameters over a longer period of time. Remember to document your findings and track changes, and adjust your EA strategy to pivot towards what is working.

In Conclusion

Employee Advocacy should work in line with your general marketing strategy and you should measure it similarly as you measure other campaigns. With a sophisticated Employee Advocacy program and analytics, you are able to get a full picture form the moment a single employee publishes company material in a social media, to the moment this action causes a conversion.

You can find out how much inbound traffic your Employee Advocacy program is bringing in. By changing time frames, you can rate the success and speed of EA program integration as well as the possible changes in relational goal values. You can also see which content works best in which media, and what type of social media messages attract most visitors.

One important parameter to track is the quality of traffic coming in through your Employee Advocacy campaign. Do visitors coming in through your EA campaign spend more time on your website? How many pages do they visit, and is the bounce rate lower or higher? What is your most popular content, and what actions does it lead to?

Lastly, by measuring the success of your EA program, you will be able to find out which type of content interests your own employees, and what do they like sharing. Based on these findings, you can pivot your own internally distributed content to a direction which will give you more engagement in your internal platform, and more shares in social media.

The Definitive Guide to Employee Advocacy

Written by

Mia Mäkipää

Mia Mäkipää

Related articles

The Leading Employee Communications & Advocacy Platform.

Reach all your employees, from corporate to frontline, with targeted communications.

Book a demo