One of the things I frequently notice when talking to both clients and the general public is a general acceptance of hazy numbers when it comes to measuring the success of marketing and advertising campaigns. By hazy numbers, I’m referring to the traditional standards of how managers can identify marketing efforts as being beneficial to the bottom line…and really, they’re not great!
With Google Analytics and similar web analysis tools, the doors have been opened to an entire new world of measurement and research. Google Analytics will automatically track traffic coming from AdWords PPC, other search engines, and referrals from other sites (anyone arriving at your site via a link from another domain) – and we’re not talking simply visit numbers here! There’s an incredible level of detail available to Analytics users that requires no additional effort beyond the initial setup. Things like bounce rate, conversions, revenue, and even your visitors’ physical location and internet connection speed are automatically captured.
This is great information, but what about offline marketing efforts? Traditional markets such as print, radio, and television advertising offer numbers like “potential audience exposure” to provide a general idea of how many people you’ll reach. But wouldn’t it be great to know how many people actually watched your commercial? Or even better, how many people saw your commercial and then bought something from you? It would be great to say, “Well, our site got tons of high-quality traffic from our TV commercial during Seinfeld, but we got nothing from our spot during The Andy Griffith Show.” (The problem here is obvious: people that watch The Andy Griffith Show do not own computers.)
And how about measuring online marketing campaigns that aren’t automatically pulled into your Google Analytics interface? For example, did you know that if you’re running sponsored ads/PPC in Yahoo or MSN without implementing proper tracking methods, all that incoming traffic is being tracked as direct or referral traffic? How can you tell if spending $500 a month in Yahoo is generating quality traffic?
Luckily, we’ve got some tools at our disposal! Here are three easy steps to take to track non-Google-sourced traffic:
1) Specific landing pages. Honestly, this is best practice for any marketing effort! Driving customers to a special page rather than your homepage is a great idea anyway, and here’s why:
- Tracking and Analysis. The easiest way to study the success of marketing campaigns is to pull people to a specific domain or page…one that’s only advertised in one specific location and inaccessible from anywhere else. For example, you run FruitsJuice (dot) com. You might run a magazine ad in “Fruit Juice Enthusiast Monthly” that urges people to visit BananaKoolAid (dot) com – a site specifically promoting banana fruit juice. Since you’ve only promoted this website in one place, you’ll know soon if that magazine is right for your advertisement.
- Customized appeal. You are segmenting your potential customer base, right? If you sell banana-flavored Kool-Aid online, your conversion rate will be much better if your ads AND the page you drive traffic to are related to one specific product offering. Don’t bring people to your homepage – send ’em to the banana juice page!
2) Google’s URL Builder is your friend. This is important! All non-Google-based marketing efforts need to have tagged links! By appending a unique identifier to the end of any off-site links, you’re telling Google, “Any actions by this visitor should be attributed to THIS campaign.” This should be done for banner ads, paid links, newsletters & email marketing – in short, anything you’d like to track as a source of traffic and/or revenue! For example, say you purchased some banner ads on a site called FruitJuiceEnthusiast and you’d like to see how people like your banana-Kool-Aid related ads. By linking the banner to this tagged URL, you’re classifying the traffic for Google Analytics. You don’t need to tell Analytics to watch for these tags – when someone hits this page, the tracking script automatically pulls the information in and categorizes it!
(Your Bannana Kool Aid page URL)/?utm_source=juiceenthusiast&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=banana_ad
Here, 3 parameters are defined:
- Source. FruitJuiceEnthusiast is the website that’s generating the traffic. Keep in mind, you can name these as you see fit, and shorter is better. Abbreviate if necessary!
- Medium. This identifies the venue or type of link that the visitor arrived on. For example, you might have multiple types of ads on FruitJuiceEnthusiast – by tagging the banner link this way, you can identify which style of ad generates better metrics
- Campaign. Great for different products or categories – this notifies Analytics that this particular ad was part of a certain campaign.
Luckily, these can be generated very quickly using Google’s URL Builder tool. There are additional parameters you can add to the tag to identify further details, but the three parts shown above are the only required ones. Shorter URLs are better, so only tag what is absolutely necessary – don’t go nuts.
3) And, as always…don’t forget the housekeeping. URL tags and traffic metrics are gathered by the Google Analytics tracking code, which should be installed on every page of your site. This code has a tendency to vanish into thin air when changes are getting made to pages. All your tracking and campaign management can go to waste if basic site maintenance falls by the wayside. This is a relatively simple tip, but I always like to include it – from time to time, this code will take an extended vacation from some of your pages.
With a little attention to detail and some creative campaign management, you can move traditional marketing campaigns out of the “hazy numbers” field and start working with realistic, actionable data.
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3 Easy Ways to Use Google Analytics to Track Offline, Email and Other Marketing Efforts have 1130 words, post on ezinearticles.com at April 21, 2009. This is cached page on TechNews. If you want remove this page, please contact us.