Tracking Campaigns in Google Analytics using Custom Reports

As with any B2B website or any other content driven website it is important to establish and understand what is the main purpose of your website and what role you want it to play within your business. Many websites were set up years ago as a ‘shop window’ to their business but now with all the advancements in digital marketing it is more than just a shop window. I have always said that a website is not just a marketing tool but a business tool. Everyone within your business should be using the website as resource and every employee should know what content exists and also getting some ‘switched on’ employees to produce and contribute content to your site. Your website is a 24/7 operating lead generating machine.

So, what I want to show you here is how to track and measure the goals for your website and identify which channels are working and providing you with high quality traffic and also to identify which areas need strengthening. By looking at your web traffic data you may also find areas where you can cut costs and invest more into other channels.

Firstly, you need to identify and set up some goals. A goal is where a visitor is required to take action on your site or a form being filled in thus resulting in a lead submission. Example goals could be to download a particular brochure or whitepaper, submit an enquiry, subscribe to a newsletter or registered for an event or seminar. Look at your site and as a team establish what are the goals of your site and what you want to track.

Here are the goals I would track for your B2B content driven website:

– Download(s) of a valuable brochure/whitepaper
– Request of a valuable brochure
– Seminar/Event Registration
– Registration for a special service
– Subscription to Newsletter
– General Enquiry Submission
– Callback Request Submission

Secondly, ensure that all of your inbound links to your micro-sites and main website contain UTM parameters and tags. Here is a quick review of what UTM tags look like and what they do.

Example, a link from an e-mail campaign to your landing page should look like this:

‘UTM Source’ being the segment or target audience you are sending this e-mail to. The ‘UTM Medium’ is the method used so for this example it is ‘e-mail’ and the finally ‘UTM campaign name‘ which is the name of your campaign.

Remember, you can also use Vanity URL’s for distinguishing traffic from offline campaigns and are really handy when you want to view which print ad and in which publication created the most traffic. You will need to know about redirects too with integrated tags and parameters.

Thirdly, ensure you also have ‘confirmation pages’ or ‘thank you’ pages set up prior to setting up goals. Confirmation pages are the pages you are directed to once you have submitted a form. You will need the URL of the confirmation pages as this is the page to be tracked.

Ok, lets start shall we?

1) Go into your Google Analytics profile and click on EDIT. You will then see a box with GOALS as the header. You then have 4 goal sets to choose from. It’s important to combine your goals into similar actions. For example, my ‘goal set 1’ consists of registration type goals, ‘goal set 2’ are enquiry based goals and finally ‘goal set 3’ are based on actions which require a download.

2) Click on +Add Goal. You will then be presented with this screen.

3) Select Goal Type: URL Destination. We are going to track the URL of your confirmation pages. You will now have the following options.

4) Insert a  GOAL NAME. It could be Newsletter Subscription or General Enquiry or Technical Enquiry.

5) Then assign this goal to a ‘set’. If it is your first goal set it as SET 1, GOAL 1.

6) Enter the GOAL URL so this will be the page URL of your ‘confirmation’ or ‘thank you’ page.

7) The GOAL VALUE is the value that this particular action. For a B2B website it is difficult to assign values for each action unless you know approximately how many downloads, requests or registrations turn into a sale then you can use the average as a goal value. For example, if a PDF is downloaded 100 times and you estimate that 1 in 100 will turn into an order for £2500 then each download is worth £25.
8) GOAL FUNNEL. A funnel represents the path visitors use to get to your goal or goal page. By selecting the ‘goal funnel’ facility or report you can quickly identify leakages in your conversion paths. You can choose to select this or leave it off. It’s entirely up to you. Finally click on SAVE GOAL.

Repeat the process for all the other goals you have decided to measure and track.

Once you are done assigning your goals you will need to wait a few days for your traffic to build and create you some conversions. You can view standard reports such as Traffic Sources and view which sources gives you the highest conversions or you can then drill down and view the Keywords report and get an insight into which keywords are getting you the highest number of conversions.

Or….you could do something fun and start creating your own custom report to show you the data that is actually useful to you without having to view multiple pages and reports.

Here is a custom report I set up to show me conversions by campaign.

So this report will show me the dimension which is name of the campaign (data is fetched by using UTM tags/parameters built into the links within the e-mail campaign, online PR, PPC ads etc) and then drill down to show me the medium used to get that traffic to my site (e-mail, online ads, PPC, online PR etc).

Across the top we have ‘metrics’ such as Unique Visitors, Goal Completions and Total Goal Completions. I have selected these because all I want to know at this moment in time is which campaign got me the most conversions. You can always drill down further to find out the why’s later such as why were the conversions so low or how long did the visitors from this campaign spend on my site, why was the bounce rate so high for a particular campaign.

IMPORTANT: Google Analytics will only show you and allow you to choose GOAL SET 1 at the moment. They are working on allowing you to view GOAL SET 2, 3 and 4 so make sure you put your most important goals in GOAL SET 1. I had confirmation that the Google team are working on allowing to view Goal Set 2,3 and 4 shortly.

UPDATE 05/04/2010: Google Analytics now allows you to view Goal Sets 2,3 and 4 in your custom reports. Check it out here.

Once I have created my custom report and set up the metrics I want to view, the report that looks like this (Example Only):

TIP: This will only work if your inbound links to your website contain UTM tags/parameters. If you don’t have these the GA will not pick up your campaigns.

What do we have here?

If we look at the Goal Conversion Rate for all the campaigns I can clearly see that my E-Mail Campaign 1 achieved a conversion rate of 27%. Not to far behind I can see that my E-Mail Campaign 3 achieved a 22% conversion rate. My Micro Sites is sending through great traffic which is also converting into downloads and registrations/subscriptions. (127 downloads, 81 registrations and 14 newsletter subscriptions). Notice the Online Banner Ad? I can now see the traffic sent through by the online banner ad and also see how much of that traffic converted into a goal and which particular action.

The red circle shows that the traffic sent through from E-Mail Campaign 1 did not convert into any of my goals defined in Goal Set 1 but 27 goals were actually completed. These must have been goals defined in Goal Set 2, 3 and 4. The inability to view Goal Sets 2, 3 and 4 in a custom report is what Google are working on now.

So at a glance you can see which campaign is performing well. You can then drill down further and look at ways of increasing those conversions by looking at your landing pages and the time spent on site, bounce rates, click through rates and funnel reports to see where visitors dropped out.

The funnel report will tell you the performance of each step a visitor must take to complete a goal. Look at where visitors are dropping out or diverting away from your desired step. Maybe you need to create a bigger ‘call to action’ button or adjust the copy on the page to keep visitors interested.

You can also create a custom reports for Keywords, Landing Pages or All Traffic Sources maybe. Go and segement, define and play and set up reports that will give you insights. Keep drilling and look for more insights and look for the data that will actually tell you where urgent attention is required in order to increase your conversion rates and give you a better ROI on your integrated marketing campaigns.

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