Properly tagging URLs with Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC) is one of the most important and useful tools at your disposal. Tracking code gives marketers and other decision-makers insight into the success of all marketing efforts. While the process may seem like learning a foreign language in the beginning stages, adding code does get easier with practice. The second challenge with having analytics data is learning how to analyze it. The best part is, MoreVisibility just created a free Google Analytics Tagging Tool that will formulate analytics tracking code automatically for you! Now that there is a tool to minimize human error in generating the data, more focus can be placed on learning how to analyze and make decisions accordingly.
When tagged correctly, Google Analytics will know where to attribute referring traffic. This information will let you know how people got to your website (where they were immediately prior to landing on your website). With this data, you can start to focus your energy on marketing channels that are most successful and rid those that are underperforming. For example, if referring traffic is highest from a particular social media channel, continue efforts in that area (and possibly look to increase the amount of marketing campaigns there).
Analytics data is only useful if it is accurate and consistent. Being able to compare data over periods of time allows for the best decision-making. For the most part, it is human error that causes any discrepancy with information. To help eliminate inconsistencies for clients and others MoreVisibility created new Google Analytics Tagging Tool. The easy four step process allows users to enter four types of required information. After this information is submitted, the tool shoots back a URL with GA coding in the proper format. The four steps are listed below.
*The following two steps are optional and will give you additional information, if desired.
The tool is illustrated below and can be found on MoreVisibility’s website here:
Handling the Corporate Marketing at our company, I can attest to the usefulness of this new tool. To give you a “real life” example of how we would use this tool for our marketing, I have included an example below.
Step 1- Destination URL= https://www.morevisibility.com/mobile-website-form.php
Step 2- Source= google
Step 3- Medium= cpc
Step 4- Campaign= March 2011 (Step 5 wasn’t necessary)
Step 6- 300×250 (put the dimensions of the banner that we used)
Mastering Google Analytics tagging is just a small part of Google AdWords. However, Google AdWords is the foundation that allows you to utilize all of the other tools available within the platform. Furthermore, Google Analytics data is pulled into goals, funnels, annotations, and custom reports that you are able to create in the Google AdWords Platform. For the “rookies” in the analytics world, start tagging every URL possible (feel free use our new tool for some help), collect as much data as possible, start analyzing efforts, and market for success!
Google Analytics can automatically track your Google AdWords cost-per-click activity within its system by simply applying “Cost Data” and enabling “Destination URL Auto-Tagging” within your AdWords account. However, you will need to do a bit of extra work if you want to track your Yahoo Search Marketing, Microsoft AdCenter, Business.com listings, banner ads, email marketing campaigns, or any other links that you have out there on the internet.
By default, Google Analytics will treat any click to your website from, for example, the Yahoo Search Results page as “yahoo / organic”, regardless if the click actually occurred from a natural listing or a sponsored listing. In some situations, it can show as a referral from yahoo.com, and sometimes, as direct traffic. This, of course, isn’t going to work for just about everyone.
For Google Analytics to track your non-Google AdWords marketing efforts, you must append a query string to the end of each URL in any of your marketing initiatives that you want to track. This string of parameters tells Google Analytics what term or what ad a user clicked on, what campaign served up the ad or keyword, and from what source or medium someone originated from.
Example: In one of my Yahoo Search Marketing Ad Groups, I am using the following destination URL for every ad and / or keyword in the group:
Google Analytics will treat anyone that clicks my ad with this destination URL as coming from “yahoo / organic”, from a Campaign called “Not Set”.
Now, let’s slap on some Google Analytics URL coding on this URL:
Now, Google Analytics will be able to collect the keyword and the ad that a user searched for and clicked on, the name of my campaign, and most importantly, it will know to not lump clicks (visits) from this URL as “organic”.
Great! But…what does everything in the URL mean?
Let me break down each part of the end of the URL:
? – This starts off the Google Analytics URL Tracking. If a ? symbol already exists in a URL, this can be replaced with a & symbol (Two ? symbols in a URL will, in most cases, break a URL)
utm_source=yahoo – There are five separate dimensions to URL Tracking with Google Analytics. Each dimension in the URL starts off with “utm_”, followed by the name of the dimension. This first one is called Source, and Source is simply where someone originated from. This could say google, yahoo, msn, altavista, client-newsletter, july-email-campaign, and so on.
&utm_medium=cpc – The medium dimension tells you by what means did someone access your website? For our example, someone clicked on a sponsored ad, which Google Analytics classifies as “cpc”. However, this could also be “cpm”, for any site-targeted campaigns that charge per thousand impressions, “banner” to denote a banner advertisement, or “email” if it’s an email blast of some kind.
&utm_campaign=Yahoo+-+Branding+Campaign – The campaign dimension will track the name of the Campaign in your marketing interface, or the name of the Campaign that you are using internally. In this example, this destination URL is in our Yahoo Branding Campaign. Don’t worry about the + and the – symbols quite yet – I’ll explain in just a little bit.
&utm_term=analytics+blogs – Basically, the term dimension represents the keyword that is being assigned this particular destination URL.
&utm_content=Second+Ad+Copy – Basically, the content dimension represents the actual ad version that is being assigned this particular destination URL.
Important Notes about Google Analytics URL Coding:
Please tell me that there is a tool out there that can help me put my URLs together!
The Google Analytics URL Builder is the best online resource for helping you build your URLs. Bookmark that page for future use – it will come in handy.