It’s December. You know what that means, right? No, I’m not talking about guzzling down all you can from the open bar at the office holiday party. It’s time to look back and determine how successful your marketing efforts were this year.
First, you’ll need to gather all of your stats, review them and make sure you have everything necessary to determine the effectiveness of your acquisition, engagement and conversion efforts by marketing channel. Don’t have that data? That’s rough. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to capture it now. We can’t go back in time. But there is good news. You can use Google Analytics right now to avoid this problem next December.
Here are three easy things you can do to enhance this tool for deeper insight into your marketing effectiveness, engagement, conversions and ROI in 2015.
1. Campaign Tracking: You can generate tracking codes to help determine which campaigns are driving traffic to your site. The Google URL Builder lets you enter important pieces of metadata about your placements (banner ads, emails, search terms, even print ads) that you can use to roll up or drill down on your campaign traffic. The tool has fields for campaign name, source, keywords, content and medium for each individual code created. That means you can use all of this metadata to filter every aspect of your Google Analytics reporting, giving you better insights into which campaigns are driving traffic and if those customers are engaging and converting.
To use this tool successfully:
- Make sure you have a plan for campaign hierarchy and consistent naming to support roll-up reporting.
- Keep track of every URL in a spreadsheet or database — along with the assigned metadata so you can cross-reference later and even extract your data and roll it up further outside of Google Analytics.
2. Deeper Engagement Measurement: Google Analytics primarily tracks pageviews, but it does not measure other things you may consider key engagement activities — asset downloads, video views, form submits, link clicks or interactive tools. However, adding a little bit of code to these elements in your site’s back end will unlock custom Event tracking in Google Analytics.
In your account, Events are reported on three dimensions: Category, Action and Label. Setting these values in your site code allows Google Analytics to track every time a user trips the Event and enables deeper engagement reporting. Similar to creating custom tracking URLs, the key to successfully managing and leveraging custom event tracking is in using consistent naming for your key Event dimensions. This will support aggregation across multiple events inside your Analytics account. For example, you can report all events for the Action: “Download” across multiple whitepapers listed on your site.
- Engagement Measurement Pro Tip: Google Tag Manager is a powerful tool that will let you create Event tracking tags without a developer “hard coding” click Events into your site code. The user interface is a little clunky, but with some of the tool’s tutorials and a little determination it will give you the power to create and track a wealth of activities on your site.
3. Site KPIs: Google Analytics supports the ability to define key behaviors and report on them with a little configuration. Goals keep track of your KPIs without having to dig around every time you want to check your site’s performance. Better yet, Goals can be created for any number of behaviors that may be important for your business — session page depths, time on site, returning visitors, key events, specific page paths and much more. One thing to keep in mind: Goal reporting is not retroactive. Goals will only be tracked from the time you create them. They will not apply to historical data in your account.
- KPI Bonus: Every Goal in Google Analytics can be assigned a value. If you manage an ecommerce or direct path-to-purchase site, your goals could be assigned dollar values that coincide with sales. However, you can also assign values using an arbitrary system. For instance, you could dictate that all of your site goals together are worth $100. From there you could assign each goal a higher or lower value depending on its importance in achieving your overall business objectives. Using a system like this can greatly aid in fine-tuning your site performance.
Okay, have all the info you need to track and measure your marketing performance in 2015? Get started now and make sure you are capturing key performance data you need to track your marketing ROI.