What I’ve come here today to talk about is to show you how how you can get the most out of your analytics platform and data. The tracking you will see in this presentation will deal with Google Analytics, but can be applied similarly to other platforms such as WebTrends and Omniture. While there are other ways to track your data such as custom variables and virtual pageviews, I wanted to spend some time on the two most used methods of tracking external and internal efforts: campaign tracking and event tracking.
Now, I don’t know about you, but there have been mornings where I wasn’t paying attention and accidentally poured my orange juice into my cereal. The same thing happens when you don’t track your data properly. The delicious data pours into other metrics such as direct traffic, referrals and organic search. Numbers become inflated and questions surround performance around campaigns and other things you slowly realize you’re unable to track.
Once you slap on analytics tracking code onto your site, you will typically see these main buckets of data. The binoculars represents a bird’s eye view of the type of traffic that drives to your Google Analytics account. If tagging isn’t set up properly it can become murky and your reporting will most likely be inaccurate or not as sharp and detailed. At some point, colleagues , managers and asmissions will be asking to see more specific and detailed data.
So we put those binoculars down we had up in the previous slide and pull out a magnifying glass. This allows us to take the next step in ensuring all of our external marketing efforts and internal page objects are being properly tracked. As soon as you begin to take a closer look (SEE ABOVE), you’ll begin to realize you’re missing out on tracking crucial data points.
(SEE ABOVE) This will allow you to better understand user behavior through specific campaigns, ads, mediums and keywords. Without this type of tracking, your campaigns will flow into referrals, organic search and direct traffic.
Well, you might ask yourselves, “that’s great Colleen, but what do we really need to track?” What is considered to be a “campaign?”It’s pretty much anything you promote and control through an external source and send users back to the website. This includes tweets and facebook posts that you control, paid search, email marketing and offline means such as billboards and brochures.
(SEE ABOVE) Each highlighted portion of the string sends a message to analytics and will be pulled in to appear within your campaign reports.
As we just saw, there are multiple modifiers on one campaign string. Each modifier tells Google Analytics something different and will help you split up the data in order to understand how your campaigns or ads are running down to the keyword level.The first tag is the “medium” tag. This is the channel you’re using to get your visitors to their final destination. Some common mediums can be seen above such as (SEE ABOVE).The second tag is the “source.” I typically think of the source as the provider or “brand” of the company in charge of delivering your campaign. Some examples can be seen in the second column above such as (SEE ABOVE).The third tag added is campaign. Here we label a lot of these campaigns as “ready” since the Ithaca College overarching campaign is called “ready,” but I’ve also seen campaigns labeled as “brand” or if you’re running a social campaign, it’s “social” or if it’s an email, you may want to consider using the subject line to distinguish between each of the mediums.Content and Keyword aren’t always used all of the time. Content is typically used to describe dimensions and detials about an ad and term should (and this if very important) ONLY be used for keywords:
Once you have your campaign tags set up, you can see if they’re working by clicking on traffic sources and going to Campaigns. Where B is highlighted, you can click on source / medium or even “other” to switch to a different view. Here, we kept source, medium and clicked on “ad content” as a secondary dimension. This allows us to split up the data even further.
While campaign tagging will track external efforts, there are times on your site when you may need to track something that isn’t normally picked up by your analytics platform. Some examples of this are radio buttons on forms, video players, external links, flash and downloads.
There are four different types of variables that can be associated with describing an event. The first is “categories” these are web objects that cannot be tracked traditionally. For example: (SEE ABOVE).The second is Actions. This describes the type of visotr interaction with the object (or category). Examples include: (SEE ABOVE).The third variable is labels. I highly recommend using this variable since it’s another opportunity to provide descriptive information about the event.The final variable, we don’t use very often, but you may still find it useful which is value. You can set a number (typically used to represent dollars worth) to be associated with your event.
But, make no mistake. Tracking can go wrong if implemented incorrectly.
If you use a redirect, make sure the campaign tag is your final destination. Otherwise your campaign tags will fall off, and you won’t be able to pull your campaign metrics. I do realize campaign tags are a little bit “junky” looking. So you may want to consider using vanity URLs to redirect to your campaign URLs or a URL shortener. Consistent naming is key because you can’t ever go back to update your campaign tags in your analytics platform. The data is already stored, so it’s important to stay firm with your nomenclature and recommended to keep everything lowercase since even one capital letter in a string will splice up the data. Plus signs and dashes will help divie up your information. However, if you use any spaces or & signs, you will need to include character coding in order to avoid your link from being cut off. You’re already tracking page using Google analytics. Campaign tags should only be used for marketing purposes and/or external sources.
If you’re a marketing manager or someone who works with analytics all of the time, you need to start thinking about yourself as the primary voice. Get everyone involved: social media, vendors, admissions, marketing communication managers, tech department, and senior management to assist you in sending the message so they themselves can advocate, feel smart and get others involved down the road. Make sure they understand why data is so crucial to analytics program and how they can be an advocate themselves. Show them “the money” or reasons why they would want to be involved.
Tracking Online and Offline MarketingEfforts: Setting Your Integrated TrackingManagement PlanPresented by: Colleen Clark, Marketing Analyst
OverviewImportance of TrackingWhat Can We Track?Campaign Tagging– When should we use Campaign Tags?– Overview– ExampleEvent Tracking– When should we use Event Tracking?– Overview– ExampleMetricsBest PracticesGetting Everyone On Board
“The online channel often, though notalways, can be a lower cost channel.Showing exactly how to use it (whichcampaigns, mediums, products) and forwhom (visitor personas, geographies)and why will ensure your job security andthe channels security as well.”~Avinash Kaushik
How is Campaign Tracking Used?In order to track campaign performance, you will need to tagyour URLs with a string of parameters:http://www.ithaca.edu/?utm_medium=print&utm_source=nyt&utm_campaign=ready-fall-2012&utm_content=brand-full-page
Campaign Tagging OverviewMedium Source Campaign Content(optional)Term(optional)cpc google business degree businessdegreesocial-media twitter social - -banner adroll ready ad1-350x500 -email fire-engine-redwelcome-new-student- -newspaper nyt ready ad1-full-page -
Campaign Tracking ExampleA. Traffic Sources > CampaignsB. Choose Source / Medium (or Other)C. Add additional layer such as “Ad Content”ABC
EventTrackingIf you are unable to viewcertain websiteinteractions, you maywant to opt for eventtracking.
Event Tracking Values• Web objects that cannot be tracked traditionally.• Example: button, email, pdf, Video, External LinkCategories• The visitors interaction with an object (category)• Example: click, play, download, pause, stopActions• Provides descriptive/name information about theevent (optional)• Example: common app, recommendation formLabels• numerical, typically used to represent monetaryvalue (optional)• Example: 1, 20, 100Value
Questions to Ask: Campaign MetricsBefore you look at your Metrics:– Do I want to know how a certain vendor is performing orcompares within a certain medium?– What is the most engaging medium (paid search, email,etc) and who/what is driving it?– How is the campaign performing, overall?– Does Ad#1 send more traffic or perform better thanAd#2?– Are my landing pages engaging enough?– How do visitors react by landing on page A versus B?
Combining Campaign & Event TrackingEngagement metrics will never mean anythingunless you ask “WHY?”? ? ? ? ?
Combining Campaign & Event TrackingAdd Event Tracking as a Segment to increase analysis:
Tagging Best Practices• Avoid Post-Redirects• Maintain Clean URLs• Consistent Naming• Special Characters• Never Tag Your Own Links
Have the Conversation with:Your Agency• Communicate how imperative it is to tag all online and offline marketingcampaigns before it goes live. Share best practices.Your Computer Programmer• Your tech team will be able to assist you with internal tagging such as events andcustom variables. Come up with a tagging nomenclature so they don’t have to do theguess-work.Your Marketing Managers• Make sure they include you within conversations around partnerships, press releases,online publications, digital marketing campaigns, and vanity URLs.Admissions• Once a prospective student begins the inquiry process, admissions marketing takesover. Initiate conversations with your recruitment director to ensure all offline andonline interactions are properly tagged.
Review / TakeawaysBe proactive. Analyze all marketing campaignsand on-page objects for tracking opportunitiesCampaign tracking = External dataEvent tracking = Internal dataAlways refer to best practices when creating newtagsEstablish trust within your Admissions, Tech,Agency, and Marketing teams.