How To Use Google Analytics

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Analytics is a way for you to calculate the ROI (the return on investment) of your different marketing efforts so it helps you see how much traffic different channels are driving to your site. This helps you see weather they’re worth spending time and advertising dollars on in different marketing channels.  By default Google will tell you the sources of most traffic that is coming to your site.  That means you can see organic traffic which means people coming to your site from Google search results pages, or social media platforms like Facebook by default.  But if you want to do some advanced things or advertising or email campaigns, you want to set up custom campaign tags to see exactly which traffic is coming from what sources.

Just like when a scientist puts a microchip on an animal so they can track them from place to place it helps you see where your users are coming from when were you want to use campaign tagging. So here are a few examples #1 in email campaigns.  This is really important because a lot of times email doesn’t  get registered as a source in Google analytics by default so you want to make sure your custom tagging any email link your using, especially for your welcome series if you have a welcome series when people first when your newsletter list you can set up campaign tagging one time and then you’ll always be able to see when people are coming from that email series.

Another one is social media advertising so when traffic comes from Facebook you want to make sure you know whether that’s an organic Facebook post that you’re posting for free or whether it’s ads that you’re paying for.  If you put campaign tagging on a Facebook ad you’ll know when someone’s coming from that ad as opposed to another place.  You might also want to use campaign tags in digital print pieces like a PDF you put somewhere or a press release you send out.  This will help you see when traffic comes from those print pieces.  A couple of things you really don’t need to tag are social media posts. By default Google tracks these and unless you want really specific data about which posts are sending what amount of traffic you really don’t need to use campaign tagging for that.  Also Google Ads – you can Auto link your Google Ads account with your Google Analytics account.  You don’t need to add campaign tagging to each individual ad you place because you will automatically see it in your Google analytics account.

What do I have to actually do to set up campaign tagging?

First you start with your URL, you decided which page of your site you want to send people to, that’s your landing page.  All you do is take that URL and you had a couple little pieces of code that will automatically send data into Google analytics.  You don’t need to do anything within your Google analytics account, it will just magically appear as long as you set it up right.

There are three main parts of a campaign tagged URL.

It starts broad and each one gets a little bit more specific.  The first one is the medium .  These are like broad buckets that describe the type of traffic you’re sending.  If it’s a paid ad you might use CPC which stands for cost-per-click.  You might use social for some kind of social or email if it’s email traffic.  You want to keep these as broad as possible because then it will be easier in your Google analytics reports to group like with like.

The next one is Source.
This might be the easiest to come up with because you’ve already seen this in your Google analytics reports.  It’s just a URL where that campaign tagged URL resides.  So from Facebook ad this might be  If it’s a placement that doesn’t have a website associated with it, you could use something like press release or just some description of where that URL resides.

Next is campaign name. This is the most specific of the three this is the exact campaign that you are running, so let’s say you have a Discount Wednesday campaign and maybe some other channels you could use Discount Wednesday or Discount Wednesday 2020 for your campaign tag across all those different URL’s.

One rule of thumb, when you’re coming up with your campaign name, most campaigns have a Set, Start and End date.  Those are the three tags you need for any campaign tag URL.  The medium, the source and the campaign name.  If we were running Facebook ads for our Discount Wednesday 2020 campaign, the source might be the medium would be CBC for paid ads and the campaign names might be Discount Wednesday 2020. 

There are two additional tags you can use if you need them, so let’s say you’re running an ad campaign and you want to test two different versions of an ad to do an A-B test.  You need to have two different URL’s to use in order to see them in different places in your Google analytics reports.  For these you can use content and tem.  Content is typically used to describe the content that surrounds the link we are using.  So lets say  in our Discount Wednesday campaign we have two images, one has someone in a blue shirt and has someone in a red shirt.  We might use blue shirt and red shirt for the ad content tags. This way we can see which one has better behavior when people click on it and then come to the site.  You can also use it to describe different types of links, so in your email maybe when you embed hyperlinks in the text those have one tag and when you link images in your emails, those have a different tag.

Last but not least is Term. Back when campaign tagging was really just used for AdWords or for other search terms, term referred to the key word where the ad was placed.  Now you can just use it whenever you need an extra level of granularity with your tags.

Now that you’ve decided how you’re going to name everything how do you actually build URL?  How do you actually make a campaign URL?  You don’t need to learn code to do this.  Use Google’s Campaign Builder. It is an awesome tool.  You can just plug in the different campaign source, campaign medium and campaign name that you want to use along with your URL and it will spit out a perfectly tagged URL for you to use without ever having to touch any code.  You should also keep track of all the different campaigns you are running.  Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your campaigns and which terms you’re using for each.

Now you have a campaign tag link!  The power of tracking is in your hands.  Make sure you use it for whatever email or ad that you designed it for!  When you view this data in Google analytics you will be able to draw conclusions about how your marketing efforts are doing.

Here are five quick tips to keep in mind before you start using campaign tagging for your URL’s.

Number One,  use consistent naming conventions.  If you are capitalizing the word email at one time and then use the word Email, or E’mail they are all going to show up as different lines in your Google analytics reports.  Make sure that you’re consistent across the board so things are grouped together nicely with in Google Analytics.

Number two, don’t tag everything!  Make sure you know what’s tracked by default within Google Analytics and what you’ll need special campaign tagging for.

Number three, don’t use campaign tagging within your site.  If you want to see how someone’s moving from one page of your site to another you can already see that in analytics using previous page path and next page path.  If you use campaign tagging you’ll overwrite that person’s original source so someone came from Facebook ads that will be wiped out and you lose that data when you add new campaign tagging.  You can use event tagging instead.

Number four, campaign tags can be really long and lofty and people aren’t likely to click long URL’s.  Use a tool like Bitly to create shorter URL’s that people will be more likely to click on and you’ll also want to embed things whenever you can so hopefully you’re never exposing your users to long URL’s, you’re embedding and hyperlinking text instead.

Number five, you can use the plus sign to create spaces in Google Analytics reports.  So if you want to use the campaign name Discount Wednesday in your campaign tags URL use Discount+Wednesday.  This will show up as two words Discount and Wednesday in your report.

Hope this gives you some insight on using Google Analytics.  Do it yourself, or have us handle that part of your marketing/tracking for you.

Many web design companies focus only on pretty graphics.  Some focus on fast loading sites.  But not too many dig deep into the interacting of Google Ads and Analytics as well! is more than a web designer.  We understand many of the different facets of what makes a web site tick!  We build what you need to help you with what you need help achieving.  We are not just another web site designer!

Give us a call to discuss your needs.  We design websites for companies in Kansas.  We also do business on a National level and work with companies in many other Countries.

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