One of the main advantages of online marketing is the ability to accurately track the success of different marketing sources, this enables optimisation of each campaign and efficient allocation of budgets to improve the ROI. This advantage is one that is essential to outperform competitors yet a large number of businesses that are investing money online are yet to set up a way to track different sources. It is not hard to set up your website to enable this tracking however, simply follow these instructions.
1. Set up Google Analytics
It is very likely that you have already have Google’s free web analytics offering on your website, but if not, it is as simple as signing up here and following each of Google’s sign up steps. The final step will be placing the Google Analytics tracking code on your website. To do this, simply copy and paste the code generated and place it on each page of your website just before the </head> tag. The easiest way to do this is to put it into your CMS’s header file or simply copy and paste it onto each of your pages – the important thing is that it is on each of your webpages. If you prefer not to use Google Analytics another powerful free offering is Piwik.
2. Set up Goal Tracking
The next step is to work out what you deem a ‘success’ on your website. Most likely it is someone filling out an enquiry or booking form or someone completing an online sale, but this could also be someone viewing a certain number of pages on your website if you make money from selling advertising. Goal tracking sets up a report inside Google Analytics where you can view exactly how many bookings/sales you are receiving and what the source of that sale was. To set up goal tracking follow these steps:
- Make sure that your website has separate ‘Thank You’ or ‘Success’ pages with their own URL.
- Login to Google Analytics and click the ‘Admin’ tab.
- Ensure you have the correct website and click the ‘Goals’ option.
- Click the ‘Create A Goal’ option and then pick a ‘Custom’ goal and hit ‘Next’.
- Name your goal and if your conversion type is a Lead or Sale pick the ‘Destination’ option.
- In the Destination field place the website address of your ‘Thank You’ or ‘Success’ page without the website address, for example if the enquiry thank you page is www.duncanjonesnz.com/thank-you.html then you would use just /thank-you.html. This guide will help you understand how to fill in this field.
- Verify and then Create the goal and repeat for any other website goals you would like to track.
3. Create Tracking URLs
Now that you have Analytics installed and goal tracking set up, the next step is to ensure Analytics knows where each person that comes to your website is coming from. It is recommended for any traffic source (other than Google Adwords) that you use tracking URLs as this will make it very easy to analyse each marketing campaigns success. To set up tracking URLs for each of your marketing campaigns follow these steps:
- Open Google’s URL builder here.
- Add details to each of the form fields as per the instructions. Term & Content can both be left blank.
- The Website URL should be the page on your site you want the marketing campaign to send traffic to.
- The Source is where you are getting traffic from, ie. Facebook, LinkedIn, Interest.co.nz
- The Medium should be the type of traffic source, for example email-marketing or banner-ads, this enables you to break down results by type of advertising not just the source.
- The Campaign Name is the most important step when creating your Tracking URL. I recommend repeating the source and medium and using a unique identifier such as the date or name of an email marketing campaign, this will assist you when searching in Analytics. ie. source-medium-date
Once you have built your tracking URL you then need to use this URL in your advertising. It is a good idea to segment your advertising as much as possible and create unique tracking URLs for each segment – this will enable you to monitor and improve your campaigns on a more granular level in the future. For example, you could use a separate tracking URL for each Facebook advert you are running.
4. Monitor the Success of your Campaigns
Now that you have everything set up and in place to track your campaigns the fun part begins – monitoring the success and optimising. Once you have had a campaign running for a few weeks, login to your Google Analytics account and click ‘Traffic Sources’ on the right, then ‘Sources’ and ‘Campaigns’, you then need to click ‘Goal Set 1’ which will show you each marketing campaigns results in terms of visits and the conversion rate of that traffic (the % of people that converted into one of your goals). To optimise and improve your online marketing ROI you can then allocate time and budgets to each traffic source based on a campaign’s success. You can also use this report to optimise and improve each campaign individually. For example I can see below that facebook-cpc-ad1 is working a lot better than facebook-cpc-ad3 and therefore ad3 should be paused with the full budget spent on ad1 to get the best results possible.
If you are having trouble getting any of this set up please let me know in the comments below as it is an extremely important part of online marketing and I can assist you until you get your tracking working correctly.