Google Analytics does a great job of tracking where your site traffic comes from (also known as “referral sites”), but it doesn’t automatically drill down to what link or graphic it came from on a given page. This is particularly true if you have multiple links pointing to your site from one referral site page. Google Analytics lumps them together unless you do some advanced tagging.
What is advanced tagging in Google Analytics?
Google allows you to append tags to URLs that get picked up in your Google Analytics as a campaign, so you can see the results of traffic that each link brings into your site. I find this quite handy when trying to understand what elements on a site are actually bringing in traffic and, more importantly, what ads bring conversions (sign ups or sales). I can later use this tracking intellect to determine which ad campaigns to keep running.
When would you use this tagging?
There are times you may have multiple ads within a referral site, some of which are paid (such as banner ads or paid listings) and some of which are free (such as free directory listings and links within blog or forum comments). I only ever tag the paid links.
The screenshot below shows where I advertise on http://www.websitemagazine.com. I have a paid leaderboard ad at the top of the website (see #1), as well as a paid smaller ad mid page (see #2). These two ads are rotated from a pool of ads and the pages they get placed on can vary.
So technically, if I received traffic from both of these paid ads from the same page, my analytics results would not tell me which banner it was from – unless I do the advanced tagging, that is. I would not know which one is really more effective for my website conversions either.
How to tag banner ads to show up in Google Analytics
I like to use Google’s URL builder – it’s a great tool. Don’t think that you must use all six fields in the URL Builder form in each of your links, however – just use the ones you really need. Most times, you’ll probably only need to use Source, Medium, and Name.
The table below shows how I tagged my banner ads:
Google’s URL Builder generated my URLs for tracking of each banner and I gave the URLs to Website Magazine’s webmaster to link from my banners to our site:
Where to find your custom tagged campaigns in Google Analytics
You should start seeing traffic for each individual banner in your Google Analytics under Traffic Sources>Campaigns (usually after 24 hours once they are running).
And voila! Here is the traffic from my two banner ads broken out individually within my Google Analytics reports:
So now I know that our leaderboard ad brings in eight times more traffic than the smaller ad.
Another note: You can also use this tagging strategy for your email, Yahoo, and MSN Pay-per-click campaigns in order to see all campaigns individually in your Google Analytics results. But don’t worry about Google Adwords, as they are automatically tagged if you connect the accounts together!
Want to share your experiences or tips on campaign tracking for Google Analytics? Feel free to leave a comment. I am sure I have not covered all that it can do!Uncategorized | Tags: banner tracking, campaign tracking, google analytics, google tagging | Comments (10)