Analytics help you create smart marketing. Why? Because they can tell you so much about your efforts. With the proper information you can see what marketing efforts are successful, you can understand where the traffic to your website is coming from, and you can track and link users and revenue to specific marketing campaigns.
Becoming familiar with analytics can feel overwhelming. But not to fear! Before I developed my full love and appreciation for data I needed to learn how to use Google Analytics as well. Here are some easy ways you can get started using Google Analytics and successfully tracking your campaigns.
Getting Started with Google Analytics
One of the most daunting steps for getting started is actually setting up your website with Google Analytics. How can you do this? Google has some great detailed steps already dedicated to this exact topic, though the steps will differ depending on what website platform you use.
UTM Tracking for Specific Campaigns
UTM codes (short for Urchin Traffic Monitor) are tracking codes you can create and customize for all your campaigns. The best part is the data automatically populates into Google Analytics separate from all your other data.
How can you get started?
First, visit the URL Builder website. The amount of information you choose to fill in is up to you and your business goals. I have learned that you must fill in at least three fields: campaign source, campaign medium and campaign name. Let’s break those down:
Campaign Source: Think of this as the the “where” of the equation. It denotes where your traffic is coming from, be it social media, email, or display ads. Come up with a smart way to label this traffic for each different channel you use.
Campaign Medium: Think of this as the “how” of the equation. It denotes how people are getting to your website. Within the Facebook channe,l what is specifically driving them there? Is it your Facebook ads, a Facebook post, or perhaps a specific video? Create different ways to denote this within your UTM tracking codes.
Campaign Name: Think of this as the “what” of the equation. This will denote the specific Facebook post, Facebook ad, or video you post on that unique channel. Typically, I opt to including the date the content was posted so I know this is tied to content posted that day. If you post multiple times a day, adding a brief phrase tied to that single post can help you identify which post the traffic came from.
Please note that all your parameters are case-sensitive. Make sure you’re consistent with what you use and with capitalization so you can easily track all your results.
Once you enter all the parts, you’re going to get something that looks like this real-world example:
OK, so you’ve created your UTM code. Now what?
Find those results in Google Analytics under: Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns. This view automatically filters by campaign name and defaults to the top 10 traffic sources. Be sure to change the parameters if your result is not immediately showing.
Other Metrics Worth Learning About
Google Analytics is such a powerful tool that there’s no way we can cover it all in a single blog post. There are even custom reports you can create that are perfect for your small business.
Here are a few things I enjoy looking up in Google Analytics. In no way is this a comprehensive list; this is simply things that I’ve found useful for marketing.
1. UTM Tracking — Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns: I’ve already explained how to create, add, and find tracking for the UTM codes you create, but let me explain why this is my No. 1 choice. When I was creating ecommerce emails, this was the easiest way for me to find the revenue for a specific email. When I post to social media, this is the clearest way to see how many people click from that individual campaign. If you’re looking for specifics with your results, this is one of the best ways to do it.
2. Network Referrals (specific to Social Media) — Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals: This will display the number of individuals coming to your website from specific social media sites. If you want to see whether your time is better spent on Facebook or Twitter, this view will break it down for you so there are no questions.
3. Specific Website Page Traffic — Behavior > Site Content > All Pages: When I need to know how many people visited a specific page on a certain day, I’ll look in this view. I also enjoy filtering the view further by drilling down to “Source/Medium” to see how my traffic got to that page. Sometimes it’s very enlightening to see how many (or how few) people are visiting your website pages.
4. Audience Overview — Audience > Overview: This is the default view when you enter Google Analytics, and it is interesting and important in its own right. Here you can learn where your audience really is. Where is most of your traffic coming from? What device do they use to visit your site?
5. Specific Product Performance — Conversions > Ecommerce > Product Performance: This view is great to check in on individual products in your ecommerce store. Filter by SKU or by product name and you can see the sales for that product. This is a great way to see if sales are directly linked to individual promotions, or how products are performing without promotion.
Hopefully this helps get you started with Google Analytics and tracking for your small business. What other things do you enjoy searching for in the program? What else do you want to learn? Be sure to leave your questions or comments in the notes below!