Thought Google Analytics was all about SEO? Think again.

Within his recent LinkLove presentation, Will Critchlow talked about this idea of becoming a ‘full stack marketer’ and it’s an idea that resonates here at Distilled and the kind of direction we are working towards as a company.

When it comes to being a smarter online marketer, it’s important to start thinking beyond SEO, particularly when it comes to analytics. Even if your job is just that, you can learn from other channels and the data they provide. If your client or company does more than just search engine optimisation, then they they need to be tracking as much of these efforts as possible.

With a new Analytics module now live in DistilledU, this post serves as an introduction to tracking different marketing channels such as:

  • Organic search

  • Paid search and display

  • Email marketing

  • Social

  • Conversion rate optimisation

Let’s get straight into it.

First up: Organic search

Now, of course, this goes against the intro to the piece but we like a post to be well rounded, don’t we? The key to analysing your SEO efforts through Google Analytics is to make sure your tracking is set up correctly and you are segmenting the data you want appropriately. With this all set, you can get the insights you need to drive the desired actions you want. Take a walk through these Google guidelines when it comes to setting your tracking up and take a look at the Google Analytics gallery (you’ll need to filter marketing function by SEO) and see what segments and dashboards are readily available for you to use. These can get you going really quickly and save you a lot of time with getting your own setup from scratch.

PPC, because we all love data

Some paid search platforms allow for pretty good integration with analytics platforms. The most common integration is probably Google Analytics and Google Adwords - which you’d expect!

However, even this still takes a bit of work before it is tracked correctly:

  • You have to enable auto-tagging in your Adwords account

  • You have to apply cost data in Google Analytics

  • You have to link your Google Analytics and Adwords accounts

If you’re using other paid search ad campaigns though, you may have to set up your own extra tracking.This is something I talked about in a former blog post by differentiating between your campaigns within your GA account; be it SEO, PPC, social..., it’s super important if you want to really identify the source that is driving your traffic.

Tag your posts.

Use the Google URL builder to apply a PPC tag to the medium tag. Then, when it comes to tracking your online efforts and the number of people this is bringing to your site, you can clearly see how many people are following the links and leading to conversions.

Lots of data to learn from

Even if your job is organic marketing, you can often learn a lot from paid search, including what keywords are converting best and attracting the most traffic. This information can then be fed into your SEO campaign and you can target keywords that you know convert well - rather than relying on keyword research from tools like the Google keyword tool which can't always give you very accurate figures.

Email marketing

Now, a lot of email providers do allow for nice integration of Google Analytics. We’re big fans of MailChimp at Distilled [not least for its cheeky tone!] which will allow you to simply add in a custom title for your campaign.

Head into the setup section of your email campaign and, with any luck, your ESP should offer up some tracking options. You can see here that MailChimp allows you to track your Campaign stats with Saleforce too. Add in the title for this particular message into the relevant box and you will then be able to follow this campaign and its click through rates in your Google Analytics. The image below should give you a better idea of this in action within the dashboard:

Let’s get social

There’s tons of ways to measure and quantify your social media efforts - with free tools like True Social Metrics to Followerwonk for a deeper dive into social authority and location - but it’s important that you are checking the correct reports in analytics to measure how things are working. Any links back to the Distilled site that are shared through social will all be built using the URL builder so that this source can then be easily identified.

This screen shot gives you an idea of what a company’s Google Analytics tab might look like. By setting up an advanced segment within the Custom Reporting tab, you can track specifics, in this case social sources. This kind of custom reporting allows you to build a picture of social engagement and its worth to your site.

Conversion rate optimisation

This might not be an area that you are currently focusing on but CRO can give some interesting insights into which keywords are converting best for your brand which, in turn, can then feed into your other marketing campaigns such as organic and paid search. It can also help you to work out where next to focus your campaigns; where are your visitors coming from? What were the reasons they didn’t purchase? Is social sending traffic but no conversions? If yes, then this is an area that should be investigated.

With this in mind, make sure you’ve got the tracking set up correctly within your Google Analytics. There are essentially two ways of doing this:

  • eCommerce tracking - As the name would suggest, this is largely used by ecommerce sites and will give you some more to add to your website for you to track product purchases through your site and when these visitors first came from initially.

  • Goal tracking - If you’re not selling a specific product, you can use this type of tracking to monitor important goals to your business i.e we might set up a goal through this to monitor the amount of people signing up to DistilledU and this would be our first goal. We can then track this to work out what areas are bringing us new subscribers and focus our attentions there in future marketing campaigns.


Offline marketing

In the past, it has been very hard to tie offline marketing activity into online and see how the two may be connected but it is possible. Here are a few areas you could focus on to try and track this:

  • Use unique purchase / discount codes - You see these codes all over the tube or within magazines encouraging you to purchase a product with a unique discount specific to that campaign. It’s then just a case of tracking the people that buy through your store using this code.

  • Unique URLs - Similarly to the discount codes, a unique URL will redirect you from the link listed to the site itself. It is then a simple case of either tracking the number of times the redirect is used or the number of page loads it has.

  • Annotations in Google Analytics - This is another thing we’ve implemented here in Distilled. By entering details on new promotions or initiatives, these can then help explain big fluctuations in your performance when it comes to analysing what is working.


Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics

Take a look at this video from Google Analytics themselves on how multi-channel reporting and tracking works with them:

It’s also relatively new but Universal Analytics allows a lot of this cross channel tracking and reporting so you can get a better understanding of how your online community is interacting with your brand or site.

Thought Google Analytics was all about SEO? Think again.

Hopefully this post has helped you to start thinking beyond the search ranking and instead how to get smarter at your marketing with these tracking functions across a whole breadth of areas. Remember for even more information and learning resources on the subject, the Analytics module is now live in the Further SEO section of DistilledU. We’d love to hear your thoughts on how you're using GA within your marketing efforts in the comments below!

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