Whether you are a seasoned digital marketer or a passionate new starter, you will realise that what differentiates a successful Digital marketer from the rest is their ability to track and measure every ad campaign and find trends which are easily overlooked by a normal eye. This continuous cycle of tracking, analyzing and optimizing is the mantra for a successful campaign.

Why Track

A typical marketing strategy means running ad campaigns on multiple channels (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc), Email campaigns as well as partnering with Affiliates to drive relevant traffic.

The ability to track who and from where are they visiting is a valuable opportunity to improve your campaign engagement and drive more conversions. When you benchmark your campaign performance you will be able to improve your campaigns in the future, and budget more effectively. Campaign and Ad Analytics is where smart digital marketing teams are putting their bets on.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a very important digital marketing tool, but seriously underused by most marketing teams. It allows you to measure the results of individual campaigns in realtime. It helps you to understand your audience, their behaviour and analyze the traffic. Google analytics is an integral part of any successful digital marketing strategy.

Questions to answer?

Before we go into details, one should make a list of questions one wants answers for with any analytics tool, for example :-

  1. What are my campaign goals?
  2. What does success mean for this campaign – conversion tracking?
  3. Is my campaign reaching intended audience?
  4. What could i have done better or optimized to get better ROI?

How to track

To enable google analytics you need to first signup for an analytics account and then get tracking Id and code snippet which you can then embed in your website html. More details here (https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1008080?hl=en)

Tracking Link

It all starts with first creating a trackable link for your campaign. Whether you plan to run an ad campaign on facebook or twitter, an affiliate campaign or an email campaign, creating a proper tracking link is the most vital thing. It allows GA to correctly track, analyze and organize metrics and traffic data for your campaign.

Google Analytics UTM Parameters

Google Analytics thinks of incoming visits in terms of a few dimensions or parameters. These dimensions are used for categorising visitors in different buckets so you can understand where the website traffic is coming from. You can use the following tool to build tracking links Url Builder (https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/)

There are 5 parameters:

  1. Source: The referrer of the visits, e.g., google, facebook, twitter or the name of affiliate partner.
  2. Medium: The marketing medium which can be one of  cpc, organic, email, video, social, . The default medium is referral if parameter is not set. Medium is none if its direct traffic.
  3. Name: The name of the campaign. It’s important to follow some good conventions while name campaigns. e.g. Facebook-US-Signup-ProductName
  4. Term: It is usually used for paid traffic only. It is the keyword when used for google search ads. For other ad platforms it is typically used for identifying the audience or the level below the campaign. E.g. for facebook it can be the name of adset or target audience
  5. Content: It is used to identify different ad types or ad format or positioning of ads. e.g. text link, logo link, top_banner. For facebook  one can use this field to identify ads which can have different copy and creatives

 


Campaign tracking example

To take an example, say you are running a Facebook Ad Campaign to increase signups for your website after the beta launch of your product. In this case the tracking url would look like:

https://example.org/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=fb-us-signups-beta-launch&utm_term=us-digital-marketers&utm_content=banner

To break it down, the above url tells GA that any traffic coming from this link, is for a Facebook Paid Campaign which is for Beta Launch signups. The campaign’s target audience are the digital marketers in the US and the type of Facebook Ad Creative used is a Banner Ad.

This URL allows Google Analytics to start storing data in a well defined manner using UTM parameters in the URL. If now you go to Google Analytics tool you will be able to lookup and narrow down the traffic and audience details very easily. Since your campaign is a Facebook Paid CPC campaign it will show like this in the dashboard:

 

 

If you drill down further we can see our campaign `fb-us-signups-beta-launch` listed in the table. Since utm parameters were used, you can now break down the data further using secondary dimensions as shown below. Secondary dimensions allow us to see breakdown of data based on content / keyword etc. These directly correspond to utm_parameters (content and term).

 

 

Cross Channel Campaigns

Taking the above example, If you were to run the same campaign on other social or ad networks the urls would look like. Keeping utm parameters consistent as below will make it easy to organize and compare campaigns running across different channels.

Facebook

Version 1 with adset creative banner:

https://example.org/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=us-signups-beta-launch&utm_term=us-digital-marketers&utm_content=banner

Version 2 with adset creative logo:

https://example.org/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=us-signups-beta-launch&utm_term=us-digital-marketers&utm_content=logo_200x100

Google

With Term – digital-marketing

https://example.org/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=us-signups-beta-launch&utm_term=digital-marketing&utm_content=banner

With Term – digital-advertising

https://example.org/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=us-signups-beta-launch&utm_term=digital-advertising&utm_content=banner

Affiliate Partner

https://example.org/?utm_source=affiliates&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=us-signups-beta-launch&utm_term=digital-marketing&utm_content=banner

Common Mistakes and Best practices:

  1. Consistent naming conventions: Your campaign names should follow a naming convention which is descriptive enough to immediately give you a hint of its objective and target in a glance. As your account grows and you run more campaigns following a good naming convention will make it easy for you to categorize campaigns. It will let you compare similar campaigns across different advertising channels. GA will allow you to easily filter and group data using simple search terms. An example of a simple naming convention for campaign name is: [AdNetwork-Target-Goal-Brand]. This is what we followed while defining the ‘fb-us-signups-beta-launch’ campaign name above.
  2. Consistent casing: UTM parameters are case sensitive and so when defining them follow a consistent case , all lowercase preferably. E.g. using “cpc” and “CPC”
  3. Tagging Properly:  A common mistake is to not use utm parameters properly. A novice marketer may use utm parameters for things it is not intended. You should ideally only use ‘term’ for a paid campaign. Don’t use parameters to dump extraneous information. e.g Putting source of a Facebook ad campaign as ‘facebook-post’ instead of just ‘facebook’, or using term to define a ‘email’, instead of using medium. Another bad example is to set utm_content to ‘conversion’  when it should be something like ‘top-link-conversion’ etc.

 

Ad Analytics: Review the past, focus on future

With campaign tracking metrics available, you’ll be able to benchmark against it when running and planning budget spend for future campaigns. You will be able to compare insights and optimize ad spend and target audience.

Adalyz now integrates with Google Analytics and allows you to quickly analyze campaign traffic and goals. You can now easily correlate and validate ad metrics from various channels (AdWords/ FB / Twitter etc) with real traffic data (GA). It’s just another small step by Adalyz to make Digital Marketing Analytics simpler for you.