13 Jan

How To Set-Up Google Analytics Site Search Tracking

Google Analytics’ Site Search Tracking is an invaluable tool that gives you greater insight into what people are looking for when they come to your website.

It does that by tracking what people type in your site’s search box.

You can use it to get ideas for new keywords to target or topics for content and blog post, or just to learn more about what people want from your website.

Setting it up takes only a few minutes.

This post provides you a written reference of the set up steps.  There is also a “Google Analytics Site Search” how to video to see the whole set up.

Setting up Google Analytics Site Search Tracking

  1. Login in to Google Analytics, and click the Admin

 

 

 

 

2.  In the VIEW column, click “View Settings” (1st item)

 

 

 

 

3.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and find the “Site Search Tracking” option

 

4.  Yours will probably be in the “off” position.  Click the button to turn it “on” and the Site Search Settings menu will open up.

 

 

5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The key field here is the “Site Search Query”.  Google Analytics needs this to know when a search is being done on your website.

Finding Your Site Search Query is Easy

Open another tab in your browser and go to your website.

In your search box enter a term, anything will work.  In the example below I have entered a search for “Pay per click advertising”:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at the URL bar at the very top of your browser window and find the letter that comes immediately after the question mark in the URL address. That letter is your site search query parameter. In this example, the letter is an “s”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go back to your Google Analytics browser tab and type that letter into the Query parameter box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click Save – Your Site Search set up in complete!

To View Site Search Results in Google Analytics

After a few weeks you will want to look at your Site Search Data.  Here’s how you do it:

Click “Reporting” in the Google Analytics top navigation menu.

On the left navigation panel, click “Behavior” and the click “Site Search”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Browse your results, paying particular attention to the most frequently used search terms – these may be terrific SEO keywords, blog ideas, or indicate navigation problems your users are having.

 

 

 

25 Oct

Case Study: Bing PPC Advertising

man-considering-rewardHave you noticed some Google AdWords keyword prices are getting out of reach? Some customers’ keyword clicks are in the $20 – $50 range which has forced them into less expensive (competitive) and less popular keywords.

Alternative Google Advertising Platforms

To Google’s credit they offer less expensive alternatives such as their display network, and YouTube advertising.  In addition, both of these strong platforms offer sophisticated targeting to match your target buyer with their available advertising inventory.

Capture Buyer’s When They’re Looking

In my opinion the ideal time to match buyers and sellers is when the buyer is in their “moment of search” – Inputting the problem into Google looking for a solution.  For the record, Google is my search platform of choice simply because it reaches the widest audience.  However, when keywords are priced out of reach on Google Search, I wanted to investigate Bing Ads to see if prices are lower while still getting conversion efficiency.

Testing Bing Ads on My Own Business before Customer’s

Before selling Bing to customers, I figured it’s best to test it on my own business, Bird’s Eye Marketing.  Better learn on my account than theirs.

Talk to Someone First:  Helpful Bing Telephone Support

Before setting up my account I wanted to learn more by speaking to a representative.  I believe these pre sales conversations foreshadow things to come.

The representative was very helpful answering my questions.  They realized I was an “AdWords guy” and so the Bing Rep used AdWords terminology to help describe Bing’s advertising platform to me.  This made it particularly easy for me to grasp similarities (Ad Grouping, targeting) and difference (ad format and agency accounts).

Bing Account Set-up: It’s a Breeze

Honestly it was a breeze; the interface is intuitive and easy to understand.

Tool to Transfer Your AdWords Campaigns

There’s even a tool to transfer your Google AdWords account campaigns into Bing – campaigns, ad groups, targeting information, keywords, etc.  Big time saver!

The only item that didn’t come across from Google AdWords was the new extended text ads.  But we should not expect those to come across because their format is so different from Bing’s.

In future posts I’ll talk about keyword pricing, conversion tracking, and other experiences I have with this platform.

Your AdWords versus Bing Ads Comparison Experience

If you have comments or experiences with Bing versus Google AdWords, please comment below.

08 Oct

How to Create Marketing Tags for Your Promotional Links

Embedding tags in the links you include in your marketing campaigns like email, social media and other promotional activities lets you identify which ones are working, and which ones need improvement.

The data you get from tagging helps you:

  • invest your time and money where returns are highest, and
  • stay on top of changing trends in customer reactions/behaviors.
  • create more impactful messaging
  • and a lot more

An example to work from

The easiest way to learn how to create and embed tags in your links is with an example:

So let’s look at how I can promote the following PPC page on my website: http://birdseyemarketing.ca/birds-eye-marketing-services/pay-per-click-ppc-ad-campaign-optimization/.

For this campaign, I want:

  • The source is “social media”
  • The medium is “LinkedIn”
  • The campaign name is “PPC Advertising”

The campaign term and content are optional, so we’ll leave these blank.

To create your links with marketing tags:

1.  Get the URL (website address) of the exact page on your website you want the link to send people to. In our example, it’s http://birdseyemarketing.ca/birds-eye-marketing-services/pay-per-click-ppc-ad-campaign-optimization/

2.  Go to Google’s URL Builder; https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/ and complete the URL Builder form:

To get your campaign URL, input (at least) the required information and a campaign url is automatically genearated

Once you’ve entered the required information  (Website URL, Campaign Source, Campaign Medium, and Campaign Name) in the fields, click the blue Generate URL A grey box will open containing the tagged link:

Google URL Builder; Complete the form and the campaign URL is automatically generated

Copy and paste this tagged link into everything you do for this Linked In campaign.

(Note:  “Planning your Marketing Campaign Tags” post will help guide you how to name and why it’s important)

If you plan to use other social media, like Facebook or Twitter, repeat the same process for each one, swapping out Twitter or Facebook for LinkedIn as the medium.

If you’re also planning on doing email blasts and paid advertising, repeat the process for each of them.

How to Shorten Long Tagged Links

Link shortners such as BitleyOwley, or even Google’s (provided) shorten long links so they don’t hog all the social media characters.  For example the link generated by Google’s URL builder in this example is 177 characters, which won’t even fit on a Tweet.

This was shortened to a much more manageable 19 characters:  http://ow.ly/10vuwf.

I encourage you to use link shorteners, especially when you use media like Twitter where there’s a 140 character limit.

Efficiency Tip: Generate all of your long tagged links first and then get a short link for each of the URLs.

04 Oct

Planning your Marketing Campaign Tags

Use Marketing Campaign Tags to help you choose what brings the most sales

Setting up marketing campaign tags tells us how every campaign is performing.  Performance that goes beyond clicks, performance like how many sales were generated or email subscribers.  You get specific data beyond clicks.

The best way to show you how marketing campaign tags work is to use an example:

An Example Game of Link Tag

Let’s look at an example how you might use the medium, source, and campaign details:

Suppose you’re preparing for a charity golf tournament fundraiser.

To promote the event, you plan to use email blasts, social media posts (Facebook and Twitter), and perhaps a banner ad on a partner or sponsor’s website.

Each of these promotional items will take people to a page on your website where they can get specific event information such as the date, costs, and reservation forms.

You’ll want to know how many people completed the reservation form after viewing your email, social media posts, and advertising so you can optimize current and future marketing programs.

The table below shows examples how the medium, source and campaign might look for the golf tournament example:

Type of Marketing

Source Medium

Campaign

Email marketing / list Email List Name Golf Tournament
Twitter Social t.co (Twitter) Golf Tournament
Facebook Social Facebook Golf Tournament
Press release Affiliate Press Release Golf Tournament
Banner / ad on another website Affiliate Website where ad was placed Golf Tournament

 

Each medium, source and campaign will now appear in your Google Analytics so you can compare performance on many different levels and have data to improve future marketing.

 

This structure will ensure that Google Analytics captures data in a way that lets you analyze and compare results with past golf tournaments and even other events. For example:

  • Email performance against other campaigns
  • Social media performance against other campaigns
  • Individual social media performance against others
  • Paid advertising performance against others and against email, social media, etc.
  • Changes in customer behavior

After a few months of tagging, you’ll have a valuable bank of data to guide you in making objective, data-driven decisions about future campaigns, emails, social media feeds and more.

How to Embed Your Own Tags

For a step by step video demonstration and written instructions on how to embed tags into your links, go to my website Birdseyemarketing.ca.

 

This post is an excerpt of an earlier article posted on Bird’s Eye Marketing.

27 Sep

Tagging Marketing Campaigns & Go Deeper than Vanity Metrics

marketing-results-become-a-black-hole

You work hard at your marketing programs email and advertising campaigns and social media engagement. Your investment and hard work make marketing results important to you.

Your email application, or social media analytics won’t tell how well those activities are contributing to the specific goals like:

  • Sales revenue
  • Leads generated
  • Number of new email subscribers

Zero in on What Gets the Best Marketing Results

Data that links marketing activities to outcomes or goals, can help you make better decisions about where and how to invest your precious marketing time and money. It helps you see what’s sparking your customers’ interests, so you can give them more of what they want.

Applications Don’t Show You Complete Marketing Results

If you’re like most, you’ll turn to your email software, social media analytics and even web tracking software like Google Analytics for marketing performance data. But these applications don’t tell you which activities drove which outcomes.

Unless, of course, you’ve properly tagged the links back to your website.

Without this tagging, it’s almost impossible to get the results and trending information you need to guide your marketing efforts, decision or purchases.

What’s a Link Tag?

A link tag is just a set of instructions that tell Google Analytics or other applications how you want click data stored.

When you send email blasts, publish social media posts, or advertise, you usually include a link back to your website. Embedding a tag in those links organizes the click data in Google Analytics so you can accurately assess the performance of your marketing programs.

The Rules of Link Tags

For Google Analytics to organize you link click data, the tag you embed in the link must contain three elements:

  1. Medium: where you promoted the event (email, social media, affiliate websites, etc.)
  2. Source: more specific information about the medium (the email list name, which social media application (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.), name of the affiliate website
  3. Campaign: The specific product, service or event being promoted.

With a little planning it is easy to apply marketing campaign tags to your next marketing campaign.  In the next post to see examples how tagging marketing campaigns works.

 

This post is an excerpt of an earlier article posted on Bird’s Eye Marketing.

21 Sep

Marketing Results Through Tagging: How to Get the Specifics

Marketing Campaign Tag has a Source, Medium, and Campaign.
You work hard at your marketing programs email and advertising campaigns and social media engagement. Your investment and hard work make marketing results important to you.

Wouldn’t it be great to know how well those activities are contributing to the specific goals you’ve set; things like:

  • Sales revenue
  • Leads generated
  • Number of new email subscribers

Zero in on What Gets the Best Marketing Results

Data that links marketing activities to outcomes or goals, can help you make better decisions about where and how to invest your precious marketing time and money. It helps you see what’s sparking your customers’ interests, so you can give them more of what they want.

Applications Don’t Show You Complete Marketing Results

If you’re like most, you’ll turn to your email software, social media analytics and even web tracking software like Google Analytics for marketing performance data. But these applications don’t tell you which activities drove which outcomes.

Unless, of course, you’ve properly tagged the links back to your website.

Without this tagging, it’s almost impossible to get the results and trending information you need to guide your marketing efforts, decision or purchases.

What’s a Link Tag?

A link tag is just a set of instructions that tell Google Analytics or other applications how you want click data stored.

When you send email blasts, publish social media posts, or advertise, you usually include a link back to your website. Embedding a tag in those links organizes the click data in Google Analytics so you can accurately assess the performance of your marketing programs.

The Rules for Link Tags

For Google Analytics to organize you link click data, the tag you embed in the link must contain three elements:

  1. Medium: where you promoted the event (email, social media, affiliate websites, etc.)
  2. Source: more specific information about the medium (the email list name, which social media application (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.), name of the affiliate website
  3. Campaign: The specific product, service or event being promoted.

An Example Game of Link Tag

Let’s look at an example how you might use the medium, source, and campaign details:

Suppose you’re preparing for a charity golf tournament fundraiser.

To promote the event, you plan to use email blasts, social media posts (Facebook and Twitter), and perhaps a banner ad on a partner or sponsor’s website.

Each of these promotional items will take people to a page on your website where they can get specific event information such as the date, costs, and reservation forms.

You’ll want to know how many people completed the reservation form after viewing your email, social media posts, and advertising so you can optimize current and future marketing programs.

The table below shows examples how the medium, source and campaign might look for the golf tournament example:

Type of Marketing Source Medium Campaign
Email marketing / list Email List Name Golf Tournament
Twitter Social t.co (Twitter) Golf Tournament
Facebook Social Facebook Golf Tournament
Press release Affiliate Press Release Golf Tournament
Banner / ad on another website Affiliate Website where ad was placed Golf Tournament

Each medium, source and campaign will now appear in your Google Analytics so you can compare performance on many different levels and have data to improve future marketing.

 

Example of Marketing Campaign Tracking in Google AnalyticsThis structure will ensure that Google Analytics captures data in a way that lets you analyze and compare results with past golf tournaments and even other events. For example:

  • Email performance against other campaigns
  • Social media performance against other campaigns
  • Individual social media performance against others
  • Paid advertising performance against others and against email, social media, etc.
  • Changes in customer behavior

After a few months of tagging, you’ll have a valuable bank of data to guide you in making objective, data-driven decisions about future campaigns, emails, social media feeds and more.

How to Embed Your Own Tags

For a step by step video demonstration and written instructions on how to embed tags into your links, go to my website Birdseyemarketing.ca.

30 Aug

How To Import Your Google Analytics Goals into AdWords

Before you can import goals from Analytics to AdWords, you have to first link your AdWords and Google Analytics accounts. This is sometimes referred to as auto-tagging because the link automatically tags AdWords. You can create the link from either your Google Analytics or Google AdWords account.

How to Link Your Google Analytics and Google AdWords Accounts

Linking from AdWords

  1. In the top right corner of your AdWords menu bar, click the circle that looks like a gear.

From the drop down menu that appears, click Linked accounts.

Drop down menu from the Google AdWords gear icon

 

  1. From the displayed list of Google products you can link to, click Google Analytics.
  2. If your AdWords account is already linked to your Google Analytics account, and auto-tagging is already enabled, your screen will look something like this:

Google AdWords Auto Tagging Enabled

  1. If your accounts aren’t yet linked, you screen will look something like this:Successful auto tagging
  2. To link your Google AdWords and Analytics accounts, click the Enable for this account button. You’ll see this message:Auto Tagging Off

Google’s Instructions

Here are the instructions Google provides: https://support.google.com/AdWords/answer/3095550?hl=en&authuser=0

Linking from Google Analytics

  1. From your Google Analytics account click Admin in the top navigation menu. Three columns will open.
  2. In the middle column you’ll see Product Linking options. Click the Google AdWords option, and then follow the instructions.

Importing Goals from Google Analytics to Google AdWords

  1. Log into your Google AdWords Account.
  2. On the top navigation menu select Tools.
  3. From the dropdown menu that appears, click Conversions. The Conversion actions screen will open.
  4. On the Conversion action screen, in the far left panel, click Google Analytics.
  5. A screen opens that lists all of your Google Analytics goals. Check the boxes of the goals you want to import. Just pick the most important ones; limit yourself to one or two goals.
  6. Click the Import button at the bottom of the screen.

GA Goals for import

23 Aug

Conversion Tracking with Google Analytics Goals

Ace - Pixabay blickpixel

An easy and powerful way to track your AdWords conversions is to import one or two goals from your Google Analytics account into your Google AdWords account. It’s the method I recommend to all my customers. I’ve written step-by-step instructions for how to set up goals in Google Analytics.

Here are the advantages of this approach:

Little Risk of Putting Code on the Wrong Page

AdWords is great for tracking traditional conversions, where someone fills out a form, or click a link and is presented with another web page.

But there are other types of conversions you might want to track — like when someone clicks an email or phone number link, etc.

This was the case for one of my customers who was a contractor. We learned that most of their conversions were coming from phone calls – people clicking the phone number link on the website to call the office and make an appointment for an estimate.

Now here’s the catch. When people click these kinds of links they don’t go to another page with a different URL, so AdWords can’t track and report them.

But Google Analytics can. Google Analytics lets you configure a variety of “events” that you want considered as conversions and then setup goals for these events. When you then import these event goals to your Google AdWords account you get much more complete and accurate AdWords performance data, because Google Analytics tracks all the different types of conversions your AdWords campaigns generate.

This gives you much greater insight into how your leads are really being generated, and your best sources for leads.

Compare All Your Traffic Sources against Each Other in One Place

Google Analytics tracks the origin of all traffic to your website: search engines, emails, referrals, direct —and yes AdWords too. AdWords traffic appears in your Google Analytics reports as “Paid Search”.

Google Analytics then identifies conversions from each of these traffic sources for you. See Figure 2, the far right column “Request Contact… (Goal 3 Value). This means you can easily compare the performance of all your traffic sources in one report instead of having to toggle between multiple applications and reports.

Figure 2 – Google Analytics Traffic Report shows performance of all traffic sources including Google AdWords (Paid Search)

Google Analytics default channel comparison

Now you can easily see how AdWords conversions compare to other traffic sources like social media, SEO, email, and even other advertising like Facebook, and online publications.

Beware the pitfall

Many of us have multiple goals in Google Analytics. For example I’ve seen many accounts were an email subscription and a purchase is both defined as conversions.

If you import both these goals into Google AdWords, then create an ad that allows a visitor to both purchase an item and sign-up for your newsletter, Google Analytics will count two conversions from the same visit — which can cause some confusion. You could end up with a conversion rate higher than 100%.

Look closely at the screenshot below from one of my customer’s Google AdWords account. Notice the circled data that shows there are more conversions than clicks and a 124% conversion rate. That means there were more conversions than people clicking through to the website.

Google AdWords conversions as displayed in Google Analytics

Conversion confusion was making this customer’s AdWords data irrelevant and misleading them into believing they were doing well. But they weren’t actually selling a lot of products despite paying thousands for Google advertising.

I strongly recommend that you have only one goal / conversion definition in Google AdWords — usually a revenue goal such as an order confirmation or a lead form thank you.

For the customer in this example, I removed the email subscription goal from their AdWords account. They were still able to see email subscription conversions from AdWords in their Google Analytics account, but it eliminated the confusion and misleading data in AdWords.

Conclusion: Ecommerce Tracking Is Imperfect

In a perfect world, all AdWords conversions would be tracked by importing goals from Google Analytics.  Since we don’t live in a perfect world:

  • Ecommerce websites I will grudgingly use the AdWords Code on the order confirmation page
  • Lead Generation and not for profit sites I import conversions from Google Analytics.

Hopefully one day the world will be more perfect for ecommerce websites.

 

This post is an excerpt from a previous post; “The Different Ways to Track AdWords Conversions

16 Aug

Conversion Tracking with AdWords Conversion Code

With this popular conversion tracking method you take a java script “conversion code” that’s found in your AdWords account and paste it into the html code for your conversion web pages. These pages might be the order confirmation page of an ecommerce site, or the Thank You page that appears after a visitor completes a lead generation form.

Here’s an example of the AdWords conversion code:

AdWords Conversion Code Sample.

Installing the AdWords Code… Easy For Techies, Hard for many….

The instructions to place the code sound simple: “Copy the tag box and paste it between the body tags <body></body> on the page you would like to track”. If you understand what a <body> tag is, it’s probably easy for you to load the code.  If you don’t, know what a body tag is, have someone who does install the code on your conversion page.  (A <body> tag is part of the your website’s HTML code)

The benefits of Using AdWords Conversion Code

AdWords tracks every visit to the page with the embedded Java script and reports it as conversions that appear in your reports. It appears to be very simple.

Beware the pitfalls of Misplacing the Code

The AdWords Conversion code only goes on the web page where you know a conversion has happened; the “thank page” or order confirmation page.

I’ve seen several businesses misplace the code on their website.  Here are a couple of horror stories that caused huge over spending on AdWords advertising:

One client had embedded the code on their landing page, so AdWords counted every click to that landing page as a conversion, even if the visitor never did anything on that page to truly “convert”.

Another client placed the code on a form page instead of the associated thank you page. So AdWords tracked visits to the form page, instead of form completions (leads).

As a result of misplacing the AdWords code, both companies had a false and inflated belief their AdWords were performing extraordinarily well. So they couldn’t optimize their advertising spending.

The Circumstance When I Deploy the AdWords Conversion Data

As a general rule, I prefer to import Google Analytics goals into Google AdWords.  It’s easier to compare Adwords performance to Social Media, Organic Search (SEO), Direct Traffic, Email, etc…. more on that later.

Ecommerce conversion tracking is the exception simply because I have not seen a Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce tracking that is trustworthy.  Ecommerce is very complex and with so many different platforms out there (Shopify, Magento, Woo Commerce (WordPress), even Wix) I just haven’t seen one work.

The most common challenge with Enhanced Ecommerce has been transactions being attributed to “Direct” traffic instead of AdWords.  Or worse, the transactions do not even show up.

I have started suggesting my customers avoid the complexities of Google’s Enhanced Ecommerce and just install the AdWords Conversion code on their conversion page.

 

This article is an excerpt from a previous post “Different Ways to Track AdWords Conversions“.

09 Aug

The Different Ways to Track AdWords Conversions

cardsI love getting quick wins for my new customers. Often, one of the quickest and simplest ways I can do this is by improving the way they track conversions from their Google AdWords campaigns.

When starting out with a new customer I find that many use the Java script “conversion code” that AdWords provides to track their conversion.  This code is pasted onto the conversion page such as the order confirmation or “Thank You” page.

Many customers are surprised to learn an alternative way to track AdWords Conversions – Import Goals from their Google Analytics account.

Let’s look at both AdWords Conversion Code and Importing Google Analytics approach to tracking conversions.

AdWords Conversion Code onto Conversion Web Page

With this popular conversion tracking method you take a java script “conversion code” that’s found in your AdWords account and paste it into the html code for your conversion web pages. These pages might be the order confirmation page of an ecommerce site, or the Thank You page that appears after a visitor completes a lead generation form.

Here’s an example of the AdWords conversion code:

AdWords Conversion Code Sample.

Installing the AdWords Code… Easy For Techies, Hard for many….

The instructions to place the code sound simple: “Copy the tag box and paste it between the body tags <body></body> on the page you would like to track”. If you understand what a <body> tag is, it’s probably easy for you to load the code.  If you don’t, know what a body tag is, have someone who does install the code on your conversion page.  (A <body> tag is part of the your website’s HTML code)

The benefits of Using AdWords Conversion Code

AdWords tracks every visit to the page with the embedded Java script and reports it as conversions that appear in your reports. It appears to be very simple.

Beware the pitfalls of Misplacing the Code

The AdWords Conversion code only goes on the web page where you know a conversion has happened; the “thank page” or order confirmation page.

I’ve seen several businesses misplace the code on their website.  Here are a couple of horror stories that caused huge over spending on AdWords advertising:

One client had embedded the code on their landing page, so AdWords counted every click to that landing page as a conversion, even if the visitor never did anything on that page to truly “convert”.

Another client placed the code on a form page instead of the associated thank you page. So AdWords tracked visits to the form page, instead of form completions (leads).

As a result of misplacing the AdWords code, both companies had a false and inflated belief their AdWords were performing extraordinarily well. So they couldn’t optimize their advertising spending.

The Circumstance When I Deploy the AdWords Conversion Data

As a general rule, I prefer to import Google Analytics goals into Google AdWords.  It’s easier to compare Adwords performance to Social Media, Organic Search (SEO), Direct Traffic, Email, etc…. more on that later.

Ecommerce conversion tracking is the exception simply because I have not seen a Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce tracking that is trustworthy.  Ecommerce is very complex and with so many different platforms out there (Shopify, Magento, Woo Commerce (WordPress), even Wix) I just haven’t seen one work.

The most common challenge with Enhanced Ecommerce has been transactions being attributed to “Direct” traffic instead of AdWords.  Or worse, the transactions do not even show up.

I have started suggesting my customers avoid the complexities of Google’s Enhanced Ecommerce and just install the AdWords Conversion code on their conversion page.

Importing Goals from Google Analytics

Ace - Pixabay blickpixel

An easier and more powerful way to track your AdWords conversions is to import one or two goals from your Google Analytics account into your Google AdWords account. It’s the method I recommend to all my customers. I’ve written step-by-step instructions for how to set up goals in Google Analytics.

Here are the advantages of this approach:

Little Risk of Putting Code on the Wrong Page

AdWords is great for tracking traditional conversions, where someone fills out a form, or click a link and is presented with another web page.

But there are other types of conversions you might want to track — like when someone clicks an email or phone number link, etc.

This was the case for one of my customers who was a contractor. We learned that most of their conversions were coming from phone calls – people clicking the phone number link on the website to call the office and make an appointment for an estimate.

Now here’s the catch. When people click these kinds of links they don’t go to another page with a different URL, so AdWords can’t track and report them.

But Google Analytics can. Google Analytics lets you configure a variety of “events” that you want considered as conversions and then setup goals for these events. When you then import these event goals to your Google AdWords account you get much more complete and accurate AdWords performance data, because Google Analytics tracks all the different types of conversions your AdWords campaigns generate.

This gives you much greater insight into how your leads are really being generated, and your best sources for leads.

Compare All Your Traffic Sources against Each Other in One Place

Google Analytics tracks the origin of all traffic to your website: search engines, emails, referrals, direct —and yes AdWords too. AdWords traffic appears in your Google Analytics reports as “Paid Search”.

Google Analytics then identifies conversions from each of these traffic sources for you. See Figure 2, the far right column “Request Contact… (Goal 3 Value). This means you can easily compare the performance of all your traffic sources in one report instead of having to toggle between multiple applications and reports.

Figure 2 – Google Analytics Traffic Report shows performance of all traffic sources including Google AdWords (Paid Search)

Google Analytics default channel comparison

Now you can easily see how AdWords conversions compare to other traffic sources like social media, SEO, email, and even other advertising like Facebook, and online publications.

Beware the pitfall

Many of us have multiple goals in Google Analytics. For example I’ve seen many accounts were an email subscription and a purchase is both defined as conversions.

If you import both these goals into Google AdWords, then create an ad that allows a visitor to both purchase an item and sign-up for your newsletter, Google Analytics will count two conversions from the same visit — which can cause some confusion. You could end up with a conversion rate higher than 100%.

Look closely at the screenshot below from one of my customer’s Google AdWords account. Notice the circled data that shows there are more conversions than clicks and a 124% conversion rate. That means there were more conversions than people clicking through to the website.

Google AdWords conversions as displayed in Google Analytics

 

 

Conversion confusion was making this customer’s AdWords data irrelevant and misleading them into believing they were doing well. But they weren’t actually selling a lot of products despite paying thousands for Google advertising.

I strongly recommend that you have only one goal / conversion definition in Google AdWords — usually a revenue goal such as an order confirmation or a lead form thank you.

For the customer in this example, I removed the email subscription goal from their AdWords account. They were still able to see email subscription conversions from AdWords in their Google Analytics account, but it eliminated the confusion and misleading data in AdWords.

Conclusion: Ecommerce Tracking Is Imperfect

In a perfect world, all AdWords conversions would be tracked by importing goals from Google Analytics.  Since we don’t live in a perfect world:

  • Ecommerce websites I will grudgingly use the AdWords Code on the order confirmation page
  • Lead Generation and not for profit sites I import conversions from Google Analytics.

Hopefully one day the world will be more perfect for ecommerce websites.