Google Analytics ad campaign tracking

google analytics campaign tracking tutorial and google analytics campaign tracking best practices
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www.it-ebooks.info CHAPTER 9 Marketing Campaign Tracking Another important part of setting up Google Analytics correctly is configuring online marketing campaign tracking. Unlike other configuration steps, you don’t perform marketing campaign tracking in the Google Analytics administrative interface or on your website. Marketing campaign tracking involves changing the links used in your marketing activities. I’ll discuss this more in a moment. The reason marketing campaign tracking is so important is that, by default, Google Analytics places your visitors in three basic referral segments: Search Engines Visitors who access your site by clicking on a search engine result (both organic search and paid search) Referral Visitors who access your site by clicking on a link on some other website Direct Visitors who go directly to your website by typing the URL in their browsers While these segments are useful, they do not identify paid marketing activities. You want to measure paid marketing activities so you can better understand if they’re suc- cessful, and you can only do this via marketing campaign tracking. Using marketing campaign tracking adds a fourth segment to the list above: campaigns. How It Works Marketing campaign tracking is based on the process of link tagging, which is adding extra information to the destination URLs used in your online ads. The extra informa- tion is actually a number of query-string parameters that describes a marketing activity. Figure 9-1 illustrates how link tagging identifies your marketing activity. 89www.it-ebooks.info Figure 9-1. How link tagging works It all begins with the ad that the visitor sees (step 1). In this example, the ad is an email message. When the visitor clicks on the link in the email message, she is sent to a destination URL. Within the destination URL there are additional query-string param- eters that Google Analytics uses to identify the ad (step 2). When the visitor arrives on the website landing page, the _trackPageview() method begins to execute. It examines the URL in the browser’s location bar and identifies the query-string parameters that identify the URL as a campaign URL. _trackPageview() then copies the query-string parameters (step 3). Next, it splits the query-string pa- rameters into their name-value pairs, reformats them (step 4), and finally stores them in the __utmz cookie (step 5). Because the values are now stored in a cookie, any actions the visitor performs can be linked to the ad that drove her to the site. This includes conversions and transactions. Let’s dig a bit deeper and learn about the specific query-string parameters used in link tagging. Table 9-1 shows how the tagged link in Figure 9-1 was created. 90 Chapter 9: Marketing Campaign Trackingwww.it-ebooks.info Table 9-1. A destination URL before and after link tagging Link before tagging Link after tagging www.amazon.com/ www.amazon.com/?utm_campaign=fall-sale&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newslet- ter&utm_content=html Parsing the tagged link in Table 9-1 identifies the query-string parameters used for identifying the ad. Table 9-2 identifies each parameter and value. Table 9-2. The name-value pairs extracted from a destination URL Parameter Value utm_source newsletter utm_medium email utm_campaign fall-sale utm_content html Now I’ll describe what each parameter actually represents: utm_campaign The name of the marketing campaign. Think of this as a bucket. It holds all of the marketing activities in some bigger effort. For example, buying some keywords on Google, running some banner ads, and sending out an email blast may all be part of the marketing plan for some type of sale. These three activities, which are all part of the same campaign, can be grouped together for easy reporting. utm_medium The medium is the mechanism, or how the message is delivered to the recipient. Some popular mediums are email, banner, and cost-per-click (CPC). utm_source Think of the source as the “who.” With whom are you partnering to distribute the message? If you’re tagging CPC links, the source may be Google, Yahoo, or MSN. If you’re using banner ads, the source could be the name of the website where the banner ad is displayed. utm_term The search term or keyword that the visitor entered into the search engine. This value is set automatically for organic links, but must be set manually for CPC links. By default, Google Analytics will track the bid term and not the search term. utm_content The version of the ad. This is used for A/B testing. You can identify two versions of the same ad using this variable. This parameter is not included in Figure 9-1. Not all parameters are required. In fact, the only required parameter is utm_source. However, the core parameters are utm_campaign, utm_source, and utm_medium. To get the most value out of campaign tracking, you should always use these three when How It Works 91www.it-ebooks.info tagging a marketing link. You should use utm_term for tracking paid search advertising and use utm_content for A/B testing of different variations of ads (different banners, paid search ads, types of email, etc.) or collecting any additional information. You must set the value for each parameter. In reality, it does not matter what value you use. Whatever data you use will appear in Google Analytics. However, it is important to follow some basic guidelines: • Keep the value short. • Use alphanumeric characters and avoid whitespaces. • Make sure you and other Google Analytics users can understand the value when it shows up in a report. • Be consistent with your naming and capitalizations. The value of each parameter becomes a field or dimension in Google Analytics. Ta- ble 9-3 lists each query-string parameter and the field and dimension created from each. Table 9-3. Google Analytics campaign parameters and the fields and dimensions created from the parameters Query-string parameter Field Dimension utm_campaign Campaign name Campaign utm_medium Campaign medium Medium utm_source Campaign source Source utm_content Campaign content Ad content utm_term Campaign term Keyword We all know that Google Analytics creates reports by comparing a dimension to various metrics. The reports display the dimension values exactly as they appeared in the query- string parameter. For example, the Traffic Sources report is built from the Campaign Source dimension and the Campaign Medium dimension. These reports segment web- site traffic and conversions, thus providing insight into which marketing activities are working. The Traffic Sources report, shown in Figure 9-2, shows website data based on Cam- paign Source and Campaign Medium. The Source/Medium column contains all values for utm_source and utm_medium. But also notice that it contains other values that look familiar, specifically referral and source. Google Analytics actually assigns a medium and source value even if the visitor did not arrive via a campaign. The Traffic Sources report is a good way to look at marketing partners and evaluate their performance across all campaigns. Table 9-4 shows the default values for direct, organic, and referral traffic. 92 Chapter 9: Marketing Campaign Trackingwww.it-ebooks.info Figure 9-2. The Traffic Sources report Table 9-4. Default values for various traffic types Traffic type Campaign value Source value Medium value Direct (Not set) (Direct) (None) Organic (Not set) The name of the search engine Organic Referral (Not set) The domain that referred the visitor Referral Why Link Tagging is Critically Important Google Analytics will always try to place an untagged link in one of the default traffic source buckets (direct, referral, or organic). All CPC links that are not tagged will be categorized as organic. This can artificially inflate organic traffic volume, leading to incorrect analysis. All untagged links that appear in email marketing will appear as direct traffic or referral traffic. Visitors who click on email links using a mail application like Outlook or Out- look Express will appear as direct traffic, while those who use a hosted mail application like Gmail or Yahoo Mail will appear as a referral. Check your Traffic Sour- ces→Referring Sites report. Do you see a large number of referrals from mail.ya hoo.com or mail.google.com? If you’re using Google AdWords, it is highly recommended that you enable autotag- ging. If you are using other paid search systems, like Yahoo Search Marketing or Mi- crosoft adCenter, you must tag the destination URLs manually. This is absolutely vital to configuring Google Analytics correctly. How It Works 93www.it-ebooks.info If you’re interested in a single marketing campaign, try the Campaigns report. The Campaign report, shown in Figure 9-3, shows how Google Analytics segments visita- tion data based on a marketing campaign, which have been identified using the link- tracking parameters in Table 9-3. Figure 9-3. The Campaign report automatically segments site data based on the utm_campaign value How to Tag Links The process of link tagging is simple. Start by identifying the marketing information to be placed in the query-string parameters. Specifically, you need to identify the cam- paigns, mediums, sources, and potential keyword and content values. Remember, you use the keyword parameter only for tracking search-based ads, and you use the content parameter to identify different variations of an ad. I recommend using some type of spreadsheet to organize the information. Once you have identified all the parameter values, modify the destination URLs to include the parameters and values. Place a question mark at the end of the destination URL followed by the query-string parameter. Separate each name-value pair using an ampersand (&). 94 Chapter 9: Marketing Campaign Trackingwww.it-ebooks.info If the destination URL already has query-string parameters, simply add the Google Analytics parameters at the end of the URL. Separate the Google Analytics parameters from the existing parameters using an ampersand (&). Link tagging works for any destination URL. So, if you are sending out email messages or using banner ads, you should be tagging the destination URLs. In general, anytime you pay for advertising on the Web, you should try to tag the URL used in the ad. A very simple way to tag your advertising links is to use the Google Analytics URL Builder (Figure 9-4), a free tool on the Google Analytics support site (http://troni.me/ 9VYkUN). Figure 9-4. Google Analytics URL Builder Simply enter your desired values for each campaign tracking parameter and a destina- tion URL. Then click Generate URL and the tool will return a tagged URL. This process works, but it has two issues. First, this process can be incredibly time-consuming if you have a lot of links to tag. Second, the URL Builder does not store or record any previous values used for the campaign tracking parameters. Remember, it is critical to be consistent when choosing values for your campaign parameters. A better method is to use a Google spreadsheet to record campaign tracking values. I like using a Google spreadsheet, as you can share it among different teams within an organization. You can find a sample spreadsheet at http://troni.me/cyXEOh. How to Tag Links 95www.it-ebooks.info If your website uses redirects on the landing pages, there may be trouble with link tagging. The Google Analytics campaign tracking parameters must be present in the URL of the landing page. If the URL does not physically contain the tracking parameters, the visit will not be attrib- uted to the correct ad. It is recommended that you test your campaign tracking. Before sending out an email blast, send it to a group of coworkers and ask them to click on the links. Check your Google Analytics data in one to three hours and look for the data. Some destinations URLs, especially those used in email marketing, can be very long even before the addition of the Google Analytics campaign tags. One trick is to create a custom URL on your website and direct all traffic from the email campaign to the custom URL. Then, when a visitor lands on the custom URL, dynamically append the campaign tracking variables to the URL. You can do this using application-level code or a simple HTML META refresh tag. Another option is to use a URL-shortening tool, like bit.ly, TinyURL.com, or Cli.gs. Tracking AdWords The Google Analytics and Google AdWords systems are connected, which leads to some wonderful data. To take advantage of this interconnectivity, you must link the AdWords account to the Analytics account. There are two steps to linking an AdWords and Analytics account: enable autotagging and apply cost data. The Auto-tagging feature (shown in Figure 9-5) automates the link tagging process that you can use to track a CPC campaign. When Auto-tagging is enabled, Google AdWords automatically adds a query-string parameter to the destination URL that identifies Google AdWords as the referring site. While this parameter is different than the stand- ard link tagging parameters, it does the same thing. The query-string parameter is named gclid and contains a random value. The second benefit of linking an AdWords account to an Analytics account is the Apply Cost Data feature (Figure 9-6). If you enable this option, Google Analytics imports your AdWords cost data and uses it in ROI and other calculations. You must enable the Apply Cost Data feature to correctly track AdWords traffic. If you have inadvertently linked a Google AdWords account to a Google Analytics account, you can manually unlink the accounts in AdWords. Log in to your AdWords account, select the reporting tag, and choose Google Analytics. Choose “Edit account settings” at the top of the page and use the Unlink AdWords Account link to unlink the entire account, including all profiles, from the AdWords account. 96 Chapter 9: Marketing Campaign Trackingwww.it-ebooks.info Figure 9-5. Activate the Auto-tagging feature in the Account preferences section of the My Account tab In some cases, you may want to unlink a specific profile within your account from AdWords but keep other profiles linked to the AdWords account. This can be very useful if you need to keep certain employees or contractors from seeing your ad expenditure. To unlink a profile from AdWords, navigate to the Profile Information page. There is an option, shown in Figure 9-7, to apply cost data. You can remove the cost data from the profile by removing the check from the checkbox. Cost data will no longer appear in this profile. Tracking Other CPC Sources While tracking Google AdWords with Google Analytics is fairly easy, tracking other paid search engines can be challenging, to say the least. The problem with tracking Yahoo Search Marketing, Bing Search Advertising, and other search tools is that they use keyword-level tracking. Remember, Google Analytics has a specific parameter, utm_term, to track keywords. However, creating a destination URL for each keyword can be close to impossible if you have a large number of keywords. To simplify the process, you can use a common feature that most search platforms have: dynamic insertion. Dynamic insertion is a way to replace, in real time, a piece of the destination URL with some piece of information from the visitor’s search. This can make it much easier to populate the destination URL with a utm_term tag. Tracking Other CPC Sources 97www.it-ebooks.info Figure 9-6. Use the Apply Cost Data option to add your AdWords cost data to Google Analytics Figure 9-7. You can remove AdWords cost data from an individual profile on a profile-by-profile basis 98 Chapter 9: Marketing Campaign Trackingwww.it-ebooks.info Each search engine has its own convention for dynamic insertion. Tables 9-5 and 9-6 show some suggestions for values you can use in link tagging. Table 9-5. Suggested link tagging parameters and values for tracking Bing Search Advertising Tracking parameter Value utm_campaign YOUR-CAMPAIGN-NAME-HERE utm_content mAdID utm_source msn utm_medium cpc utm_term keyword Table 9-6. Suggested parameters and values for Yahoo Search Marketing Tracking Parameter Value utm_campaign YOUR-CAMPAIGN-NAME-HERE utm_content YYSMADID utm_source yahoo utm_medium cpc utm_term YSMKEY If you use a bid management tool, like ClickEquations or SearchRev, to manage your paid search ad expenditure, you can simplify the process. These tools can automatically place certain pieces of information in the destination URL. They can also place a lot of garbage in the campaign tracking parameters. It’s important to understand how your bid management tool integrates with Google Analytics campaign tracking. For example, when using Click Equations, the Campaign name will appear the same way in Google Analytics as it does in ClickEquations. How- ever, when using a tool like SearchRev, the campaign names will be modified, as shown in Figure 9-8. Tracking Email Email, like all marketing activities, is a process. This process includes reaching out to an individual with an email message, hoping the recipient opens the message and re- sponds by clicking on a link in the message. You can measure each step in this process. However, Google Analytics can only measure how much website traffic the email mes- sage generates. It cannot measure how many people received or opened the message. You can use link tagging to track email with Google Analytics. As mentioned above, Google Analytics cannot measure what happens in the recipient’s inbox. It can only measure what visitors do on the website after clicking on a link in an email message. Tracking Email 99www.it-ebooks.info Figure 9-8. Some tools, like SearchRev, will modify the utm_campaign parameter, making it difficult to read certain reports Creating a link tagging strategy for tracking email depends on your email marketing strategy. Email marketers often segment their email lists many different ways depending on the type of marketing activity. For example, a company may target parents in a back- to-school campaign and send a parent-themed message to members on the email list who are parents. The Google Analytics measurement strategy should follow this overall marketing strategy and track how well or poorly the “parents” segment of email traffic performed. When creating your link tagging strategy for email, remember you have four query- string parameters to track email. Try to stuff as much information as you can into these parameters to increase your ability to segment data in Google Analytics. utm_campaign You can send email communications as part of a large marketing effort or inde- pendently. It depends on what the organization is using email messages for. This has a direct impact on the value of the campaign parameter. If the email message is sent out as part of a larger campaign, you can use the name of the main campaign. This will provide the ability to segment the main campaign by the different mar- keting mediums within the campaign. If the email message is sent as a standalone campaign, use something that clearly identifies the campaign. 100 Chapter 9: Marketing Campaign Trackingwww.it-ebooks.info utm_medium This parameter is easy. I find the best value for utm_medium is email. That’s it, nice and simple. utm_source The source parameter is useful for tracking the type of email and the segment receiving the email message. utm_content You can use the content parameter to identify different variations of an email mes- sage. For example, parents of high-school-aged children receiving a back-to-school campaign message may get a different themed email message than parents with grade-school-aged children. Some organizations like to use the utm_term parameter when tracking email. This provides a fifth parameter to hold more information about the email campaign, I personally do not like this method, as it adds non- keyword data to keyword reports. If you choose to use utm_term to track email, be sure to add an include filter to any profiles that are used for search engine optimizations (SEOs) or CPC analysis. With the rise in popularity of Google Analytics, many email vendors have integrated Google Analytics tracking. Most of the integrations include automatically adding the campaign tracking parameters to the links in your email message. Figure 9-9 shows the integration of Mail Chimp with Google Analytics. Figure 9-9. Some tools, like Mail Chimp, will automatically tag email links for you By default, Mail Chimp will use the current date for the campaign name, the email list name for the source, and a value of “email” for the medium. It will not use a value for utm_content. While this can be enormously helpful and save you much time, make sure the default values used by your email provider jive with your overall link tagging strat- egy. Check with your email provider to determine if it integrates with Google Analytics. Tracking Email 101www.it-ebooks.info If you host and run your own email marketing tool, it may be worth your time to modify the tool to automatically tag the links with the link tagging parameters. If you use some type of email tool, check to see if there is a plug-in or extension that provides the functionality. Email Messages to Complete Conversion Activities Some website conversions, like signing up for an email newsletter, have an email con- firmation component. In these cases, the visitor must complete the conversion process by clicking on a link in some type of confirmation email message. Many people wonder if this email message should be tracked with campaign tracking and what the optimal solution is for understanding the overall conversion process. In this type of situation, it’s best to remember that you want to measure the visitor’s progression through a process. As such, we want to generate metrics at each step to better understand where there may be issues. In reality, this has very little to do with using campaign tracking for email tracking and more to do with goals. Step one is to create a goal to track how many visitors submit the original email form. This goal will track when visitors submit their email address. After the visitor submits her email address, she usually gets some type of thank-you page. This thank-you page should be configured as a goal. The visitor also gets some type of confirmation email message, indicating she must click on a link to confirm her subscription. The next step in tracking this process is to track when someone clicks a link in the confirmation email message. This message usually contains a link that will bring the visitor to a confirmation page on the website. We know that every time this page is viewed, the visitor came from a “confirm your signup” type of email message. What we want to do is connect this activity with the original activity that brought the visitor to the site. As mentioned above, we can’t track visitor actions in their inbox. But we can track what happens when they land on the site if we tag the links in the email message. To ensure we do not overwrite the original information that brought the visitor to the site, we can use a campaign tracking feature called no_override. This is a query-string parameter that you can add to destination URLs in email messages and other marketing materials. It’s very similar to the standard link tagging parameters. Here’s how a link in an email message might look with the no_override parameter: www.cutroni.com/newsletter/signup/confirm.php?no_override=1 You can also use a funnel to track a visitor’s progress through this process. However, the visitor may not immediately return to the site. There may be some interval of time between when the visitor submits his email address and when he confirms his sub- scription. If the visitor does not confirm his subscription within the visit timeout limit (30 minutes by default), Google Analytics will create a new visit. This will result in an abandonment from the funnel report. In reality, the visitor did not abandon the process; he just took his time. 102 Chapter 9: Marketing Campaign Trackingwww.it-ebooks.info Embedding Campaign Tags Within a Page In some cases, it may not be possible to use link tagging. For example, there may be some redirects between the visitor’s click and the landing page that remove the cam- paign tracking parameters. Or perhaps you’re involved with an offline campaign that is driving traffic to an online landing page. To dynamically add campaign parameters to the landing page, we can use as bit of JavaScript wizardry to manipulate the URL. Specifically, we can utilize a method known as _setAllowAnchor(). This command will instruct Google Analytics to look for the campaign parameters after a hash or pound symbol () rather than behind the question mark. The code below shows the standard page tag that has been modified to dynam- ically add link tagging parameters using JavaScript: script type="text/javascript" var _gaq = _gaq ; _gaq.push('_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXXX-YY'); _gaq.push('setAllowAnchor',true); location.hash = "utm_source=my-source&utm_campaign=my-campaign&utm_medium =my-medium"; _gaq.push('_trackPageview'); (function() var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')0; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); )(); /script script When the JavaScript executes, the browser will refresh with the same URL and add the campaign parameters specified in the code. Be aware that if you try to send traffic to this page and you tag the links with the Google Analytics tracking code, the information in the JavaScript will overwrite the information in the link tags. You need to determine when it is appropriate to use this type of hack and how it could interfere with other campaign tracking. Understanding Conversion Attribution Visitor campaign information is stored in the __utmz cookie on the visitor’s machine. This cookie not only stores campaign information, but also all referral information, including organic referrals, untagged referral links, and direct visits. Understanding Conversion Attribution 103www.it-ebooks.info Each time a visitor visits the website, the _trackPageview() function updates the __utmz cookie with the appropriate campaign information. When the cookie is updated, Goo- gle Analytics discards the previous campaign information. As a result, Google Analytics tracks only the current campaign information, not previous campaign information. With that said, there is a hierarchy of data importance that Google Analytics references before it updates the __utmz cookie and overwrites the referral information. Google Analytics buckets traffic in four basic ways: Campaigns Links that are tagged with campaign information. Referrals Visitors who click on an untagged link residing on a web page. Direct Visitors who type the URL directly into the browser. Search Engines Visitors who click on a search engine result. Here is how Google Analytics updates the campaign tracking cookie based on the referrer: • Direct traffic is always overwritten by referrals and by organic and tagged links. • Referrals and organic or tagged links always overwrite existing information. This is called last click attribution. For example, a user may visit a site via a tagged link in a newsletter. When the visitor leaves the site, the campaign tracking cookie persists for six months and indicates that the visitor arrived via the newsletter. Now suppose the same visitor decides to come back to the site one day later and types the website URL into the browser. This is a direct visit. The campaign cookie will still indicate that the visitor arrived via the newsletter, because the second visit was a direct visit, and direct traffic does not overwrite existing campaign information. If, one day later, the visitor clicks on a tagged CPC link, the __utmz cookie is updated to indicate the visitor clicked on a paid search link, and the visit is attributed to the CPC link. The timeout value for the campaign cookie is set to six months, by de- fault. You can change this value for by using the _setCookieTimeout() method. Normally this is not required. You can configure Google Analytics to retain the original campaign data stored in the __utmz cookie. To enable this feature, add an additional query-string parameter to a destination URL. The query-string parameter, utm_nooverride=1, will alert Google 104 Chapter 9: Marketing Campaign Trackingwww.it-ebooks.info Analytics that it should retain the existing campaign information. This essentially changes Google Analytics to use first-click attribution. While helpful, this technique does not prevent the GATC from updating the campaign cookie if a visitor arrives by organic search or untagged referral link. This technique is helpful only in preventing tagged campaign links from overwriting existing referral information. Tracking Internal Marketing Campaigns Internal campaigns are marketing efforts that you run on your site to promote your products and services. Companies should track how people react to these campaigns and which ones are most successful. But what’s the best way to do this with Google Analytics? Some people use the standard campaign tracking to track internal campaigns. This is incorrect and you should never do it. Using the standard campaign tracking for internal campaigns will cause problems with your source data in the __utmz cookie. There are a few ways to track internal campaigns using various Google Analytics fea- tures. You can use event tracking, custom variables, or virtual pageviews. I prefer to use the Google Analytics Site Search feature. You can easily configure Site Search to track internal campaigns. Let’s walk through the steps to set up Site Search to track internal campaigns and then walk through the data and analysis. Step 1: Create a New Profile Because we’re using Site Search for an unintended purpose, it’s best to configure these settings on a new profile. It’s not possible to use Site Search for tracking both internal campaigns and internal site searches within the same profile—you need to have a sep- arate profile to track internal campaigns. Step 2: Tag Your Internal Campaigns Once you’ve created your new profile, it’s time to tag your internal campaigns. Internal campaigns must be tagged in a similar manner to external campaigns: you need to add query-string parameters to your internal ad. Unlike external campaigns, you do not use the standard link tagging parameters (utm_campaign, utm_medium, etc.)—you get to make up your own parameters. You can use one or two parameters for internal campaign tracking and you can name them anything you want. The reason you can use one or two parameters is that the Google Analytics Site Search configuration uses two parameters, one for the search phrase and one for the search category. Whichever you choose, make sure you do not use the parameters for anything else. Tracking Internal Marketing Campaigns 105www.it-ebooks.info Check your Top Content report for a complete list of your site’s query- string parameters. Verify that the parameters you create are not in this list. For example, we can use the parameter icn (short for internal campaign name). This parameter will hold the name of the internal campaign. We can use the following format for the value of the campaign name parameter: icn=internal-campaign-name I mentioned that you can use two parameters. You don’t need to use two, but you can configure Site Search to track the internal site search phrase and a site search category. We’ll use the category parameter to track the internal campaign name. Let’s name the second parameter ici (short for internal campaign info). Again, make sure the parameter you’re using does not already exist. This second parameter lets us collect details about the ad the visitor clicked on and the location of the ad. Here’s a basic format: ici=ad-creative_location-on-the-page You can see that we’re stuffing a lot of information into the parameter. You can put whatever you want and Google Analytics will gladly suck it in. By adding more infor- mation, we’ll get a granular view of how the internal campaigns perform and which locations and variations lead to the most conversions. If you don’t have different types of internal ads or just don’t care about this level of detail, you can ignore the add ici parameter. Now define the values for all the ads. This can get messy if you’re running a lot of internal campaigns, but you can do it—just be organized Use a spreadsheet to keep track of all the values you use. Once you’ve got all your parameters, it’s time to tag your links. The exact process depends on your site. You may need to change static links, like this: a href="/internal-page.php?icn=2010-spring-sale&ici=stubs_home-roller Or, if you have complicated Flash ads, you may need to get inside the Flash code. It depends on your site. The bottom line is when someone clicks on an internal ad, you want to see your internal campaign parameter on the next page. If you don’t see the parameter in the URL, you did something wrong. You can use the sample spreadsheet to track the different parameters you use for your internal campaigns. The spreadsheet also has a formula in column D to automatically add the parameters to your URLs. 106 Chapter 9: Marketing Campaign Trackingwww.it-ebooks.info Once you have added the parameters to your links, it’s time to configure the Site Search settings. Step 3: Configure Site Search Settings Remember, we’re configuring these settings on a new profile so we don’t break the site search in our main reporting profile. Site search has three settings. First, turn Site Search on (Figure 9-10). Next, enter the name of the parameter that contains the site search phrase (in this case, it’s our internal campaign name) into the Query Parameter field. Next, choose Strip Query String Parameters. This setting will remove the parameter from the URL after Google Analytics processes the data. This is a good idea, because it reduces duplicate pages in your Top Content reports. You will probably want to exclude your internal campaign name pa- rameter and internal campaign information parameter from your other profiles. It can really mess up your pageview data. If you’re using an internal campaign information parameter, configure the Site Search Category settings the same way. Just make sure you use your internal campaign infor- mation parameter in the Category Parameter setting. Figure 9-10. Site Search settings for tracking internal marketing campaigns Tracking Internal Marketing Campaigns 107www.it-ebooks.info The Reports Let’s start by answering a simple question: do people who respond to internal cam- paigns convert more or less than those who do not respond to internal campaigns? To answer this question, use the Content→Site Search→Usage report. Figure 9-11 shows that there were only eight visitors who clicked an internal campaign. Sad But it’s just test data. Now let’s drill deeper and identify which internal campaigns are most effective. Use the Content→Site Search→Search Terms report, as shown in Figure 9-12. This report contains the names of all internal campaigns. Again, what was the response to the campaign? Was it worth the effort? Don’t forget to check the Goals tab and the Ecom- merce tabs (if applicable) to measure outcomes Figure 9-11. When used for internal site search tracking, the Site Search Usage report will display clicks on internal campaigns Figure 9-12. The Search Terms report shows which internal campaigns visitors responded to 108 Chapter 9: Marketing Campaign Tracking