BlogJanuary 2011Conversion Tracking with Google Analytics

Conversion Tracking with Google Analytics

Most people already understand the benefits of using Google Analytics to track their website visitors, bounce rates, traffic sources and so on. But are you aware of some of the great features it provides for tracking conversions?

In this blog I'm going to write briefly about three mechanisms Google Analytics offers and how you can easily put them to use for tracking conversions on your website.

Goals

Analytics provides room for you to create a number of different goals. And while there are a few different types of goals that can be defined, I'm going to concentrate on the URL Match goal.

Here is a common scenerio for using this type of goal:  you have a mailing list sign-up page on your website and you want to track how many people register.  First thing you need to know is the URL of your registration page (i.e. /register.htm) and second, you'll need to ensure the registration thank you, or confirmation, page is a different URL (i.e. /register_thankyou.htm).

Once you have these two pieces, you can create a goal in Analytics that will track the number of website visitors who a) visit your registration page and then b) sign up.

Using this same methodology, you can create goals for other actions such as a product purchase or online booking.  You can even assign a dollar value to what your goal is worth.

E-Commerce Site

I'm surprised how many people miss this feature, especially given how powerful it can be in tracking your actual conversion figures.  By default, when you create your website in Analytics, it is NOT set-up as an e-commerce site.  You'll have to Edit your website and select this option to activate.

When your site is configured as e-commerce enabled, you'll be able to track specific sales figures produced from your website.  And further, you'll be able to drill down to the amount purchase, where that purchase came from (search engine keyword, referring website, etc.) and other pertinent statistics around that sale.

To make this happen, you'll need to include a few snippets of JavaScript on your website for inserting information after an online order, so you'll need to involve your web developer.

UTM Tracking

If you've used Google Analytics for any amount of time, you've probably noticed that some website do not register correctly as a referring source.  Further, there are some sources that intrinsically cannot be detected, such as email marketing.  For untrackable sources like these, Google provides a way to pass a specific variable in the URL so it can track these sources under the Campaigns category in Analytics.

While UTM tracking has many options, let's just talk about one:  utm_source.  Let's say you send out an email marketing piece to your list and would like to track to results.  Or let's say you advertise on a website that, for some reason, Google Analytics doesn't do a good job of track visitors coming from their site.

Instead of using www.yourdomain.com or www.yourdomain.com/yourpage as your link, use www.yourdomain.com/?utm_source=NameOfCampaign (where the NameOfCampaign is the source you want to track).

So let's say you send an email called "Spring 2010 Specials" and you have links to your website within the email.  Instead of linking just to your domain, link to www.yourdomain.com/?utm_source=Spring+2010+Specials+Email.  Any visitors who click on that link will be tracked in Google Analytics under the Campaigns section of Visitors.

So there's three ways Google Analytics provides mechanisms for tracking, not just general site traffic, but specific goals, purchases and campaigns.  If you aren't using any of the above, give it a shot!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

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