Google Analytics Tips & Tricks for Marketing Campaign Insights
For a novice, the sheer volume of data available in a Google Analytics account can be overwhelming. Here’s the good news: most marketers don’t need to understand all of it. Most just need to understand enough to glean useful insights about active or past marketing campaigns.
What those insights are will depend on your campaign strategy and goals. Perhaps you’re running a B2B lead nurture campaign and you need to report on the site behaviour of those who visit via your automated emails.
Or, you could be running a brand awareness campaign using online advertising and need to easily identify changes to traffic levels and micro-conversions, like newsletter sign-ups on your website.
Whatever your objectives, today I’ll share three of my favourite Google Analytics tips and tricks, to help you to quickly uncover gems of insight about your campaign performance – and report these back to those who hold the purse strings!
If you’re completely new to the Analytics world, welcome, and please know that this blog is not a complete guide or how-to tutorial. For Google Analytics training, you’re welcome to make contact with us.
Nevertheless, the tips and tricks below should help you to get a better understanding of how your Google Analytics data can inform your campaigns.
Note: This article focuses on the ‘Universal Analytics’ version of Google Analytics.
Uncover campaign insights with these Google Analytics tips
Tip 1: Always use UTM parameters
‘UTM parameters’ sound pretty technical don’t they? In fact, using UTM parameters means simply using a tracking URL.
Most campaigns (with the exception of some brand awareness or offline activities) include a link to a page on our website. Making this link trackable means we’ll be able to quickly find the data for those who visited our website from a specific campaign, in Google Analytics.
Being able to isolate the website traffic coming directly from a campaign means we can more easily interpret this and also compare it to how our general website visitors behave.
UTM parameters are the bits of code we attach to the end of a landing page URL to make it trackable.
Take a look at the URL below. The parts after the last forward slash, in red font, are UTM parameters.
The UTM parameters included are:
- Source – the main source of traffic.
- Medium – the category within that source.
- Campaign – the name of our campaign.
But we can also include:
- Term – for paid keywords only
- Content – the specific ad content i.e. video, image etc.
Looking at the above tracking URL tells us three things:
- The source of traffic is social media.
- Specifically, the traffic is from Facebook.
- Any visitors using the link have come via our ‘Product Launch’ campaign.
In Google Analytics, the ‘Campaigns’ report will show us a list of any campaigns that had traffic during the dates selected. We can view this quickly by going to Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns.
You can add UTM parameters to your campaign URLs really easily by using the Google Campaign URL Builder.
Tip 2: Annotations save time
If there’s one feature of Google Analytics that is massively underutilised, it’s ‘Annotations’.
This is, quite literally, the ability to add annotations i.e. notes, to the charts in your account.
It makes it so much faster and easier to find correlations between your campaigns and your website traffic.
No more memorising or cross-referencing your campaign start and end dates, or the date you increased advertising budget or the day that a news publisher did a feature on your latest campaign.
Get into the habit of adding an annotation when something notable happens or you make a significant change to your campaign, and save future you some time and mental capacity.
You can add annotations to any chart in Google Analytics by clicking the small downward arrow underneath and then selecting ‘Create new annotation’.
Tip 3: Create custom reports and dashboards
As well as the standard reports that come readymade in Google Analytics, we do have the ability to create our own dashboards and custom reports. Doing so prior to a campaign launching means we can set up the charts and data we need to review regularly or report on later, ahead of time.
It’s not something you’ll want to do for every single campaign you run – perhaps your simple and minor campaigns don’t warrant this. Generally though, if you’re running a campaign that will spread over multiple weeks and months, or with many moving parts and a large budget, it’s a good idea to set up a custom dashboard early on.
Rather than hunting through the various reports and mass of data in your account each time that you want to see how a campaign is doing, you can surface the metrics you’re most interested in and have these waiting for you as soon as you log in.
You can even schedule this report to be sent to your email daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly, saving you the act of logging in altogether.
Just ensure that the dashboard you set up is aligned with your campaign strategy and the main KPIs you want to measure. You can always dive into the rabbit hole to find even deeper insights if you notice something that piques your curiosity.
Setting up a Google Analytics dashboard or custom report is straightforward. You’ll find these options under the ‘Customisation’ tab in your left-hand menu.
Go forth and analyse!
When it comes to marketing campaign measurement, there is so much to be learned from hard data and website analytics. The Google Analytics tips and tricks shared in this blog are just a few of the ways you can simplify and speed up your use of the platform, so you can get to those all-important insights and improve on what you see.
If some parts of this blog went over your head because Google Analytics is a bit of a mystery to you (zero judgement), let’s talk about tailored, personalised Google Analytics training for you and/or your marketing team. You can message us to chat about training in Google Analytics at any time.