How-to-10x-your-analytics and optimize it

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Written by Houston Golden
May 20, 2017
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How to 10x your analytics (and a request for beta testers)?

Want to know how to optimize your analytics, and accurately measure all your marketing campaigns? It’s easy. You just need to use UTM links.
Most people assume that you copy Google Analytics code onto your site, and you’re ready to go.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that straightforward.
Google Analytics does do a lot for you. It can tell you how long traffic has been on your site. What percentage bounce you get on each page, where your exit pages are and if you set up goals correctly - how many people purchase.
But the thing is. Google doesn’t actually know who these people are.
It doesn’t really understand where they’ve come from or why they’ve visited your site.
The end result? Google can’t really tell you how your marketing efforts are performing.
You think all that email traffic you send on a weekly basis is being tracked properly? Think again!
Google actually struggles to identify traffic sources, particularly email. When you click an email link in the Mail app of your phone, or your desktop app, or even just Outlook in a browser, it can all be tracked differently, because Google can’t actually see where it’s coming from.

UTM Tags

This is where UTM tags come in, and they look a bit like this (deliberate broken URL):
website URL .com/email-course?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=email_course_launch&utm_medium=ppc
UTM tags tell Google where traffic has come from, the channel the traffic came through, and why you drove that traffic to your site.
Source: Your source describes where your traffic is coming from. Examples of sources would include other websites, and your newsletter.
It’s best to be generic with your source; ‘facebook’, or ‘newsletter’, but there may be times when you want to be a bit more specific, for example if you drive a lot of traffic from a Facebook group AND your personal profile, you could have ‘facebook_group’ & ‘facebook_profile’.

Don't Make A Mistake

One big mistake a lot of companies make with the source is using the name of a service provider such as Mailchimp or Intercom. If you switch provider, you start your new source from scratch. Best to stick with ‘newsletter’ or ‘automation.
Medium: Medium describes the channel the traffic came through. This could be email, PPC, affiliate, or something like guest_blog.
Again here you want to keep them quite generic. So Bing ads, Google ads, Facebook ads would all come under ‘paid’ or ‘ppc’, any organic social could be ‘social’ or ‘social_media’
Campaign: This is the bit you really control, and is the final compulsory tag. This tag tells Google exactly which marketing campaign it was that drove the traffic. So in the example above we have ‘email_course_launch’. When you combine this with the source and medium, you know exactly where this traffic came from and why it’s coming to your site (to claim your email course).
You have complete freedom of choice with the campaign as it can change very frequently. It’s just best to make sure the campaign name is identifiable and not a random string of letters and numbers.
We have 2 final tags that i’ll touch on really briefly.
Term - this is pretty much just used for adwords, and is automatically generated by Adwords, so you shouldn’t need to worry too much about it. It just tells you the exact keyword that drove this traffic.
Content - again, it;s not too important, but useful for when you are A/B testing creative, or maybe you have multiple CTA’s and you want to know which one performs the best.
So how do you go about doing this right?

There’s just a few key rules to follow:
  1. Every external link you control, should be a UTM link. But NEVER tag an internal link. You’ll override the original tag, and so a link on your blog will be responsible for all your sales, not the original source.
  2. Your links are public. Anyone can see that link once it’s in the address bar, so don’t use embarrassing or insulting words in there - utm_campaign=poor_suckers_buying_my_ebook for example, would not go down too well.
  3. Forgetting, or not even having guidelines. You need to be consistent. Decide what special character will break words apart, normally - _ or +. Capital letters or not? It matters. Social_Media is tracked differently to social_media.

If you do all the above properly, you’ll know exactly which marketing campaigns are working for you, which social media posts generate sales and even which call to action in your emails are the most effective.
You could even go further, and compare the converters vs non-converters for all the campaigns. Do certain countries convert better, desktop vs mobile, PC vs Mac and so much more.

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Houston Golden

Growth Marketer |
Forbes Top 12 Innovative Founders |

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