A marketing campaign can be defined as a series of activities used to promote a product or service to a defined target audience within a specified time period. It is designed with a specific objective in mind and has a start and end date. There are different types of marketing campaigns, ranging from traditional media type campaigns on TV, radio, newspaper and print to new media digital campaigns on Search Engines, Display and Social Networks. This article will focus on digital campaigns which are both measurable and highly targeted.
If you are running adverts on Twitter Ads, LinkedIn, Facebook or Google then you should at least be using Google Analytics to measure what’s working and how to improve it. However as digital marketers we need to go beyond just ticking the “GA tag added to site” box and focus on getting insights and understanding to help in making decisions about on marketing investment. Here are a few pitfalls to avoid when measuring marketing campaigns using Google Analytics.
1. Reporting without analysis
I have noticed a trend with Campaign Managers and Account Mangers which is very disturbing. Reports are extracted from Google Analytics as a PDF or Excel verbatim and given to clients as monthly performance reports. This means nothing most of the time and advertisers are forced to accept this as value. Remember GA is a measurement and reporting tool – not an analysis tool. You as the digital marketer need to make use of the data to do this analysis for your client and spot opportunities to improve. You should give details on what’s really driving sales for the customer and how to optimize it.
2. Starting from scratch
I have noticed a disturbing trend where digital marketers remove an existing GA tracking tag and add a new one after making site improvements (for example WordPress template change or site relaunch). Most of the time, the tracking tag that will be replaced will be 2 or more years old and this is a complete waste. This means you won’t know if you really improved MoM, YoY as there is nothing to compare with. Do not delete your current tags – even after changing web design service providers. Use what you have and build from there.
3. Not Excluding Internal traffic
Let’s be honest on this one – You probably visit your site more often than the intended audience. That’s fair enough right? That’s really not a problem as you obviously want to make sure your site is perfect and doing what you paid for. The problem is that each time your visit the site your sessions are recorded in Google Analytics and this will definitely skew your reporting. So what you need to do is exclude all internal traffic i.e. users from within your organisation. This is an easy process really which takes less than 2 minutes. Get your IP address by typing ipconfig or googling “what’s my IP”. Take that number and add it in Google Analytics. This gives you undiluted data going forward.
4. No goals
Benjamin E. Mays said – “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.” This tragedy is also true for most websites which do not have any goals set in Google Analytics. If you don’t have any goals set one then will you know if you are succeeding or not? There are various types of goals, such as conversion goals, engagement goals etc. If you are spending money on Google to get traffic to your site you are doing so with a specific outcome in mind (to make profit by selling you wares) and without goals you won’t know if you are succeeding or not. Adding goals is very easy and here is how you do it.
5. No goal value
87% of GA profiles that I have reviewed do not actually have a goal value. This again is wasting valuable opportunities to get meaningful business data. Assigning a Rand value to your goal is simple and easy. It’s a great idea to put different values to your goals for example.
6. Not linking Google Analytics to AdWords
Most Campaign Managers are guilty of this and in my opinion there is no excuse for not linking these two great tools and it takes a couple of minutes to do. Linking the two will give you much deeper and richer insights of how paid traffic interacts with your site. Do it now
7. Inconsistent use of campaign tags