Traffic Sources: Campaigns – to optimize campaigns (PPC, email, banner…) | Cardinal Path Blog
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Traffic Sources: Campaigns – to optimize campaigns (PPC, email, banner…)

So far a lot of the talk has been about how powerful Google Analytics is as a result of its tight integration with your Google AdWords campaigns. If you are like most online businesses AdWords is an important advertising channel, but definitely not your only one. You will likely also be managing email campaigns, other paid search vendors (MSN AdCenter, Yahoo Search Marketing, or links within documents such as PDFs, Word, Excel…), display ad campaigns… To help manage all of these campaigns there is a great deal of data that can be found in the “Traffic Sources” section of Google Analytics in “Campaigns”.

Properly tracking your online campaigns depends on tagging of your landing page URLs. The process of doing this is simple; you just need to add the Google Analytics campaign parameters to the end of your landing page URL. The process is simple, but it can be a lot of work as you need to tag all of the links that you direct to your site (except AdWords and organic traffic). If you don't tag it you won't be able to attribute the visit to a campaign (that visit will appear to be an organic campaign if you have untagged MSN or Yahoo paid traffic, direct if you have untagged emails or documents or none). As a general rule of thumb, if you are paying for the traffic to arrive at your site you want to have the referring link tagged.

More information on Campaign URLs

Campaign URL building tool

Now that all of your campaign links are being tracked it is time to take a look at the data, and discover which campaigns are performing well, and which ones are wasting your money.

The Campaigns report looks like most others in that it has a graph at the top that defaults to display visits (this metric can be changed), and then has a table below. The table below can have three tabs, Site Usage, Goal Conversion, and Ecommerce. Below the summary table data at the top you will as notice a drop down menu that allows you to select different dimensions that you can organize the data by. The default dimension is Campaign. Other dimensions that I like to use are source (this is the referring source), Medium (this is the type of referrer; paid search, email, banner), and Content (this is the content variation).

To examine the performance from a high level you can select the dimension Medium and see how your paid search campaigns are performing/contributing compared to your email campaigns and banner ad campaigns. To do this you would use the Ecommerce or Goal Conversion tabs. By using the Site Usage tab you would be able to see how much traffic these different Mediums drive and how much content they consume on your site.

To dive down to a deeper level you will want to switch the dimension to Campaign. You can quickly see which campaigns are performing well and which aren't by looking at their respective Bounce Rates. If a campaign has a high bounce rate it will be more difficult for it to have a positive ROI. To be sure you will want to switch over to the Ecommerce or Goal Conversion tabs and see how your campaigns with high bounce rates are performing/contributing. To do a proper analysis you will want to bring cost data into this analysis. That is how much money you spent on each campaign so that you can calculate an ROI figure that will be comparable to the ROI figure reported in the AdWords Campaign report (to calculate a proper ROI you will need to include your related operating expenses as well).

The Traffic Sources/Campaigns report is a great report to help you get a handle on the prioritization of your efforts and you spend. You can quickly identify the campaigns that are performing well—and invest a larger budget in them—and those that are performing poorly. The poor performs should have their spend reduced while you try and further optimize them.

One of the most important thing to remember is to tag all of your campaigns. It may be a lot of work, but it is worth it.

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