If you don’t have the time or inclination to dig into your marketing data and reports, then you’re going to love this…
I’m going to show you how to use just one report (I call it your “digital marketing dashboard”) to get a bird’s eye view of the performance across all your marketing channels. That’s right, just one report to see how all your campaigns are performing.
And here’s the best part…
I’m talking about a report within Google Analytics. Since Google Analytics is free and quick and easy to install, every business from a “Mom & Pop,” all the way up to, well, a “Google-sized” business can use this to improve their marketing decisions.
Now, just because Google Analytics is free and easy to use doesn’t mean it’s not very powerful. In fact, I’m only going to scratch the surface in this article. By the end, you’ll have a good feel for the tool’s capabilities so you can dig deeper into the areas you need for your business.
The report I’m referring to is called the Channels report within the “Acquisition” section of Analytics. The Channels report shows you exactly how every marketing channel (like SEO, Google Ads, email marketing, social media, and even offline channels like print, TV, radio, and direct mail) is performing within any date range you want to analyze.
Now before you log into your own Google Analytics account and accuse me of lying, I need to explain something…
Most of the tracking works automatically, but a some of it does not. That’s why there is one critical step to make sure the Channels report tracks all of your unique campaigns.
Here’s what you need to do…
Google Analytics does a pretty good job at figuring out where a website visitor came from. For example, if the visitor clicked a link in Facebook, then Analytics will consider that social media traffic in your Channels report. If a visitor clicked a Google ad in Google.com, then Analytics will consider that Paid Search traffic in your Channels report.
But what about a website visitor from one of your email marketing campaigns? Or how about a visitor from a print ad? In both of those situations Analytics can’t easily categorize the traffic.
That is unless you use the URL Builder.
The URL Builder is a tool that will add tracking code to any URL you enter into the tool. Most importantly, you can add the medium, or marketing channel, to your URL to specifically tell Analytics how to categorize the traffic.
That means you can use the URL Builder to create a tracking URL for your email campaign and every time a subscriber clicks the link to visit your website, Google Analytics will correctly consider that traffic to be from your Email Marketing.
If you’re not using the URL Builder, then your Channels report is not as accurate as it should be. I recommend making it a habit to use the URL Builder every time you need to create a link for your marketing.
Now that your Channel report is accurate, it’s time to add conversion tracking…
A conversion could be a lead from a webform, a sale from your e-commerce store, or even a phone call if you’re using phone call tracking software.
To set up a Goal, go to the Admin section of Google Analytics, then click on Goals in the right column and follow the steps to add a Goal. (For complete, step-by-step directions to set up Analytics, including Goals, watch our Introduction to Google Analytics video training.)
To track a webform or an e-commerce sale, you will copy/paste the “thank you” page that visitors see after completing the webform or order form. Then any time someone makes it to the “thank you” page, Google Analytics will count that as a conversion in the Channel report.
Don’t skip this step!
It’s not enough to see all the traffic per marketing channel, we also need to see all of the conversions and revenue per channel. That’s the only way to truly know what’s working in your marketing. This can all be done using the URL Builder and setting up your Goals.
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