How to measure on-site campaigns and banners in Google Analytics
May 21, 2013 at 2:45 PM
by Mikul PatelDigital Marketing Consultant at Matraxis
Google Analytics is a great tool for small/medium sized organisations to measure the effectiveness of their website. However, being a free tool, Google Analytics doesn't come with some of the out-of-the-box analytics features that you would expect from paid-for tools such as Webtrends Analytics.
One example is the inability to measure on-site campaigns (banners/image adverts), which link to other pages on your website. In this blog article we'll look at a simple 'hack' that you can implement to mimic the measurement of on-site campaigns through the GA interface.
Why measure on-site campaigns and banners?
A form of internal marketing, using on-site adverts is a great way to promote and draw attention to areas of your website and increase conversions; an online retailer may display a large banner on their homepage that links through to the sale section. Marketeers should be able to evaluate how successful on-site adverts are and what areas can be improved on. This is where web analytics comes into play
Measuring internal ad performance in Google Analytics
As Google Analytics doesn't provide functionality to internal campaigns, one workaround is to append a unique query parameter to the links on your adverts and, through a separate GA profile, configure the 'Site Search Settings' to use the same unique query parameter…here we are actually using the Site Search tracking feature for the purpose of measuring internal ad's.
By creating a new profile, this won't interfere with your main profile where you would view your actual on-site search reports. It would be wise to name the newly created profile accordingly to avoid confusion between your GA users - e.g. "My Website – Onsite Adverts Profile"
e.g. In the example below, there is an on-site advert for a 'free healthcheck' that contains a link. We want to track the performance of that area and how it contributes to conversions of people signing up to the free healthcheck.
The button link for this 'Free Healthcheck' on-site ad could be:
<a href="http://www.matraxis.co.ukm/services/website-healthcheck">Tell me more</a>
This should be amended to:
<a href="http://www.matraxis.co.ukm/services/website-healthcheck?ac=sidebar_healthcheck-free-offer">Tell me more</a>
TIP: If you want to go one step further, you can categorise your on-site adverts by amending another query parameter (GA allows for a main and sub-category to be measured via the Site Search Settings.
Why not use Google Analytics standard campaign tracking for measuring performance?
This method should be avoided because using the standard campaign tracking tags (utm_campaign, utm_medium, utm_source etc) to measure internal campaigns can skew your Visit and Page Attribution data.
GA's standard campaign tracking should only be used for external campaigns driving traffic to your website (email, social media, offline campaigns).
If all this still sounds confusing, or does not provide the advanced level of detail that you want to measure from internal campaigns, you may want to consider paid-for web analytics tools such as Webtrends Analytics.
As an independent expert in web analytics and getting the best value from your digital assets, contact us today to discuss how Matraxis can help you!
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