Do you know what marketing strategies are working the best for your website? No matter what kind of conversions you are looking to make for your business, Google Analytics can help you track them in a way that will show you what traffic sources drive those conversions. In this post, I’m going to show you the step-by-step process of tracking conversions in order to determine where to focus the majority of your marketing efforts. Don’t worry if things look too technical – just read it a few times and you will find it is not that challenging!
Setting Up Goal Tracking in Google Analytics
I’m going to assume that you already have Google Analytics set up on your website. If not, sign up for your free account and follow the directions on how to set it up. That will give you a code to place on your website so that Google Analytics is tracking things. If you are using StealthSeminar you are also going to want to set up Google Analytics on OnlineMeetingNow.com. Follow the Google Instructions and then give the code you want to appear on your Webinar Registration and Webinar Thank You Page to StealthSeminar Support. You can do it yourself if you know where to place it on your event edit page but if not, Support is happy to place it for you. From here, you will want to set up goal tracking. This will tell Google Analytics when a visitor has completed a conversion on your website. Conversion goals can include, but are not limited to, the following.
- When a visitor registers for your webinar.
- When a visitor opts-in to your email list.
- When a visitor makes a purchase.
- When a visitor submits a lead or contact form.
All you need to track any of the above conversion goals or others is a thank you page, confirmation page, or other type of completion page. This is a page that people will go to once they have completed the conversion goal. For example, let’s say that you want to track webinar registrations. For webinars scheduled in the future, you will have a confirmation page that lets visitors know they are registered for your webinar. If you are using StealthSeminar you can use your own Thank You Page or you can use our Built-in Thank You Pages. To set up goal tracking, you will go to your website’s profile in Google Analytics and click on the Admin menu.
Next, you will click on Goals.
You will then click on the red New Goal and enter your goal name and select Destination as the type.
Now, you will enter the page that visitors go to when they finish registering. If the registration leads the visitor to a URL that looks like this. http://www.URL.email@example.com Then your goal setup will look like this.
If you have more than one webinar you are tracking goals on, place more of the URL such as this: http://www.URL.com/seminar/?id=hkm59ldnfu If you have a conversion goal with a specific dollar value (such as a webinar registration fee of $20), you can enter it as an optional value. Or you can just click save to finish setting up your goal, which will look like this.
Once you have this set up, all you have to do is sit back and wait for the conversions to start tracking, which will usually happen within 24 hours. At this point, you can go to your Google Analytics reports to see what marketing tactics are working for you. Specifically, you will want to go to your Acquisition > All Traffic > Source / Medium report.
There, you will see a column enabled to show you webinar registration conversions from specific traffic sources.
Once you start getting people to register for your webinar, you will be able to quickly see which traffic sources are driving them to your website, and thus know which promotion tactics are working for you. This report contains everything that sends people to your website including Google search traffic (google / organic), social media networks (t.co / referral, twitter.com / social, and facebook.com / referral), email newsletters (like saas-weekly / email), and much more. For those that have links to their websites from others through guest blogging, link building, and other types of strategies, you will see those domains listed as domain.com / referral. In most cases, you can click on those traffic sources to see what specific pages within those domains send visitors to your website and ultimately lead to conversions. This is especially helpful if you want to determine what types of guest posts, directory pages, resource lists, or other types of content help you accomplish your goals. You will also see a large amount of traffic from (direct) / (none). These are all of the visits that Google Analytics counts to your website, but cannot attribute a source to. This includes when someone types your domain name in their address bar, clicks on it from a browser bookmark, or comes from a source that doesn’t allow Google Analytics tracking. If you are satisfied with the data you see here, you can stop. If you want to know more about how specific marketing strategies drive conversions, keep reading.
Using UTM Parameters in Google Analytics
Even after you have set up your goals in Google Analytics, there is a downside to the above-mentioned report. There are certain traffic sources that allow you to promote your webinar in a variety of ways, but Google Analytics does not identify those different promotion methods. For example, take the facebook.com / referral source in the above-mentioned report. That tells me that traffic is coming from Facebook. But it doesn’t tell me if those visitors clicked on a link I shared with my fans on my page, a link I posted in a group, or a link I paid to promote using Facebook ads. This is where UTM parameters come in. These are tags you can add to your links that will tell Google Analytics more details about them. There are three tags that are required for custom campaigns with UTM parameters to work. They are as follows.
- utm_campaign – This is the name of your custom campaign that you are tracking with your UTM parameters.
- utm_source – This is the source of traffic you are specifying with your UTM parameters.
- utm_medium – This is the type of traffic source you are specifying with your UTM parameters.
Thinking about the facebook.com / referral source in the Source / Medium report from earlier, you effectively have a utm_source=facebook.com and a utm_medium=referral without the association of a custom campaign. Google Analytics offers a free URL builder that you can use to quickly create these kinds of links. Or you can just follow the formatting in the following examples. Let’s say that you have this as a registration URL for your webinar. http://www.yourdomain.com/register/ When you share that link in a Facebook ad, you will add UTM parameters that tells Google Analytics that it is an ad like this. http://www.yourdomain.com/register/?utm_campaign=promotion&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_content=ad On the other hand, if you have this as a registration URL for your webinar. http://www.yourdomain.com/register/?id=tkhf96mesw When you share that link in a Facebook ad, you will add UTM parameters that tells Google Analytics that it is an ad like this. http://www.yourdomain.com/register/?id=tkhf96mesw&utm_campaign=promotion&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_content=ad Here’s what both examples tell Google Analytics. They tell Google Analytics that you are getting traffic from a custom campaign called promotion (utm_campaign=promotion) from facebook.com (utm_source=facebook.com), which is a social media website (utm_medium=social), and that the link is an ad (utm_content=ad). From here, when you share your webinar registration link on your page, you would use the following. http://www.yourdomain.com/register/?utm_campaign=promotion&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_content=page+link or http://www.yourdomain.com/register/?id=tkhf96mesw&utm_campaign=promotion&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_content=page+link And when you share your webinar registration link in a group, you would use the following. http://www.yourdomain.com/register/?utm_campaign=promotion&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_content=group or http://www.yourdomain.com/register/?id=tkhf96mesw&utm_campaign=promotion&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_content=group Ready to see the results? After you get some clicks to these links, you can go to your website’s Google Analytics and run the Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns report.
You will click on your promotion campaign set with the UTM parameters you used on your link (utm_campaign=promotion).
You will click on facebook.com / social as set in your UTM parameters (utm_source=facebook.com and utm_medium=social).
You will click on the Secondary Dimension dropdown and start typing in ad to reveal Ad Content.
When you click on Ad Content, your report will add an additional column to your report showing the content you set with the UTM parameters (utm_content=ad or utm_content=group or utm_content=page+link). This will tell you if the clicks were from the link you share as an ad, in the group, or your page.
Once you start getting conversions, you will start seeing exactly which type of Facebook link is driving visitors who sign up for your webinar to your website. This will tell you whether posting to your page, posting Facebook ads, or posting in groups is the best strategy for your webinar marketing. In addition to tracking various sources of social media traffic, you can utilize UTM parameters to track other clicks that are hard to spot in standard Google Analytics reports. These include clicks from your email newsletters, clicks from banner advertising, and clicks from paid promotions done by others for your webinars, products, or services. UTM parameters will allow you to effectively group that kind of traffic into custom campaigns so you can see their effectiveness in traffic generation and conversions. Things to Keep in Mind About UTM Parameters UTM parameter tracking is not by any means perfect. There are some things you need to keep in mind. First of all, you can use any UTM parameters you want depending on how you want the information to look in Google Analytics. What you need to think about is how you will ultimately want to review your data. So let’s say that you are going to promote a lot of different webinars. You can create one campaign to cover all of them, such as the utm_campaign=promotion campaign we created in the examples above. Or, you can create different campaigns for each such as utm_campaign=facebook+webinar+promotion and utm_campaign=linkedin+webinar+promotion. These are all good option. Be aware that when you are creating your UTM parameters that they are highly sensitive. Google Analytics will treat utm_campaign=promotion and utm_campaign=Promotion as two different campaigns. The same goes for your traffic sources. Let’s say that one day, you share a link with utm_source=facebook.com and the next day, you share a link with utm_source=Facebook.com. Again, Google Analytics will treat them as two different traffic sources. It’s not the end of the world per say, but it will make analyzing your numbers a little more difficult. This is why you should keep a spreadsheet or document that tracks the types of UTM parameters you plan to use so that you always use the same ones throughout all of your campaigns. Another thing to note about UTM parameters is that they will not always work in every situation. Here are some common reasons why UTM parameters don’t always work.
- There are some places where you will not want to share a long, ugly link to your webinar. You can use URL shorteners like Bit.ly to mask your URL with UTM parameters, but this won’t always be an option in cases where the branding is more important than the tracking.
- There are lots of platforms and tools that will strip out your UTM parameters to clean up the link or add the platform / tool specific UTM parameters.
- There are people using browsers who have changed their privacy settings to not all Google Analytics or other website analytics software tracking.
- There are visitors to your website who access it through mobile apps. While some mobile browsers will continue allowing you to track visitors in Google Analytics, others will block it. So if you create an Instagram ad and most people click on your website link from the Instagram app, it will not be tracked in Google Analytics.
This is why it’s important to always look at your main Acquisition > All Traffic > Source / Medium report. It will show you all of your custom campaigns tracked with UTM parameters as well as clicks from visitors that were not tracked with UTM parameters. This will give you the most comprehensive view of what is working in your marketing strategy as a whole. In Conclusion As you can see, Google Analytics offers everyone free ways to track the results of their marketing in order to determine what efforts are leading to direct conversions on their websites. With this information in hand, you will have a better idea of whether you need to focus more on search engine optimization, social media, link building, content marketing, email marketing, paid advertising, and other tactics for promoting your webinars, products, services, and business. Got another service you like? Add it below.