Hi guys, I started a new company this week full time (sold my web design business). My new company is a small business reporting app called Web Control Room
It's going to be a huge challenge to build a business out of a free (soon to be freemium) application so I wanted to be sure I had the tracking set up well before I did too much else so that has been my focus this week.
Here is a summary - if you are are across the goals / campaigns etc skip to the Advanced Segments which are going to be really powerful for me. Set up goals
The first thing was setting up a goal for my site. I'd be wasting my time if all I was looking at was traffic (more on this later). I need to know what traffic is converting.
In my case because it's a free product (it's not even possible to pay me for it yet) my goal was clear, get people to sign up for the app.
So that goal has been set up in Analytics so when people sign up it registers as a conversion. Campaigns
The next thing is I've set up campaigns so I can compare which marketing efforts are (1) bringing me traffic and (2) bringing me traffic that converts into users.
This is pretty easy but can only really be done for marketing efforts where you have control over the URL (i.e. footer links in forums, links on other websites, adwords etc).
The steps are easy:
- Go to the Google Analytics URL Builder and enter the info to get your trackable link.
- Use this link in your marketing
In cases where people will be able to see the link that is being used (i.e. the link on your Twitter profile you can't change the anchor) you can set up a 301 re-direct using this simple plugin in WordPress
so you can make a page on your site say called yoursite.com/twitter then set up a re-direct from there to the trackable link in analytics.
So you can now look at the campaigns sources in Analytics to look at what campaigns are sending you traffic and they will also appear in the sources in your conversions area so you can tell which campaigns are converting the best.
I can't overstate the importance of this. Some campaigns might be very effective in bringing you traffic but it might be the wrong traffic. Here are 2 examples from the last month on my site:
- My Twitter auto follow strategy and partner strategy brought in 117 visits
- My Adwords experiment (I wont be using Adwords) brought in 268 visits - more than double.
However the Twitter / Partner strategy brought me 7 conversions - a conversion rate of almost 6% (and it was free). Adwords brought in 0 conversions and cost me $380.
This example illustrates if you aren't using goals and trackable campaigns then you are crazy! Advanced Segments
It doesn't end there though, there are a few issues with the Analytics standard reports. I mentioned one of them above - campaigns can only be used for strategies where you have control over the URLs. So you can't just use campaigns, you have to also look at sources and there are always too many of these to group them meaningfully.
Another potentially major issue is you probably have a decent chunk of your traffic going to Google and just putting in your brand name to find your site (cause they forgot the address). Analytics will attribute this as 'Google traffic' but really it's lazy direct traffic.
These issues are solved with Advanced Custom Segments which enable you to 'group' different types of traffic into more meaningful groups.
I have written a very detailed post on this, it's too long for this post you can see it here
. If you have any questions about custom segments please let me know I will answer them in this thread.
If you are spending a lot of time on traffic it's definitely worth setting them up. It took me about 2 hours to set mine up initially and I'll also have to do a little bit of maintenance on them as I add new initiatives etc.
Hope that helps someone.