The other day I was taking a look at my Google Analytics. Google added a lot of features in the last years and I’ve hardly taken the time to really get a good look at those. So I familiarized myself with some of the nice features.

One thing I noticed was that Google Analytics has gone from generalized nice-to-know statistics (such as unique visitors or browser information) to advanced ad-sense, campaign and target tracking. It has also become so bloated that one has to read a lot of ‘Help’ to actually get what they are trying to offer you. But doing that can really pay off!

Targets

In the past I’ve worked with tracking e-mail campaigns for my old company Qamel. We built different approaches to tracking visitors from a promotional mailing to actually buying a product in an attempt to tell our customer that the mailings were actually very profitable. Needless to say this has given me enough work in the past.

But now Google comes to the rescue! If you look at Analytics there’s a separate item called “Goals”. I’d advice you to read what it says and Learn More before you actually ‘Set up goals and funnels’, but you can already have a look. It’s a bit complicated, but with a few settings you can actually track a customer all the way to the ‘payment confirmed’ pages. And of course know how many % of the customers actually get there and why they didn’t.

Campaigns

Another interesting feature is the tracking of campaigns. Even more often than needing to track visitors to the payment, we needed to simply track visitors from the e-mail and check out what they did or if they actually clicked through from the e-mail. The solution is so simple that I banged my head that I didn’t know about it before. (I have no clue how long it’s been around).

You can use Google’s URL Builder to create a link to your website or a specific location on your website with some Google Analytics parameters on it (like utm_source, utm_medium and utm_campaign). These simple get parameters are read by the javascript that is already present, stores it in a session and makes sure you know exactly where this user went. If you don’t trust users to have javascript you can always use the same GET parameters in your own application to store it in your own application as well and compare those statistics with Google Analytics. But sometimes trusting in Google can save you a lot of work ;)

(For a more extensive guide on Google’s URL Builder, see https://prateekagarwal.com/google-url-builder/)

Google Analytics Email Communications

Last but not least Google offers inside it’s ‘Settings’ panel to keep you posted in marketing research. I for one am very happy to receive the latest marketing tips & tricks from Google itself, knowing that they have a lot more research potential than I do alone.