Analytics Conversion Tracking -- Keeping Score Online

Roy McClean
Jan 15, 2015
Analytics Conversion Tracking -- Keeping Score Online

Do you golf without keeping score? Do you drive your car without a gas gauge or a speedometer? Do you write cheques without knowing your bank account balance? Hah! If you answered yes to these questions there is no way in Hades I'll accept a cheque from you after you loose our golf game bet... and I won't let you drive me home from the golf course either!

You need to keep score for so many things in business including online activities such as Google AdWords, Facebook Advertising or email marketing. Don't spend money for these online activities without keeping score by tracking conversions!

Conversion Tracking for Online Advertising

I am always amazed when people contact me about using looking at their Google AdWords without setting up ways to track the results on their website. And most small businesses owners that I have dealt with don't place the proper measurement channels in place to track how their Facebook Advertising is impacting visits and conversions on their website.

The awesomely wonderful news is that setting up tracking conversions for various paid advertising campaigns is fairly easy! For example, both Facebook and Google AdWords provide easy conversion tracking setup by adding some JavaScript code to the "success" pages of your website. Typical success pages are the confirmation pages for an online sale in a shopping cart or a lead generated from an email form.

And check out Facebook Advertising Conversion Management for step-by-step instructions on how to add a "pixel" to your website. (I go the extra step and add "tracking parameters" to each Facebook ad that I setup. I go into more detail about this later in this post.)

In both cases you need to decide what conversions you'll be tracking. Both Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising offer options that include tracking leads, sales, subscriptions and sign ups.

Examples of Easy Conversion Tracking Setups

There are many other ways to setup online conversion tracking.

 Google AdWords Google Analytics Integration

AdWords + Google Analytics

Google allows a fairly easy integration of their AdWords paid advertising options with Google Analytics, their free and very powerful analytics package. In this case, you setup accounts for both services and agree to some permissions so that Google Analytics and Google AdWords share data with each other.

The result? Once setup you can see Google AdWords data in your website's Google Analytics account. And if you have setup conversion tracking you can see lots of good analytics data directly in your Google AdWords control panel -- cool stuff like average time on page / site, bounce rates and goal conversions imported from Google Analytics.

Google URL Builder

Google offers a "URL builder" to help you accurately and easily develop some special characters to add to hyperlinks from campaigns such as affiliate programs, banner ads, or even Facebook Advertising. I use the Google URL builder for my Facebook Advertising setup as well.

I setup Facebook's pixel conversion tracking to track conversions like sales or leads. I also add the optional URL tracking parameter also allows me to segment visits from Facebook Advertising in my website's Google Analytics account. I can then see what traffic from Facebook Advertising did: where these visitors went, how long they stayed in the site and what conversions resulted.

Other Apps With "Built In" Tracking Integration

Many online apps make conversion tracking and data acquisition simple.

We love working with Shopify, an eCommerce platform that offers online stores. This solution makes it really easy to integrate eCommerce tracking with your Shopify website using Google Analytics. Open a Google Analytics account, add the account number info in the Shopify control panel and start recording sales activity including quantity of sales, revenue by product, and so on. In this case Google Analytics data is also shared within your Shopify back-end office. Other eCommerce platforms offer similar integrations.

MailChimp, the most awesome email marketing app, allows automated code generation on links contained within emails for tracking in analytics apps such as Google Analytics. When this is setup you can view traffic from your email marketing campaigns in Google Analytics. You also have the option to import Google Analytics data into your MailChimp account. Other email marketing apps offer this integration although, unlike MailChimp, you may need to upgrade your account to a premium level to access this analytics integration feature.

Macro-Conversion vs. Micro-Conversion Goals

Micro vs. Macro Conversions

Measuring Steps Along the Sales Process

Macro means large or exceptionally prominent. Online events like purchases or leads are typically defined as macro-conversions. But many micro-conversions, or smaller events, may also be very important to tracking success on your website. In this case events like…

  • website registrations,
  • subscriptions for premium content or your email newsletter,
  • downloading a PDF file,
  • visiting a specific section on your website like your blog or product pages,
  • or even website visits lasting a certain length of time (e.g. 60+ seconds)

…are wonderful micro-conversions to track. These types of events are part of the sales process so track them too!

Google Analytics and virtually every other popular analytics packages available will allow you to establish goals to make conversion tracking easier. Once goals are setup your can run reports to segment your website visitor tracking for macro or micro conversions.

Conversion Tracking Makes Sense + Cents

The bottom line? Don't you spend your hard earned money using campaigns like Google AdWords, Facebook Advertising or other channels like email marketing unless you have first setup conversion tracking for online goals. It just make sense, and a lot of cents, to keep score so that you can improve advertising decision making and increase your online objectives!

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