Last week I wrote about how SEO, advertising, email and social media all work together to improve your digital marketing performance.  Today, I want to talk about how to track and measure each of these marketing channels.

The fact is, if you can’t track each marketing channel to calculate ROI, then you’ll have no idea if it’s “working” or if it’s just wasting your marketing budget each month.

In my experience, most businesses clearly understand the need for tracking, but they either don’t know how to set it up correctly, or don’t know how to decipher the pretty charts and graphs.  Let’s fix both of those problems today.


The Only Report You Need

I’ll admit, Google Analytics is a bit overwhelming.  There’s a seemingly endless number of reports you could run using advanced filters, traffic segments, and adding dimensions.  Sorry, it’s not just a bit overwhelming, it’s completely confusing unless you really take the time and study the tool.

But here’s the thing.  You only need ONE report to see how ALL of your marketing is performing.

Sure, this isn’t going to give you everything you need to manage your marketing campaigns, but it will give you a snapshot of your entire marketing.  Think of it like a one-page executive summary.  You’ll have a solid understanding if all you did was read the summary, and then you can dive deeper into the rest of the report as needed.

So what is this report?  It’s called the Channels report and you’ll find it under the Acquisition section on the left navigation of Google Analytics (see below).



As you can see from the image above, the Channels report breaks down your marketing channels, or campaigns, so you can see how each one is performing over a certain date range.  For example, we see that Organic Search (aka SEO) generated 1,034 visits and 363 goal conversions, Email Marketing drove 197 visits and 76 goal conversions, etc.

If a goal conversion is set up to be a lead and you know a lead on average is worth $100, then you would be able to calculate ROI on each marketing channel.  Of course, there is a catch!  This does not work perfectly right out of the box… it requires 2 prerequisites.


2 Requirements to Ensure Channel Report Accuracy

The first requirement should be obvious.  You need to set up Goals in Google Analytics so that you’re tracking leads and/or sales on your website.  If you don’t have Goals set up, then all you can see is traffic and visitor behavior per each channel.  Not terrible, but also not enough information to really evaluate what’s working.

So that’s step one – Set up Goals.

The second requirement is to use Analytics URL tracking parameters for ALL of your hyperlinks (or links).  In other words, if you send an email with a link to your website, then you need to add URL tracking parameters to that link so Google Analytics knows to categorize the traffic as “Email” traffic.

To create your tracking parameters, click here to use Google’s URL Builder tool.  Simply copy/paste your link into that tool and then define the source of traffic (ex. email newsletter, YouTube, radio ad, etc.), the medium (ex. email, banner ad, etc) and the campaign name (ex. Halloween promotion, free consultation, etc.).  Then click Submit and you’ll get a new URL that you can use as your hyperlink.

Now, anytime someone clicks on that link and visits your website, Google Analytics will read the URL tracking parameters and use that information to categorize the traffic in your Channels report.  All of your “Email” traffic will be reporting together as long as you use “email” as the medium for all your email marketing hyperlinks.

That’s really all there is to it.  As long as you set up Goals and use the URL tracking parameters, then you’ll be able to evaluate all of your marketing campaigns in just one easy to use report – the Channels report.


Need Help With Digital Marketing?

If you’re struggling to make all of the pieces of your digital marketing work together, we can help.

We can handle it all for you, including:

  • Search engine optimization
  • Online advertising (AdWords, Facebook, retargeting, etc)
  • Copywriting, A/B testing & funnel optimization
  • Tracking & analytics
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing

Click here to contact us today.