In Monday’s article about how to track your digital marketing ROI, I walked through the 4 tools you need:
- Website Analytics
- Phone Tracking
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tracking
- KPI Tracking
But just knowing what you need is only half the battle; You also need to know how to get everything set up!
That’s why today I’m going to focus on how to set up Google Analytics. This is the first, and most important, tool you need in place to start tracking your digital marketing return on investment (ROI).
Think of Google Analytics like your marketing report card. Each month you can review the reports to see which of your campaigns are passing and which are failing based on the traffic sources and conversions. No more guessing and assuming what’s working. Instead, let the unbiased, unemotional data from Google Analytics guide your marketing decisions and budget allocations.
Of course, before you can run any reports, you need to first get everything set up. So let’s go through the 5 steps to set up your Google Analytics account.
Step 1. Create Your Account
This one is easy. Go to www.google.com/analytics and create an account if you haven’t already. Google makes it fairly easy to get your account set up and the final step is to copy the Analytics code on every single page of your website.
Warning: If you have never edited your website, then I highly recommend you ask your developer to add the code to your website. This is a very simple task, but if you inadvertently edit existing code on your website, then you could break your website.
With that said, if you’re comfortable making minor edits to your website, then you should be able to set this up yourself with no problems. For CMS websites like WordPress, all you’ll need to do is edit one theme file and then the code will automatically be added to all of the pages.
Before you mark this project complete, there are 4 more steps we need to get through. Don’t stop now because step #2 is the most important one.
Step 2. Set Up Your Goals (Conversions)
As I’m sure you know, website traffic does not equal sales. So it’s not enough to simply measure your website traffic. You also need a way to measure the leads and sales your website is generating.
That’s where Goals come into play. In Analytics, a Goal (or Conversion) is a valuable action on your website that you want to measure. For example, an e-commerce business would obviously want to set up a Goal for online purchases. A services business would want Goals for webform actions such as quote requests, demo requests, appointments scheduled, etc. Those are all actions that indicate the website visitor is interested in your services.
To set up your Goals, click on the Admin link in the top navigation and then click on “Goals” in the right column. On that page you’ll be able to add a new Goal by following the Google Setup Wizard.
Step 3. Link Google Webmaster Tools
The next step is to link your Google Webmaster Tools account to Google Analytics in order to track your SEO efforts. By default, Analytics does not show your Google rankings or which keywords are driving SEO traffic to your website.
The only way to get this data into Analytics is by linking Webmaster Tools. Go to www.google.com/webmastertools to get your account set up if you’re not already. Then go back to the Google Analytics Admin area.
Click on Property Settings in the middle column and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page where it says, “Webmaster Tools Settings”. In that section, you can follow the directions to link your two accounts.
Once you’re done, then you’ll be able to access the Search Engine Optimization reports (Queries, Landing pages, Geographical summary) within the Acquisition section of Analytics.
Step 4. Link Google AdWords
If you’re not advertising in Google AdWords, then skip to step 5. If you are advertising in AdWords, then I highly recommend linking the two accounts to give you even more insight into the performance of your ad campaigns.
To link up AdWords, go to the admin area of Analytics and click on the “AdWords Linking” link in the middle column. From that page you can follow the directions to link your accounts.
Step 5. Set Up E-Commerce Analytics
The fifth and final step is critical for e-commerce businesses. As explained in step 2, Goals allow you to track valuable actions on your site, but they have an important limitation. Goal values have to be predefined. In other words, you have to specify the Goal value and then every single Goal will have the same value.
That means, if you have a lot of different products and orders with different product combinations, then Goals are not going to be a good fit for tracking your online sales revenue. Instead, you need to set up E-Commerce Analytics.
Unfortunately, this is not going to be easy to set up unless you have web development experience. First, go to the Analytics Admin area and click on E-Commerce Settings in the right column. Then click here to review the instructions to edit your website or send that link to your developer.
If you’re lucky, then your e-commerce platform has E-Commerce Analytics built in and then all you have to do is find the button to turn it on.
Want a Step-by-Step Tutorial?
If you’d like to learn more about Google Analytics, I recommend you go through my step-by-step online video course:
Introduction to Google Analytics