How Marketers Use Data to Win

Posted on June 27, 2019

Using data to track your marketing efforts is vital to the success of your business. One free tool to track your efforts, as well as ROI, is Google Analytics. In order to use get the most out of Google Analytics, you need to integrate it with Google Adwords. Without this integration, the accuracy of your data will substantially decrease. Now, once you successfully integrate these two, the next step is to set your marketing goals based off of the data from Google Analytics. In this video and text below, we will explain the specifics of how to set up Google Analytics so that you can track your marketing efforts efficiently.


Hi there! My name is Justin Kerley and I am the Director of Search Marketing at Top Floor. According to a study by VisionEdge Marketing, 84% of marketers cannot measure and report on the contribution of their programs to the business. Also, according to Forbes, only 22% of marketers say they have data-driven marketing initiatives that are achieving significant results. As you can see from these statistics, many of you may not know how to measure the ROI of your marketing initiatives. However, I plan on changing that today.

A great, and free, tool to measure ROI is Google Analytics. This tool seamlessly integrates data with the Google Suite of products like AdWords and Search Console. However, it is a “garbage in, garbage out” tool, which means if you put inaccurate data in Google Analytics, you will receive inaccurate measurements when you review it

How to Successfully Install Google Analytics

When you install the code, you need to make sure it is installed on all pages of your website. Many Content Management Systems (CMS) have plugins to implement the code. Remember that the code should always be located at the head of the page to ensure it’s loaded first. Misplaced codes can cost you a third of your traffic data based on your browser; therefore, coding your website accurately is very important to the growth of your business.

Common Google Analytics Installation Mistakes 

One common mistake with installing Google Analytics is that sometimes, the same code can land on the same page. This mistake will cause two page views to fire back-to-back and a low bounce rate. Your bounce rate should be between 40%- 60%; if it is less than 40%, that should indicate that the code is not installed properly. 

Another common mistake is that the code is not installed on all pages. This will cause the exit rates to be abnormally high, and you won’t receive any reports on those uncoded pages. The issue with this is that you will only be notified once Google finds the issues. To the best method to resolve this issue is to utilize crawling software, like Screaming Frog, to crawl all available links of your site. You can command the software to find a specific code on all of your pages, and it will show you that some pages are being crawled, but aren’t showing your code. Typically, crawling software costs money, but you will able to find mistakes easier.

Additional Settings

A very important tool in Google Analytics is the IP filters. Your target audience isn’t you and your co-workers, so why report on their interactions with your site? You do not want to make decisions for your website based on the influence of internal stakeholders. Another great tool from Google Analytics is Site Search. This tool allows you to see keywords that people search to get to your site. Those keywords can also inform you of what those people are looking for when they get to your site. A great way to track these keywords is by setting up a query parameter on Analytics. To set up a query parameter, all you have to do is:

  1. Edit the “View Settings” for your main reporting view
  2. Enable “Site Search Tracking
  3. Input your query parameter

Lastly, another great tool from Google Analytics is E-commerce; this tool is essential for tracking your E-commerce data. In analytics, all you have to do is turn the toggle on to enable this tool. However, this is quite an advanced tool because you have to input extensive tracking codes throughout your website.

How to Set Goals

Now that you’ve successfully set up your site, now is the time to set up goals. The first step is to determine which actions on your website contribute to your sales funnel (i.e. Contact Forms, Demo Requests, RFQs). You can configure a unique goal within Analytics for each of those actions.

Google AdWords

It is important to sync Google Analytics with Google Adwords so that all of your data is in one location. Without this integration, your AdWords traffic will get incorrectly categorized. To link these two:

  1. Log into Analytics. Make sure that the login you use for Analytics and AdWord is set up as an administrator for both
  2. Go to “AdWords Linking” under Property
  3. Select the AdWords Account you want to link
  4. Choose which View you want to link

One common mistake with integrating AdWords and Analytics include not having the auto-tags set for AdWords campaigns. To fix this:

  1. Go to the Settings icon
  2. Click on “Account settings”
  3. Make sure there is a checkmark for Auto-tagging

Google Search Console is an additional tool that you should sync with Google Analytics. This tool provides additional insight into organic searches that are featuring your site. Linking the two tools will pull relevant data into Analytics to give you a single source reporting tool. The only drawback to this tool is that most of your data from Search Console will not be an exact match to your Analytics data. However, the Search Console is still an important tool to give you an overview of your website traffic.

Tracking Email Campaigns

Email platforms, like MailChimp, are great at reporting their own statistics; they can tell you the open rate and click-through rate. However, without the context of what happens after they get to your site, how do you know if your emails are truly working? That is why you should integrate these platforms with Google Analytics. By syncing these two, you will be able to distinguish the traffic coming from the emails from the traffic from other sites.

Tracking Social Media Efforts

Google Analytics has made great strides in segmenting social media traffic by default. However, it doesn’t differentiate between organic and paid social. In order to successfully track your social media efforts, you need to add additional tracking parameters to the ad URLs using Google’s Campaign URL builder.

Useful Reports

Once you have put in the necessary parameters to ensure that your data will be accurate, now’s the time to analyze that data using reports that I think are the most vital. One important report is called Channels. It allows you to compare your marketing channels, like social media and organic search. It also allows you to compare metrics, like bounce rate and conversion rate, across channels, so that you can see which channels are performing above or below the site average.

Another report that I like to review is the Landing Pages report. This report allows you to see the pages people look at initially interact with. For instance, in the report, you may see that most people can interact with your Home page first. What’s great about this report is that it allows you to compare different rates (i.e. bounce rate) yearly, monthly, or daily.

Mobile reports have also become a very important report, as more and more users utilize their phones and tablets to go on websites. This report allows you to view the traffic coming from mobile, desktop, and tablet users. Lastly, another important report is called Search Terms. This displays a list of search terms people use to get onto your website. It also shows you how long people are staying on your website.

How to Level-Up Your Tracking

Many leads generated by marketing, especially in the B2B world, are from phone calls. According to a study from Invoca, a company that provides tracking and analytics solutions, only 29% of marketers are getting credit for the inbound calls they drive. Unfortunately, Google Analytics can’t track these calls, but there are several tools that can. Some great tools I recommend are CallRail and dialogtech. The only downfall to these tracking tools is that it requires you to change your business number.

Google Analytics is great for tracking aggregate data, however, it doesn’t tell you which channel a specific lead used. Fortunately, there are a lot of automation platforms that capture lead source like Salesforce HubSpot, and Marketo. This lead source function can also be added as additional functionality to many Content Management Systems.

As far as tracking specific campaigns, Google Analytics is a great tool for that, but this tracking feature has to be set up properly. If you’re running a specific campaign across multiple channels, you can link the data through campaign parameters. In order to successfully track a marketing campaign across multiple channels, you need to create a specific URL for that channel. Once you’ve done this, tracking the traffic from each channel will be a breeze.

Now that you have a general overview of the tips and tricks required to tracking your data successfully, you can now make the appropriate decisions to elevate your results. If you’re still stuck, we would be happy to offer a free digital marketing audit.