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July 6, 2015

Google Analytics: The Numbers You Need to Know

When you hear the words “analytics report” certain online programs and stats more than likely come to mind. While these programs and services are extremely valuable marketing assets, most businesses do not understand how to gain a full view of their marketing efforts, both online and off, through these channels.

Many organizations still rely on television advertisements, brochures, direct mailings, magazine ads, billboards and so forth. Often times, and to the loss of the company, this data is measured separately from online activity. This is an incorrect way of processing this information, however, since offline marketing efforts greatly impact online activity.

To assist businesses and marketers alike in gaining a better understanding of how offline activity affects online results, and how to measure that activity, here are the stats, numbers, and factors that should be watched closely.

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic will be one of the single largest indicators of how offline marketing materials are affecting your business online. Watch for significant traffic spikes due to users typing in your URL directly. You can determine if there has been a rise by segmenting traffic to the timeframe when an offline campaign was launched and compare the numbers to a previous date range to see how significant the change to the direct traffic was.

Additionally, you will want to examine the quality of these hits. Were people spending significant periods of time on your site, or did they quickly move on to other materials (i.e. what is the bounce rate?) Did visitors look through specific products or services related to the campaign? Did conversions occur at a higher rate than usual? All of this information will provide valuable insights as to how your offline marketing materials are performing.

Brand Queries

Despite achieving an extremely memorable campaign, offline ads will usually generate brand searches online. Many people will forget your web address and Google your company’s name, although, this in essence can be a good thing. Knowing this, watch for spikes in search impressions and clicks for your brand’s name.

Again, if your offline marketing materials are proving fruitful, that success will reflect online through people searching for your company. The Google Search Console can provide information regarding a recent rise in these numbers. Additionally, this information can be harvested directly from Google Analytics as long as you have linked the Search Console and Analytics together. If you have not gone through this process as of yet, here are instructions to do so.

Once this has be accomplished, filter the data to show only queries containing your name. Now the date range can be compared to previous information to see how brand searches were affected. Google Trends can also be referenced to establish if searches for terms relevant to your specific campaign have spiked during the same time period.

Altering Display Advertising with Email Behaviors

Depending on the behavior of the users on your email list, you may want them to see alternate display ads, and amazingly enough, Analytics is capable of collecting data from email marketing tools and sending the information to Google Analytics to then change display campaigns.

The first step in this process is to link the data in Google Analytics to the customer information in your CRM or other customer management system. Now, extract the client ID value from the Google Analytics cookies and move it over to your CRM system. Your system should now be able to integrate your internal customer IDs with the Google Analytics ID information. While this process may require some assistance, it will be well worth the effort. You’ll be a data powerhouse.

When the systems are linked, you are able to send user-specific, behavioral data that occurs in your customer management system to Google Analytics. This data send is accomplished through the measurement protocol tool. When all of this data is in a single location, users can be segmented in Analytics by behavior and a list of users can be created for remarketing. Remarketing allows segmented users to be sent to Google AdWords for use as a remarketing list.

Custom URL’s

Custom URL’s are a great way to shorten URL’s and make them more memorable. These URL’s can also be used to properly segment visits for offline marketing campaigns in Google Analytics. Include a URL in pieces of offline marketing materials like direct mailing but be sure to never link this to anywhere else online. This ensures that the hits received on this URL are solely from those who saw it in your direct marketing efforts. Another way to accomplish this would be to purchase a new domain and redirect it to a unique page on your website.

These are only a few of the various ways to track offline marketing efforts through Google Analytics. While this still does not provide 100% of the information needed for a complete picture, it does provide a much more intimate understanding of how a particular campaign performed and how to adjust marketing strategies moving forward. But there are of course a myriad of tools in the Search Console that provide highly valuable and useful information; take a look around and see what else you might be able to utilize.

What are some other ways that offline marketing efforts can be tracked through Google Analytics?


Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor. Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+.