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Tracking The Activity Of Your Offline Campaigns Through Google Analytics

This blog post is the third of a four-part series, “The Top 4 Ways To Get Value From Google Analytics”. This post is intended for those who haven’t used Google Analytics before, and are looking for a place to start. Read Part 1 or Part 2!

Internet DomainsMany forms of marketing can be difficult to track to directly. But with Google Analytics (referred to hereafter as “GA”), you can track visitors from your online and offline advertising campaigns, and see how these visitors behave differently on your website.

Tagging Campaigns

Using Google Analytics, it’s possible to generate a “tag”, or unique URL that redirects to a landing page on your website. This tag can represent a specific campaign, and GA can tell you how these site visitors perform.

Let’s say you are running an e-mail campaign. While virtually all the major e-mail marketing tools (Constant Contact, Mailchimp, etc.) will tell you how many subscribers clicked through to your site, they can’t tell you anything about what those visitors actually did when they got there.

Using tags, the unique behavior of your campaign visitors is no longer a mystery. Once a visitor reaches your site through a tag, you can measure their behavior using all the metrics we discussed earlier in this series: page visits, time on site, etc.

Create tagging links within your email campaigns! Don’t just throw a link in your email back to your site – tag it and give yourself an extra analytics boost! For example, I have a link in my email signature to my most current blog post and, of course, I use a hyper link on the title of the blog to make it look pretty. I also add code to the end of the url link for Google Analytics so that I may see how many times people click on my email signature link to the blog AND then what else do they look at on my website. Here is what that link looks like for this blog post:

But in my email signature all the reader sees is the title of the blog post.
All of the text that follows each of these parameters: “utm_source” and “utm_medium” and “utm_campaign” tells me exactly which blog title generated a click through and I can see each of those elements inside Google Analytics under the report heading of ‘Campaigns’. You can do the same with every single link you have in a promotional email or eNewsletter.

To learn how to do this yourself follow this link to the url builder on This link will also explain the definition of each parameter so that you know when to use each!

Tracking Offline Campaigns

Now, here’s where things get interesting. With the power of tags, you can now transform virtually any advertising campaign you run.

Let’s say you’re running a television advertising campaign. Instead of putting ‘yourwebsite’ as the call to action, you can create a special “vanity url” – a custom tag – specifically for this campaign. Note that this vanity url allows you to create an easy to remember call to action for your advertising.

Not only can you now measure how many people were driven to your website from a given advertising campaign, you can measure how those specific users behaved.

Tagging For Any Medium

The same methods we’ve discussed work for any medium. If you’re going to run a print ad and want to know how many people have taken action because of it, create a vanity URL tag and post it in the ad. Even if you are using billboard ads, the same method applies. Do you want to know your ROI on print ads in general? Use the same tag each time you run a print ad, and you’ll have a running tally of your print ad performance.

There are other classic methods for tracking offline ads, such as unique 1-800 numbers and coupon codes, but the Google Analytics tagging feature is an easy way to track the impact of your ads virtually anywhere – at no added cost to you.

My Grandmother’s Cornbread Dressing

It is a well-known fact that southerners typically make dressing and those in other parts of the USA make stuffing. At least that has been my experience. Grandma made this recipe in an unusual fashion. She didn’t bake it in a dish in the oven. She formed the ‘dough’ into oval shapes and placed them on a cookie sheet and then baked them in the oven.

Then she would place the dressing around the outside of the platter where she had set the turkey she had already sliced for serving. Looked nice turkey and dressing right there together on the buffet. We always had Thanksgiving at my Grandmothers so I grew up NEVER having seen a whole turkey served on a platter. EVER. Didn’t know turkeys came whole – ha! Give this a try- it’ll make your brains fall out.

6 C crumbled cornbread
1 C chopped celery with leaves
1 C chopped onions
2 C chicken broth
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp poultry seasoning
¼ tsp salt
2 T dried sage

Bake and crumble cornbread. Set-aside until cooled. Cook celery and onion in broth for 5 minutes then cool. Combine egg with broth mixture, poultry seasoning, salt, and cornbread. Form mixture into individual serving ovals and bake on greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Bonnie Massa is Founder and President of Chicago-based Massa & Company, Inc. She works with companies and nonprofits to make the best use of their information about customers, partners, donors and sponsors. With more than 40 years of experience in marketing and predictive analytics, Bonnie is passionate about helping clients make informed, data-driven decisions to increase the value of their customer base. She strongly believes that making pasta and ice cream from scratch are worth the effort, and she spends much of her free time testing and re-testing that theory.

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