Using Google Analytics for Reporting and Quality Control

#3 in series

Previous Articles:

Google Analytics tracking in Tag Manager opens up a whole new opportunity for marketing mangers to better understand the user behavior on their websites.  If you have Google Analytics, you will already understand the value of the user behaviour data it contains such as page views, pages per session, average time on site and much much more.  From an audience view, Google Analytics also shows the sources of your website traffic.  But we can go much further.

Enhanced Tracking with Google Events

One of the most important questions a marketing manager can answer is “what marketing investments are leading to desired results?”.  Another way to state this question is “where will I choose to invest next in marketing activities?”.  Using the tools in Google Tag Manager to track “Events” and additional tools in Google Analytics to track “Goals” we can gather the data to help answer this all important question.

We define an “events” as an activity that occurs on your website that you are interested in tracking and/or analyzing.  Google Analytics already tracks all your page views.  what would interest a marketing manager would be activities such downloads of a PDF document, views of a YouTube video embedded on the site, how far someone scrolls down the image gallery, clicks on telephone numbers, clicks on email address links, and submissions of contact forms.

Some of these are considered low leverage events.  They are interesting, and provide us a picture of the content types our web users are consuming.  This data helps guide us for future content development.  The last 3 are what we consider to be high leverage events, they are customers or potential customers (leads) interacting with us through the website.  We refer to these high leverage events as Conversion Events.

With these Conversion Events we will also go one step further.  We will set them up to be tracked as events in Tag Manager and then we will also set up matching “Goals” in Google Analytics.  By creating Goals in Google Analytics, we can automatically see these high leverage Conversion Events in some of the most useful reports in Google Analytics, the reports that help to attribute results to marketing investments.

Tags and Triggers in Google Tag Manager

You will be using a combination of Tags and Triggers to send event tracking data to Google Analytics.  Here is how we view them.

Triggers: this defines the conditions of the event, what must occur on the website for the event to happen.  For example, to track an event for the download of a PDF file, the user must click on the link for the PDF file.  To track an event for a contact form submission, the user must successfully submit the form.

Tags: this is the data that we are going to send from the website to Google Analytics.  A tag can send multiple fields of data, including Category, Action, Label and Value.  Usually we will only use the first 2 or three of these.

Setting Up Events in Google Tag Manager

Your first run through setting up events using Google Tag Manager may seem like an exercise in overwork, but as you learn and understand more about Tag Manager, it will make more and more sense the power of Tag Manager will be more and more apparent.  Make sure you are logged into your Google Account, then log into Google Analytics and in a separate window open Google Tag Manager.  If you need a refresher on getting Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager in place see Setting Up Google Analytics Using Google Tag Manager.

Step 1 is to click on Triggers (down the left hand menu in Workspace) in Tag Manager.  We are going to use a simple click on an email address as the example we want to track.  Click the New button.  Rename “Untitled Trigger” to “Email Link Trigger”.  Click the Trigger Configuration area.  Choose Just Links.  Click the radio button for Some Link Clicks.  Set the first drop down to “Click Url”, the second drop down to “contains” and in the box type in “mailto” (without the quotations).  Click the Save button.

What we have done is tell Tag Manager that when a user click an email link on the website (email links use the link protocol mailto:) that we want to fire the Email Link Trigger.

Step 2 is to tell Tag Manager what data to send to Google Analytics when this trigger is fired.  Click on Tags in the left menu.  Click on New.  Rename “Untitled Tag” to “GA Event Email”.  Click the Tag Configuration area.  Choose Google Analytics Universal Analytics.   Change Track Type to Event.  In the Category box enter “Conversion”.  In the Action Box enter “Link Click”.  In the Label box enter “{{Click URL}}”.  (leave off the quotations on all three of the above).  Click the box for Enable overriding settings in this tag and enter “{{Google Analytics ID}}” which you should have set up if you followed our previous articles in this series.

Now click the Triggering area.  Click the Email Link Trigger you set up in Step 1.  Click Save.

What you now have in place are the components needed to store event data into Google Analytics.  When an email link on your website is clicked, Tag Manager will fire the Email Link Trigger.  This will activate the GA Event Email Tag and send (or push) the event data to Google Analytics.

Category:  Conversion

Action: Email Link Click

Label: {{the actual email address of the link}}

This Trigger / Tag combination will work with any link on your website that begins with “mailto:” and will save the email address of that link as the label.

Click the Submit button above the Workspace.  For a descriptive name simply enter your name or initials and the date.  Add any description you want to describe what changes or additions you have made and then Click the Publish button.  Your Triggers and Tags will now be live on your website.

Creating Goals in Google Analytics

Keep in mind the data we just passed to Google Analytics in the for of Event data.  This included Category, Action, and Label.  As we mentioned previously for those high leverage events that we call Conversion Events, we also want to set up Goals in Google Analytics.  So leave Google Tag Manager behind for now and go to the Google Analytics window you should have left open in your browser.

In the lower left corner, click the gear icon to open the Admin dashboard.  In the column under View, click Goals.  Assuming you do not already have Goals set up, click the button for +New Goal to begin setting up.  Click the radio button for Custom.  Click Continue.  Name the Goal “Email Link”.  Click the radio button for Event.  Click Continue.  Now fill in the Category and Action using the data we set up above (Conversion / Email Link Click).  Pay close attention to ensure you match upper/lower case letters.  Click Save.

We now all the pieces in place that when a user clicks an email link on your website, a Trigger will fire, activating a Tag, sending event data to be stored in Google Analytics which will also be recorded as a Goal.

The Most Important Report in Google Analytics

Now that we have the data tracking, being sent from  our website to Google Analytics via Google Tag Manager, we can start to answer our most important marketing question, “what marketing investments are leading to desired results?”

In Google Analytics, far left hand side, click Acquisition, All Traffic, Source / Medium.  You can set the date range as desired in the top right hand area.  (note: if you have just set up enhanced tracking including Goals, you will not yet see Goals data as it is not retroactive.)  This report shows you the Source / Medium of your various traffic sources, such as “google / organic”, “google / ppc”, “facebook.com / referral”, and more.  Columns in Acquisition and Behavior will provide very valuable information.  But it is the Goals columns that answer our most important question.  If you set the Conversions drop down to All Goals you will be able to see what marketing activity (the Source / Medium) that is driving the results (Conversion) that bring value to your business.  Wondering if your social media efforts are driving traffic to your website that contacts you?  The data will tell you.  Wondering if the money you are investing in Google Ads is producing more leads than your organic traffic?  Yep, check the data, it’s there.