Did you know that it's possible to track the effectiveness of your offline marketing, as in, print ads, TV commercials, and even billboards? Yep, it's true, and it's simple too... Just use a different domain name on each ad.
You can then set up each domain name with special UTM variable tracking like I explained yesterday to see how often people respond to your ad. For billboard, TV, and radio ads you may have to use catchy domain names that people will remember; print ads don't have to be as memorable since someone can just copy the domain name from it to their web browser.
Alternative domain names are good to use in social media profiles too; it just takes a little creativity to implement it.
Once you've set up all that tracking explained yesterday, you will have to wait a little while for the results to appear in your Google Analytics (GA). You have to dig a little bit in your analytics to see the results.
Viewing Alternative Domain Results
You should start with the Acquisition Channels report like I explained in this Nugget. Within GA, you'll need click on the left navigation shown here:
This is what the standard Acquisitions Channel report looks like:
The row marked as "(Other)" is the one we're interested in now. That's where our alternative domain name information will be. For the rest of this Nugget, I'm going to modify all my screen shots to correspond to the example variable I set up yesterday. That way you can easily follow along.
Speaking of which, here's a full list of the UTM variable setup I illustrated yesterday:
Those are the exact UTM variable settings you'd use in your URL, but this table format might be a little easier to read:
Assuming we were tracking all these variables, this is what the report would look like when you click on "(Other)":
The default "Source" report will show you all the utm_source variables you set up. Google analytics will track each time someone clicked on one of those special domain names, or typed it directly into their web browser.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There's not going to be a lot of data in these reports, so make sure you expand the date range of your report starting with the first day you had these domains set up.
From the Source Report, we can change the view to reveal the rest of the variables. This animated screen grab shows you how to change the report to show Source and Campaign information:
For the example data, the campaign would be the same for everything, "holiday-2015" that you see here:
Now let's look at the Medium information. To get to it, you need to follow this animated screen grab to show the Source and the Medium side by side:
This is what the report would look like:
I need to point out the specific scenario regarding the Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ tracking that I've illustrated here. The 3 links are not being used in the shared social content, but rather, in the profile for each network. That way you can always track when someone clicks your website link from your profile screen. Of course you should also be using UTM tracking for all the social content you share. Refer back to this Nugget to see how to do that.
Now let's look at the report for the utm_content and utm_term information. Follow this animated screen grab to first display the utm_content information:
Notice how you are typing the word "content" into the search box, but you are selecting the "Ad Content" field from the list. The utm_content variable is mapped to the "Ad Content" field in Google Analytics.
Here's what the report would look like in this example:
Notice how we only have 1 result shown on this report. That's because "domain" was used for all 7 of our example tracking URLs.
The next step is to expand the report to show the domain names we collected. Follow this animated screen grab to reveal the utm_term information:
Once again, the UTM variable is being mapped to a different field within Google Analytics. In this case it is "Keyword" rather than "term."
Here's the sample report:
Reading The Reports
In this Daily Nugget, I intentionally left out all the details on how to read the Session, Page Views, Bounce Rates, and all the other information that these reports show you. You should be able to figure that stuff out on your own. Naturally, the higher session counts indicate that people were visiting that domain more often than the others, i.e. that ad was performing well.
You can also mix and match the reports to see how the data relates to one another. This example is straight forward and easy to understand; it gets more complicated when you start to add a little more creative tracking into the mix.
Even though I've shown you how to use all 5 UTM tracking variables, only 3 are required:
In the above example, you could have reorganized how you assigned your data and dropped the "holiday-2015" and "domain" settings. I only included all 5 in this example to fully illustrate how to read these reports.
I've also only scratched the surface of how to use this feature. You'd have to talk to your SEO/Marketing Agent to really dig deep into how this can be useful for you.
Even though all this UTM tracking stuff is a little technical, I'm including it as part of my "Practical SEO Series" of Nuggets because it really is something you can implement directly, and you can see real results from it. Give it a try.