Getting more from Search Engine Marketing with Google Analytics
In the last blog, we covered how to optimize within AdWords. However, there is greater optimization to be achieved if you integrate AdWords with Google Analytics (GA). This is because AdWords only cover the user behavior till the user clicks the ads, but GA tracks user behavior after the user clicks the ad and comes to your site. With this information, you can see what the user did at your site after clicking. This will allow you to optimize the landing pages (using A/B testing) and generally improve the conversion funnel.
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To link AdWords to GA, go to “Tools, billings, and settings” menu item on top (it is shown as three vertical dots), click “linked accounts” under “setup” section, and click on “details” under Google Analytics. You will see GA account and click on “link”.
Now we have the combined power of AdWords and GA, we can look deeper into some strategic metrics that can help with your campaigns.
Many marketers tend to focus on metrics like Impressions, Clicks, and CTR. However, these are typically not consequential to your marketing efforts because by themselves they do not make any impact on your business. There are much more consequential metrics such as:
Number of Conversions: How many new customers you acquired
Cost per Acquisitions (CPA): How much did each conversion cost?
Conversion rate: Proportion of clicks resulted in conversion. Evaluating this allows you to improve the conversion rate (by tweaking landing pages et cetera.)
LTV: Lifetime value of newly acquired user from SEM
ROI: Calculated based on the LTV and cost per conversion
One useful feature in GA is “segmentation”, which is available in almost all the reports. To use this feature, go to any report and click on “add segment” on top. Here you can specify segmentation plans such as organic traffic versus paid traffic, desktop versus mobile etc.
In the context of AdWords, one segmentation plan that would be useful is branded versus non-branded keywords. To set up this segmentation plan, one should specify branded keywords first. For this, go to “administration” section of GA, go to “channel settings”, and click on “manage brand terms”. Include all brand terms you think users will search to find your business. Save the brand terms. Then it will prompt to define channels. It will show “generic paid search” and “branded paid search”. More details can be found here.
While evaluating performance of branded versus non-branded keywords, it important to note that branded keywords tend to do well, but it also means that most of these users knew about your brand through other branding initiatives. Therefore, don’t get into the trap of assigning all credits to specific brand ads.
Another important concept is Attribution, in which GA provides insights on what marketing activities resulted in a conversion or sale, starting from first touch to last touch. This allows us to figure out how to allocate marketing dollars and efforts.
To access the attribution feature, go to GA and “Conversion > Attribution > Model Comparison Tool”. Just above the report, you can select different attribution models which allocates different weights to touches for attribution. It is worth exploring different models and select the one that is ideal for your business. That said, two models that we find the most useful are:
- Last touch: This allocates the full credit to the last touch that lead to conversion. This is the simplest model.
- Position based: This allocates 40% credit to first touch, 40% to last touch, and 20% spread between all touches in between. This is more complicated, but provides more equitable credits to different touches.
Hope this discussion on AdWords and Analytics gives you ideas to improve your SEM marketing campaigns.