Posts Tagged ‘pivoting’

Dec 09

One of our most well received posts this year was on “Tracking Online and Offline Marketing Campaigns with Google Analytics”. The post detailed how to properly plan for and track your various marketing initiatives and campaigns (search, email, social, offline, etc.) to understand the impact and ROI of each channel.

That post was geared towards those who already had a good understanding of URL tagging. How about the beginners? In this post, we will try to address both beginners and advanced users. Does either of the bullets describe you?

  • You are familiar with URL tagging, but need to find a way to automate the process using an elaborate tool
  • You are looking for a brief how-to guide on URL tagging.

If the answer is yes, keep reading. Actually, keep reading either way – this was just a poorly crafted attempt at being dramatic. :)
Although url tagging isn’t a hot new topic, proper planning and tagging is fundamental to improving visibility into campaign performance, overall accuracy and proper attribution of campaign conversion data. Some of the most common questions we get asked are related to URL tagging, so we figured it was time to share some of the tools we use internally to help make the URL tagging process less mundane and more bulletproof.

Why should I continue reading? Here’s what you’ll get…

  1. Online URL Tagging builder
  2. An Advanced URL Tagging Kit (Excel based), and yes, it’s free!
  3. A video guide & practical tips

Ok fine….How do I get started?

Start with the end result of tagging – a pivot report with Channel Segmentation.
Impress your boss and brag about your marketing channel and campaign segmentation skills, show them a sample report like this one (and get additional help/resources for your analytics team!) and then proactively follow the steps and tools in this post.


Let me explain why the above report is so powerful:

  • All your campaigns – online and offline are segmented and properly tracked
  • The pivot data is in an analysis friendly format
  • The raw data is available and easily exported from GA (extracted into Excel via the API)

The three tools listed below will help you set up proper campaign tracking.

1- Online URL Builder

If you’re trying to learn how to build properly tagged URL’s or just need a tool to facilitate building a quick link or two, this tool will serve your needs very well. It’s quick, easy and available online here:


Simply enter the appropriate values, and then press the Generate URL button, and you’re done.

2- The Google Analytics Campaign Segmentation | URL Tagging Kit (beta)

The URL builder above is great for onesey twosey links, but woefully inadequate if you have more than a few links to tag (who doesn’t?) For a more robust method, check out E-Nor’s URL Tagging Kit. This Kit provides an automated method to tag many urls at the same time for multiple campaign variables. Using the URL Tagging Kit offers the ability to tag in bulk, updates formulas, error checks and prepares final tagged URLs for distribution to the campaign manager and then off to Quality Assurance.

Input Parameters:


Output Tagged URLS!!!


For beginners, just use the default settings and tag away!

For advanced users, here is what you get with this beta version:

  • Auto concatenation of tag fields
  • Error checking
    • Space character is handled gracefully
    • Character case is auto-fixed based on selection
    • Leading/trailing spaces are trimmed
  • Your choice of querystring parameter character (? Or #)
  • Auto-creation of final static version of the tagged URL

Download the URL Tagging Kit here


3- Online Video Tutorial

Don’t have time to read? Just watch the short tutorial below

(for whatever reason, I can’t seem to get full screen mode enabled on this video. Click here to watch the video on Youtube with full screen enabled.)

Practical Tips

  • Google AdWords offers an “auto tagging” feature, if you turn it on and you connect your AdWords account with your Google Analytics account, you are all set. No manual URL tagging are required.
  • Use URL Tagging for campaign types, such as:
    • Newsletters
    • Email
    • Banners
    • Affiliate
    • Shopping Comparison Sites
    • Non-Google CPC, CPA or CPM based advertisements
    • Press Releases
    • TV
    • Radio
  • Basic UTM tagging only applies to your domain(s) and does not apply to external domains.
  • Check which querystring parameter your site supports: ? or # (if you are using # as your querystring parameter, make sure you read the reference from Google Code on the _setAllowAnchor command)
  • Establish an insightful naming convention for your team & stick to it!
  • Ensure a QA process is in place:
    • QA naming convention (including upper and lower case) and if you use holiday_2011, don’t use FALL-2011 for the same campaign.
    • Check links to verify landing pages render properly.
    • Verify final tagged urls in all final content.
    • Verify information is passed to Google Analytics as planned.

So there you have it. Tag, Track, Segment, Analyze and Optimize!

Advanced User Notes:

  • For advanced users and those interested in multi-channel attribution, you can make use of the Multiple Custom Variables (MCV) feature in Google Analytics to measure first, last (and in between) campaign attribution
  • If you are running social media and online viral marketing activities and you are active in blogging, on Twitter and Facebook, you should include “off-site” measurements in your overall campaign analysis.
  • Here’s a nice post on the GA blog detailing a solution that requires no tagging.

Related Posts

May 11

Google just announced four new features in Google Analytics. These features are in beta and are being rolled out to all GA accounts so hopefully you’ll have access to them very soon. Two of these features are intended for deep-dive analysis and offer an incredible amount of insight right at your fingertips! If you are interested in saving time and doing better analysis, keep reading. :) The two new features are:

  • Secondary dimensions
  • Pivoting

To find out more, keep reading or watch our video:

Secondary Dimensions

Personally I’ve found this new feature to be extremely helpful. It has helped me focus more on analysis and less on digging through reports (yay!) and it definitely decreased the steps taken to get to a particular report. Secondary Dimensions allow users to view two different dimensions within the same GA report. This makes analyzing your data more efficient and saves you time. Instead of having to run different reports and compare the data, you’re able to run the report and see the data side by side. Let me show you an example:

One of our clients observed a sudden spike in their direct traffic. We needed to ascertain where the traffic was coming from. Since the client had attended a couple of recent trade-shows, our initial assumption was that this spike in direct traffic resulted from the buzz around the shows. Stop – do not settle on this conclusion so easily! We’ve been trained to use data to validate assumptions and conclusions.

In the “All Traffic Sources” report, I selected traffic sources by medium, and then I added a secondary dimension for “Country/Territory”, and voilà, the report was created and it showed us that out of 1972 direct visits, 1037 were from Pakistan.

Google Analytics secondary dimension

Wait a second, we knew that the trade-shows where in the US and not in Pakistan, and the client’s target audience is US-based as well. It turns out that this particular client has an offshore software development office in Pakistan. which explained the recent spike in traffic as the developers were making updates to the site.

Even without the Secondary Dimension feature this same information is available, but you would have to leave the current report and go to a “direct segment” and then look at a geography report to find the information that is now available using the secondary dimensions feature (with one click). As stated earlier, deep dive analysis at your fingertips! :)


If you are an Excel geek, and I might qualify for one :) , you know what pivoting is all about. But for the purpose of this post, pivoting in Google Analytics will allow you to see additional metrics in the same view.

For example, say you are looking at your top landing page report. With secondary dimensions, you can now view the visitor type (new versus returning) as well.

Before pivoting in Google Analytics

This above report is for a news website, “/” is the homepage, and “/Politics” is the politics page. We see that the bounce rate for the “/Politics” page is much higher for new visitors than for the Returning Visitors. Time for action! Equipped with the new findings, you can review the “/Politics” page content and/or layout and assess how to further engage the new visitors. Keep in mind that when you are doing this type of analysis, keep statistical significance in mind; don’t waste time on something that is not statistically significant such as a seldom visited page.

With pivoting, the deep dive analysis is about to go into over drive. So while I am in the same GA report, it occurred to me that the client makes frequent updates to their homepage and maybe some browser incompatibilities have been introduced along the way. With a couple of clicks, I can get the insight I am looking for.

In the Secondary Dimensions drop-down, I selected “Browser”, then I selected the “Pivot” view and I choose “Operating System”. Here you go, all the cool analytics data you want right here in one table. We are now seeing:

  • Home page (our landing page in this example)
  • Viewed by browser type (IE, Firefox, Chrome, and more)
  • Viewed by Operating System (Windows, Mac, and more)
  • By Entrances and the respective Bounce Rate
  • Wow, a lot of numbers to view, but the report is much more insightful and there is so much context!

Pivoting in Google Analytics

What do I do next? Easy! Meet with the web design team, share the data, and hopefully help the team prioritize fixing browser incompatibility issues starting with Firefox on Mac, and then Safari on Windows. Obviously, if you are not happy with the 34.27% Bounce Rate of traffic on Internet Explorer, then you’d want to allocate time to improve it on this segment of traffic since Internet Explorer represents a significant percentage of the total.

So to summarize, the secondary dimensions and pivoting features in Google Analytics allow us to dig much deeper into the data, and all done on-the-fly. Give these features a try and let us know what you think.

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