Posts Tagged ‘yahoo search marketing’

Apr 21
2010

Although every day is a mother’s day, here in the US we dedicate one day especially for her to show our appreciation and thankfulness.  Mother’s Day is just around the corner. As a marketer or a business owner you are getting ready, like all retailers, to kick-off your Mother’s Day campaigns. Last year’s campaign did ok. You didn’t get fired :) , but you didn’t get a promotion either! :( You are a much smarter marketer now and you want to better track your initiatives, assess what channel is performing and fix what is not performing. You are planning all sorts of marketing activities: offline: TV and newspaper ads; online: paid Search, email, banners, social media, and others.

You have your messaging, promotions, copy, creative, and landing pages all ready, and soon you will go live and you have a week to figure out this “tracking, measurement and analytics” business!

No worries! Google Analytics and this post have come to the rescue!!

In this post I will walk you through a process of how to plan and implement a comprehensive external campaign tracking.

Assumptions:

  • You have Google Analytics implemented on your site
  • You have a basic familiarity with URL tagging
  • Last but not least this post also assumes that you are ready and willing to be proactive and you do care about analytics and campaign ROI :)

Prerequisite: Structure & Naming Convention

As you know, the sole purpose of tagging is to differentiate between the different ads and campaigns you are running, so it is very important to agree on the structure and the naming convention as a first step. Here is an example:

As you can see from the chart above, we are running different online and offline ads for our Mother’s Day campaign. In the next section, we are going to tag all these ad’s links with the campaign variables using the URL Builder tool provided by Google.

Email

Email campaigns are one of the most effective ways of attracting visitors to your site especially existing clients. If we don’t tag the emails links with the right campaign tags, visits from emails will be attributed as referral or direct traffic.

How do we tag email links?

  1. Use the URL Builder or CampaignAlyzer to create tagged links
  2. Enter the following variables into the URL builder:
    Website URL: http://www.store.com/
    Campaign Source: newsletter-april
    Campaign Medium: email
    Campaign Name: Mother’s Day 2010
  3. Use the generated link URL in your email (ex. “Visit the Store” button”)

Banner

We will follow the same tagging steps that we used for email campaign to tag our banner campaign:

  1. Use the URL Builder or CampaignAlyzer to create tagged links
  2. Enter the following variables into the URL builder:
    Website URL: http://www.store.com/
    Campaign Source: oprah.com
    Campaign Medium: banner
    Campaign Name: Mother’s Day 2010
  3. Use the generated link URL in your banner (ex. “Shop Now” button”)

Twitter

Social media today is reshaping the online marketing landscape. People are using YouTube, Facebook, Flicker, and Twitter for more than just personal updates and video/picture exchange. There is a huge amount of promotion and branding taking place in these sites and our job in this post is to measure the success of these marketing efforts.

Let’s use Twitter for our Mother’s Day campaign and make sure we tag all links to our site with the proper campaign variables.

How do we tag Twitter links?

  1. Use the URL Builder or CampaignAlyzer to create tagged links
  2. Enter the following variables into the URL builder:
    Website URL: http://www.store.com/
    Campaign Source: twitter
    Campaign Medium: social media
    Campaign Name: Mother’s Day 2010
  3. Shorten the generated link URL using any URL shortening tools (I usually use bit.ly)
  4. Tweet about your promotion using the tiny URL

Paid Search – Google

Thanks God that Google AdWords and Google Analytics are cousins and integrate very well together! Google AdWords has a nice feature called auto-tagging which makes it easy for us to see AdWords campaign information in our Google Analytics reports without any manually tagging.

To learn more about auto-tagging visit this help topic.

How do we enable auto-tagging?

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account
  2. Click on My account tab and select Account preferences
  3. Under Tracking section, click Edit
  4. Check the Destination URL Auto-tagging checkbox
  5. Click “Save changes”

Paid Search – Yahoo

Unlike AdWords, to track Yahoo paid traffic we need to manually tag the destination URL with the campaign variables.

  1. Tag your yahoo ad link using the following variables:
    Website URL: http://www.store.com/
    Campaign Source: yahoo
    Campaign Medium: cpc
    Campaign Term: {OVKey}
    Campaign Name: Mother’s Day 2010
  2. Use the tagged URL for the “Destination URL” field

Paid Search – Bing

Similar to what we did with Yahoo ads, but with the following variables:

  • Website URL: http://www.store.com/
  • Campaign Source: bing
  • Campaign Medium: cpc
  • Campaign Term: {QueryString}
  • Campaign Name: Mother’s Day 2010

Tracking Offline Campaigns

When we talk about tracking campaigns, it is not enough to focus only on online campaigns. We have to include the offline campaigns in our reports for complete analysis. In this section, I will share with you one method of tracking your offline campaigns in Google Analytics in 2 simple steps:

  1. In your offline ads, refer visitors to a page that is unique to the campaign; [www.store.com/mother]
  2. Tag all visitors to the unique page with the campaign variables [source, medium, & campaign name]

How to tag all visitors to www.store.com/mother with the campaign variables?

We will assume that all visitors to the unique landing page [www.store.com/mother] are coming from a specific offline campaign let say the USA Today newspaper. When the USA Today visitors request the promotion URL and before we fire the Google Analytics code, we will refresh the landing page using meta-refresh tag, which update the URL with the campaign UTMs. When The Google Analytics code gets executed after the page refresh, it will see the URL with the campaign UTMs attached to it and will attribute the visit as desired.

How do we tag destination URLs?

  1. Go to the URL Builder
  2. Enter the following variables into the URL builder:
    Website URL: http://www.store.com/mother
    Campaign Source: usa-today
    Campaign Medium: newspaper
    Campaign Name: Mother’s Day 2010
  3. Add the following code to the header of landing page before the Google Analytics tracking code

    <head>
    <link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.store.com/mother” />
    <meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”1;URL=http://www.store.com/?utm_source=usa-today&utm_medium=newspaper&utm_campaign=Mother’s%2BDay%202010″>
    </head>

Analyzing the data:

Now as we had all tags in place, it is time for deep dive analysis into the “Mother’s Day 2010″ campaign. I suggest that you isolate the campaigns’ visits by using advanced custom segment and look at this unique segment across reports.

Creating Custom Advanced Segmentation

  1. Sign in to your Google Analytics account
  2. Advanced Segments > Create a new advanced segment
  3. Add the following dimensions:

Viewing Reports (Show me the money!!)

Now, you are ready to conduct analysis based on the customized segment. You can look at the traffic sources report and see how many people purchased and from which medium:

From the first look at the ecommerce numbers above, we can confirm that:

  • The TV campaign has the highest conversion rate
  • The newspaper campaign was not as effective as other campaigns
  • Social media has the highest ROI (Return on Investment)

Click on the dropdown menu below for more marketing campaign tagging examples.

If you like this exercise and you were able to extract some valuable insights for your business, apply the same concept for the upcoming Father’s Day, which is on June 20th here in the US and do a comparison between the users’ purchasing behavior in these two very special occasions.

Share your findings and happy analyzing and drop us a comment below!

Notes:

  • For advanced users and those interested in multi-channel attribution, you can make use of the the Multiple Custom Variables (MCV) feature in Google Analytics
  • 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. In addition, be sure to dedicate resources to listen and participate in the social conversations around your brand, products and campaigns

Related Posts

Dec 12
2008

In September of this year, Yahoo! announced the formation of a Digital Advisory Council to drive discussions with advertisers. Our agency was invited and we welcomed the invitation to listen to what Yahoo had to say and provide some feedback. Our office being literally less than ten minutes away made the decision a little bit easier!

During the meeting we were told that we are under an NDA so I won’t go into the specifics.  But here are some comments and thoughts:

  • We applaud Yahoo’s efforts to be open, reach out to their clients (advertisers and agencies), and solicit their input. That spirit was felt throughout the council meeting, from the Senior VP that hosted the event to managers and other Yahoo staff.  They really wanted to be transparent and sought input from us.  Good job, Yahoo!
  • Despite the poor picture that might have been portrayed in the news about Yahoo and search, we were reminded that Yahoo! is still a profitable company and has some very high traffic sites, including Yahoo! Sports (we were told it has more traffic than ESPN) and Yahoo! News (gets more traffic than CNN).  I didn’t know that and I would say it is pretty impressive!
  • Various folks from Yahoo! presented about new features and innovations (sorry, can’t blog about it yet :( ) but expect to hear from Yahoo! on areas they are strong in, including Display (banner) Advertisement.
  • There was a talk about Traffic Quality and the favorite discussion topic of click fraud.  Without spilling their beans, we got a better picture of how Yahoo! handles click fraud and also learned that you can get reports from within your Yahoo! Search marketing account about credits your accounts is getting for false clicks.
  • Lunch was really good too, including the Israeli Couscous which was very tasty!  To be fair, I have to say that the food in Mountain View during the GAAC Summit was really good too.

So in summary, I am really glad to see Yahoo! opening up and creating additional forums to communicate with advertisers and agencies.

While we are on the subject of Yahoo! Search Marketing, there is another topic that we have been wanting to blog about but didn’t get to until now.  Yahoo! has a mechanism of optimizing your accounts and campaigns on their own! Yes, that means without your
knowledge.  Maybe this is not so recent but many clients I speak with are still not aware of this mechanism, so it is important that we share it. The following was drafted by a couple of folks in the office:


We hope you are aware of Yahoo’s decision to optimize PPC accounts by creating optimized campaigns on their own and running them without checking with the client. As strange as this may sound, it is very true! For a regular advertiser who doesn’t tag his campaigns and review them in any analytics tool, this may not be that bad. For those who do tag their campaigns and review all of their traffic sources and conversions via an analytics tool, this could be trouble.

Yahoo does the whole nine yards when it comes to campaign creation (naming convention, ad group, keywords, ad copy) but they miss a very crucial step. They don’t tag the campaign at all with tracking parameters so a web analytics tool can recognize it as PPC traffic. This means traffic from this new campaign will be recorded as organic traffic and will dilute the quality of your data. The number of visits attributed to Yahoo cpc and Yahoo organic will be wrong, and conversion rates for these two sources will be subject to speculation.

There are two ways that you can deal with this issue:

  1. If you would like to try these optimized campaigns and see how they will perform while capturing the data properly in your analytics account, you need to go to your Ads under the AdGroup they created and make sure that you tag the destination URLs properly. If you are using Google Analytics, here is a good post from our friends at PPC Hero that will help you.
  2. Otherwise, once you see a new optimized campaign in your account, pause or delete it and make sure that you opt-out from this service. You can opt-out by submitting a request to Yahoo customer support.

If you have too many campaigns in your own or your client’s accounts, the easiest way to spot the Yahoo optimized campaigns is by their naming convention. See the below snapshot for an example.


My request to Yahoo! is that they back out of this practice and allow user more control before they turn campaigns on and spend someone else’s money!

Nov 17
2008
Back in November of 2006, our friends at GA Experts posted a method to get detailed PPC keyword data from Google Analytics. This method involved creating a seperate profile and using some intimidating but powerful filters. I really liked and referenced this method because it isolated the changes to a single profile and didn’t involve any updates to the GA tracking code. Obviously I would prefer if this feature came built-in to GA but at least now you could get to some very useful data with very little work. Lots of keywords!

As Google Analytics was updated over time, the way the filters were using Custom Field 1 was no longer possible and so the profile broke. The smart folks over at ROI Revolution came up with another way to get to the exact PPC keyword data using the User Defined field and adding 2 lines to the GA tracking code. This was a great solution and probably suitable for a lot of people. However, I preferred not having to update the tracking code (this can be very difficult on some client sites), saving the User Defined field for other uses, and also being able to isolate the keyword extraction and concatenation to one profile.

I still see some blogs referring to the original method that doesn’t work anymore so one day I tried playing with the original filters approach and after 2 months of observing the data, it appears to be working correctly. Please follow these screenshots & instructions to give it a try for yourself.

Filter 1 – look at only paid traffic data.

  1. From your account, click on Filter Manager.
  2. Click on Add Filter.
  3. Give it a name such as Data Filter – PPC.
  4. Filter type is custom filter.
  5. Select on the Include option.
  6. The filter field should be Campaign Medium.
  7. The filter pattern can be cpc|ppc
  8. Click on Save Changes.

PPC Keywords Filter 1

Filter 2 – extract the actual keyword that was typed and concatenate it to the paid keyword that was matched.

  1. Assuming you are still in the Filter Manager, click on Add Filter.
  2. Give it a name such as Data Filter – PPC Keywords.
  3. Filter type is custom filter.
  4. Select the Advanced option.
  5. Field A -> Extract A should be set to Referral and the value needs to be (\?|&)(q|p|query)=([^&]*)
  6. Field B -> Extract B should be set to Campaign Term and the value needs to be (.*)
  7. Output -> Constructor should be set to Campaign Term and the value needs to be $B1 – ($A3)
  8. Field A required, Field B required, and Override Output Field all need to be set to Yes.

Please click on the screenshot to view the full version.

PPC Keywords Filter 2

Finally create a new profile with a name such as PPC Keywords Data and all your usual settings (default page, search settings, goals, etc). Make sure you apply these two new filters to it.

This method seems to work for Google, Yahoo, and MSN paid traffic. Below is a screenshot with sample results. Let me know if it works for you!

Result of PPC Keywords filters

Sep 23
2008

At a recent speaking engagement on analytics, I was asked some questions on what appears to be discrepancies between search marketing platforms (such as Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing) and the data in the Google Analytics. I didn’t get a chance to answer these questions in details but here are some pointers on where to start your investigation!

In Adwords, ensure that your “auto-tagging” feature is enabled under account preferences.

Ensure proper URL tagging for all your PPC traffic. A useful tool to help you set up your URL tags is the Google URL builder. For tips on tagging Yahoo Search Marketing campaigns and MSN adCenter PPC campaign, check our earlier post.

Another area where problems may occur is URL redirects. Check our earlier post on this subject for more details.
So assuming you have turned on auto-tagging or your URLs are manually tagged, you will still see a discrepancy but don’t panic! Some Google Analytics help posts come to the rescue and explain why your “click” and “visit” numbers won’t match :( .
http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=57164
http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=55610&ctx=sibling
http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=63917&ctx=sibling

Click on the the following thumbnail to view the full screenshot. It shows Adwords clicks and Google Analytics visits.
Adwords clicks vs GA visits

Now you have something to go back to your customer with (if you are a consultant) or to your boss (if you are an in-house analyst) and let them that the culprit wasn’t you. It isn’t Adwords, it isn’t Google Analytics, it is just how things are when looking at data from two different systems. Instead, we want to examine trends and not just absolute numbers (easier said than done :) ).

Aug 22
2008

Strategy, Techniques, and Track it all with Google Analytics

So you are the resident pay-per-click (PPC) guru, you have your campaigns running in Google Adwords, your metrics are looking good, your cost per acquisition is looking great, your post-click metrics in Google Analytics are just shining, and your return on your marketing spend is just outstanding. Your boss, or your client if you are an online marketing agency, says: “bring me more (and dangling the promotion/bonus carrot)!” And being the good sport you are, you say with confidence, “of course!”

You know Google is king when it comes to traffic volume, but you more or less exhausted your creative ideas to drive additional traffic through Adwords – what do you do? It is now time to explore other search engines, Yahoo! Search Marketing, MSN adCenter, and maybe some vertical or secondary search engines.

In this blog post, I’ll cover some PPC implementation techniques to optimize your paid search marketing across multiple search engines, especially Google Adwords and MSN adCenter, while ensuring your PPC post-click metrics are properly tracked in Google Analytics.

The process of transferring campaigns from one search engine to another can be very time consuming and tiring, especially when you have a big account with a large number of campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. A frequent problem popping up on the web these days is the ability to transferring campaigns from your Google Adwords account into your MSN adCenter account. In this post I hope to to answer this question and a little more.

  • We first advise that you optimize your campaigns in Google Adwords, allowing enough time for testing different ad variations, adding relevant and negative keywords, and applying other PPC optimization techniques. You can even go further and test few landing pages and pick the best performing ones. When you feel satisfied with the performance in Google Adwords, you can now start planning to migrate them into your MSN adCenter account.
  • You need to create and run an ad performance report in Adwords to get the needed information to transfer into your adCenter account. Our friends at Affiliate-Blog have came up with a clean and straightforward way to create this report and transfer it into your adCenter account.

Adding the campaigns in adCenter is one thing, but to be able to see campaign data and more in Google Analytics requires a little more work. It is time to tag those URLs! Here are few tips that will help you tag your URLs properly so that the data shows up in a clear and consistent manner. You can use the Google URL builder to create custom tags for your adCenter destination URLs.

Here is a list of the elements you needs to tag.

  1. Campaign Source: msn
  2. Campaign Medium: cpc
  3. Campaign Term: {QueryString}
    Adding this parameter will allow you to track all your keywords in Google Analytics without having to type each keyword manually.
  4. Campaign Content: (used to differentiate ads)
  5. Campaign Name: (whatever the campaign name is)

Example:

http://www.domain.com/?utm_source_=adcenter&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=mykeyword&utm_content=variation1&utm_campaign=campaign1

For more details, check out this article written by our friends at PPC Hero

Few Suggestions:

  • I recommend you use a unique naming convention to make it easier for you to identify your adCenter campaigns in Google Analytics reports. For example, I want to set up a campaign to market E-nor’s Google Analytics services. In Google Adwords, the campaign name can be g_GAServices and for an adCenter campaign you can name it m_GAServices. Using this naming convention will make it very easy for you to visually identify which PPC system the campaign belongs to.
  • I would recommend you import one campaign to adCenter and allow enough time to test it. Check the results in GA to make sure your URL tagging was thorough. If everything goes smoothly, then start transferring the rest of the campaigns after following the same steps we mentioned earlier.

Have a great day transferring and tagging your campaigns! ;-)