Tips for using Google Analytics to track your off-line marketing

If you advertise in print, on radio or TV how do you tell which hits were generated by which advert?

E-commerce retailers often include a discount code that enables them to identify which advert to attribute a sale to.

However, not all sites sell direct to the public and this doesn’t identify the visitors who came, saw and decided not to buy. And knowing that people are interested enough to visit but fall short of purchasing is important information that can be used to help increase the conversion rate.

Vanity URL’s

A vanity URL is simply a URL that points to your website.

Businesses often create vanity URLs for each of their products. They don’t go to the effort and expense of building individual websites for each product. Instead they redirect the URL to the companies home page or a webpage dedicated to that product on the companies website.

The important point is to only use these vanity URLs in off-line advertising so that you know the visitor must have seen the off-line advert.

For these visits to be identifiable in Google Analytics the trick is to setup the redirects using campaign tagging. Like this:

www.mycompany.com?&utm_campaign=off+line&utm_source=myproduct.co.uk&utm_medium=url+redirect

The utm_campaign, utm_medium and utm_source values will show up in GA reports such as the AcquisitionAll TrafficSource/Medium report clearing identifying the traffic that came via the vanity URL.

Landing Pages

Another technique is to create dedicated landing pages with easy to remember and type in names on your website such as:

www.mycompany/garden

If there is no other link to this page, you know that all the visitors must have seen or heard the advert and typed in the full URL.