By Ariele McWhinney
Mar 28, 2012
More Articles by Ariele
In my last post, I gave a few tips and tricks for preparing for and taking the Google Analytics Certification exam. But why take it? I am in Analytics every day tracking clients’ performance, but I really only use a few key features on a daily basis. Getting the certification opened my eyes to many other ways I could be taking advantage of this great tool.
As a search engine marketer, I am constantly looking for ways I can learn and improve my knowledge of clients’ SEM efforts. Google’s preparation lessons, alone, increased my Analytics knowledge immensely.
In addition to new performance features, I learned the nitty-gritty of Analytics tracking and AdWords linking. These two things are so important to understand because without the proper code, code placement, or AdWords linkage, your tracking and data could be distorted.
This allows you to tag and track non-AdWords digital assets so they do not appear as coming from a “referral.” Say you were running an e-mail marketing campaign promoting buy one get one pairs of shoes. You could track the effectiveness of that e-mail on that promotion. Your link would look something like this:
You can also add the attributes utm_term and utm_content.
If you find this task of manually creating tags a bit daunting, Google has a manual URL builder in the Analytics Help Center.
This report is a valuable tool in determining whether visitors ended up on the intended page, such as a purchase page, and whether your landing page is doing its job. In the Landing Pages report of Analytics you can choose a starting page and then see which pages visitors viewed second and which they exited from.
Does your site have multiple domains or subdomains, such as to a third-party shopping cart? Using exclusively first-party cookies, Google Analytics needs a way to share these cookies across domains. Accurate tracking across these domains is not a problem with the link method. The first step is to add tracking code to all pages of each domain site. The second step is to add the _link() method to all link URLs between the two domains. Voila! Now the user can be tracked as the same visitor across domains. Learn more about this here.
Not only can Google Analytics make your life easier, but you can explore and find more granular information for your clients than you thought possible. I highly recommend the certification, if only to learn about many of these hidden features. Once again, good luck!