Google Analytics: Tracking the Elusive Data of Bing Ads

By Heidi Smith | Aug 16, 2013
More Articles by Heidi

Tracking Bing AdsIn digital marketing, Google and its advertising counterpart Google AdWords seem to rule the world. While a lot of the time that may be true, a fair amount of our clients also utilize Microsoft’s Bing Ads to gain additional leads and to ensure they aren’t putting all their eggs in Google’s proverbial basket.

It is great to advertise on Bing (or other media platforms for that matter) but it can be a challenge to get insightful data and reporting in Google Analytics. If you’re using Bing Ads for your pay-per-click advertising efforts, you may have realized that all of your Bing traffic in Google Analytics is lumped into the Bing organic report. Don’t worry: there is a way to gain more insight into your Bing performance (and any other non-Google ad platform performance) by simply implementing URL parameters.

Tracking Levels

To get started, determine if you want to track at the ad level or the keyword level. Tracking at the ad level is usually best for larger campaigns with a lot of keywords, or for accounts with many campaigns. If you have a smaller number of campaigns or a smaller amount of keywords within each campaign, you may want to take the time to implement custom parameters at the keyword level. Before you add granular level tracking, make sure you have included your source and medium parameters on your destination URLs.

Source Tracking

You have to make sure you are tracking the initial source of your lead – this could be Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. All you need to do is add ?utm_source= to your URL. If you were tracking Bing data, it would be ?utm_source=Bing.

Medium Tracking

The second parameter to include is medium. This could be “post” for a blog post, “cpc” for your paid search or another medium you are using for advertising to stay consistent with the way Analytics labels paid search for Google. For example, your PPC efforts could be assigned the medium parameter &utm_medium=cpc.

Ad Level Tracking

For ad level tracking, you need to add &utm_content=Ad%20One, &utm_content=Ad%20Two (and so on) to your ad destination URLs. Make sure you are using a content parameter that allows you to easily identify within Analytics what ad the parameter is for and to also assign a different parameter for each ad.

Keyword Level Tracking

For keyword-level tracking, you simply add &utm_term=Enter%20Keyword%20Here to your URL string. For example, if your keyword was “search engine optimization,” the parameter would be &utm_term=search%20engine%20optimization. If you don’t already have keyword destination URL’s implemented, you can use &utm_term={Keyword} instead – this allows the keyword to be automatically inserted within the URL after a searcher clicks on your ad and can also be a great time-saver.

URL Builder Tool

Once you’ve determined at what level you want to implement custom parameters, you have to create each URL string. The simplest and most time-effective way to create destination URLs with custom parameters is to use the Google Analytics URL Tool Builder. This helpful tool follows a step-by-step process that allows you to create your customized URLs with the click of a button (and a little prior research into your account).

Google Analytics URL Builder Tool

Simply enter in your campaign information, hit Submit and the entire custom parameter for your destination URL will be created for you. You can always create this manually as well, but the tool may save you a little bit of time. Below you can see the full URL string:

search mojo url string

Using the URL Builder Tool is a great way to have the destination URLs formatted for you correctly (and without human error), and  implemented within your account quickly so you can begin tracking exactly where your leads are coming from within Google Analytics.

Keep in mind, while this post focuses on Bing, you can utilize custom parameters for other sources as well, including Facebook and LinkedIn.

Do you use custom parameters to help track Bing or other sources in Google Analytics? Give me a shout out on Twitter and share with me your successes and failures!

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