So if you have been reading this blog for any amount of time you know that in the last quarter of 2008 I made the Higher Education conference circuit presenting at HighEdWeb, Stamats, and Case V. At each of those conferences I presented on the subject of Web Analytics. As I told people at each conference there are so many other great presentations going on there really is no reason to come to mine because everything that I’m going over is posted on this blog. Part of the presentation was was teaching how Google’s URL Builder works along with tracking offline campaigns and in doing so I used the presentation as a case study in itself. So on many slides I had shortened URL’s that 301 redirected to the appropriate post with more information about what I was talking about.
It is time to share some interesting results and hopefully you can take this practical example away with how you can track multiple sources in a campaign including offline sources.
Setting Up Offline Campaign Example
Each presentation basically went over the same information and included many of the same slides with modifications trying to speak more specifically to each audience. As I mentioned many of the slides had shortened URL’s linking back to content on the blog. The difference being depending on which conference I changed the vanity URL. Vanity URL being the short URL that is easier for someone to type instead of the whole link to a post. So for example when discussing Google Analytics filters I used the following three URL’s depending on the conference:
In this example, each URL takes the visitor to the same Google Analytics Filters post except attaching different tracking source for each of the different conferences (note: I kept campaign and medium the same). So being able to setup 301 redirects on these short URL’s with tracking code to the same post I could effectively test which landing pages (aka blog post) people visited the most and which source (aka conference) sent the traffic to the site.
Results of Presentation Tracking
Keep in mind this isn’t an exact science and there will always be visitors who will come to the site then search for what they want, but it does give us a significant sample of user behavior from the various venues. So let’s look at some results. Keep in mind I’m using Google Analytics here and applying advanced segmentation to look at my various tagged sources from a campaign page.
Now the other metric is looking at landing pages to try and figure out which subject users were most interested. This came out a little sloppy in the reporting as 41% were directed to the homepage and this not even being a link I created shows the imperfect nature of this data. Despite this the top three pages were:
Some of the posts showing up in the data weren’t even written when the presentations were given so I have to question the accuracy of the data a little bit. The point with this kind of data is we have to look at the trends and realize that some data is better than no data when trying to make an educated guess on what happened.
Hopefully if you aren’t using destination URL’s to track your offline campaigns this example is something you can take away and apply going forward.
So how are you using destination URL’s to track your offline campaigns?