How To Track and Measure Adwords Success

Using Woopra - April 18th, 2014 by Natalie Issa.

woopra-adwordsMeasuring Adwords conversion success is part art, part science. But it all starts with analytics.

They key to measuring adwords effectiveness is making sure you’re tracking your campaigns correctly to begin with. It’s true you can’t improve what you don’t measure, but you can’t measure what you don’t track.

Here’s how to get started.

Tag URLs Properly

1. Choose a tag system

The first thing you will need to do is tag your campaign URLs so that when someone clicks on your ad, certain pieces of data will be sent to your analytics system.

There are two types of campaign tags you can use: utm or woo. The utm tags are what you may already be using in Google Analytics, while the woo tags are Woopra’s version of campaign tags. The good news is that Woopra will recognize both utm and woo tags, so you can use either one. However, there are certain advantages that only woo tags offer – we’ll talk about this more later.

Another option is to simply enable auto-tagging in Adwords. This will automatically append all the utm campaign tags for you. The nice thing about this is that it’s obviously much easier, but the downside is that you don’t have as much control.

2. Add campaign tags to URLs

Campaign tracking works by identifying tags stored in the URLs of your campaign landing pages. Normally when a visitor clicks a link to your site, they just go to:

http://www.yourwebsite.com

The problem with this is it doesn’t really tell you or your analytics much about how the visitor got to your site. Campaign tracking works by appending information to the end of the link so that your analytics can see which campaign the visitor clicked on to get to your site.

An example tag for “campaign” would look like this:

http://www.yourwebsite.com/?woo_campaign=webinar

When Woopra sees this information, it automatically categorizes that activity with the campaign named “webinar”.

There are five types of tags that you can track:

  1. woo_campaign or utm_campaign: This is the name of the campaign
  2. woo_source or utm_source: This is where the ad was displayed or the ad network, such as Google in the case of Adwords
  3. woo_medium or utm_medium: This is a more general category for the ad, such as CPC or retargeting
  4. woo_content or utm_content: This describes the content of the ad and can be useful when trying to distinguish between two similar ads
  5. woo_term or utm_term: This tracks the keyword purchased for the ads and is perhaps the most important tag for measuring your Adwords campaigns

Here’s an example campaign URL with Woopra tags. This URL represents an Adwords ad that appeared on Google, was named “promo”, and where we are dynamically tracking what keyword the user searched for when they viewed the ad:

http://www.yourwebsite.com/?woo_campaign=promo&woo_source=google&woo_term={keyword}

In this example:

  • Campaign name is “promo”
  • Campaign source is “google”
  • Campaign term or keyword is being tracked

Notice how woo_term looks different than the other two tags. This is because it is dynamic, which means we are not defining it beforehand. Rather, we are telling the system to track what keyword the person searched for and then send us that data.

So, whether the person searched for “accounting software” or “bookkeeping software” , the keyword will be sent to your analytics system so that you can track it. This is how we will be able to measure which keywords bring us the best converting users.

3. Hide campaign tags

Remember how we said there were advantages to woo tags not available with utm tags? Let’s go back to that.

When a person clicks on your ad, they will see the tags you’ve place in your URL, like in the example URL above. For that reason, we’ve made it possible to hide your woo campaign tags. When the tags are hidden, the user will see only your normal URL.

It’s a good practice to hide campaign tags for several reasons:

  • It’s a cleaner look for your brand
  • If a user refreshes a page, the Adwords click won’t be recorded twice like it is when tags are not hidden
  • If a user wants to share your URL, they won’t share the URL with tags, which will cause the other person’s click to be inaccurately attributed to Adwords

This is an optional step, but something we highly recommend for accuracy and branding purposes.

For more information on hiding woo tags or further detail on URL tagging, please see our campaign tracking documentation.

Measure Your Adwords Funnel

Now that you’ve tagged your campaign URLs properly, it’s time to measure your Adwords performance. There are many reports you can use to measure different results, but our favorite is the Funnel Analytics report.

Funnel Reports help you understand where users drop off on the path to conversion. With Adwords, you can compare how well different campaigns or keywords convert users so that you know where to invest.

Let’s take a look at a Funnel Report that compares keywords used in our Adwords campaign:

Adwords Keyword Funnel

Here we see that the first keyword “accounting software” and the third keyword “saas accounting” convert the best, at 39.0% and 39.9%, respectively. On the other hand, the second keyword “bookkeeping software” is underperforming at 25.2% when compared to the average, which is 37.6%. From this initial observation, we might conclude that we should invest more on the keywords “accounting software” and “saas accounting” and less on “bookkeeping software”.

This report was only possible because we properly tracked the keywords dynamically. It’s one example of how you can measure Adwords success.

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