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Posted by John Strykowski

September 25, 2015


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Marketing Attribution Data Without the Attribution Hassle

What if you could look at the traffic for all your visitors? Specifically, how it relates to a particular campaign? It stands to reason you could gain a lot of insight from that data. The good news is it’s actually quite simple and I’ll show you how to make that happen but first let’s consider the “why.”

Google Analytics View by Campaign

As marketers, the reason we care so much about attribution is that we’re hoping to discover the particular driver or drivers that led our visitors to convert. Here’s an example. Let’s imagine we figured out that a noticeably large percentage of visitors driven by a particular campaign to our site, who started their visit on a particular landing page, converted often. That would be a particularly valuable insight we could use to further optimize that particular landing page and fine-tune our follow up campaigns against a high leverage point and maximize ROI. Et cetera, et cetera. I’m of course simplifying things but my point is meant to exemplify how analytics-driven knowledge can be used to hone our resources and spend less time and effort on areas with less return potential.

Now let’s backtrack for a moment. Attribution, specifically multi-touch point attribution, is the practice of allocating credits to the various drivers that led visitors to your digital content and ultimately to convert. That is to say, to accomplish the tasks we want them to accomplish when they visit us.

It’s a topic that’s as important as it is complex and at this point in time, more of an art than an exact science. Industry leaders are still debating over the specific statistical models to use or how to analyze the collected data. Standards for measurements have yet to be established. A lot of organizations, once they’ve opted for an analytics solution, simply use a trial and error approach to figure out what works best for them in terms of attribution models, best practices, best methods for integrating online and offline knowledge, and so forth.

The bad news is that this blog post isn’t your Rosetta stone to cracking the attribution code. The good news is, I will show you a method to implement a simple approach to a more holistic view of your marketing drivers. Essentially, while everybody’s busy looking for the smallest number of touch-points with the highest rate of return on investment, which is definitely a good idea, I will show you how to set up a view in GA showing you only traffic for one or a few campaigns. It’s really more a concept than a technical feat. In fact, I’m guessing that anyone with intermediate GA skills is capable of figuring out what I’m about to explain by simply reading the last paragraph. It’s that simple. You might not have thought of it before, that’s all.

Create the view

Now that we’ve chatted about the why, let’s get down to business.

We’re going to create a new view and we’re going to set up a filter for that view that filters out any traffic not from the campaign we want to analyze. Let’s start with the view first. If you don’t know how to create a new view, here’s some information you might find useful.

Although governance is a bit out of scope with this article, please keep in mind that unless you’re working with a premium GA account, there’s a limit of 25 views per web property. Setting up a test is a no brainer from an Admin management perspective but once you want to integrate this methodology into your existing campaign management process (if you don’t have one, you should implement one, all the cool kids are doing it) you will need to plan ahead and figure out how to best track your campaigns while considering the number of campaigns your organization concurrently runs on average and the number of views you have available to you. A simple trick is to repurpose. Campaigns usually have a finite lifespan, which means that a view can be used for a new campaign once the campaign it was used for, is retired.

Create the filter

In the Admin tab, create a new filter, either in the Account section or in the View section after selecting the view you just created. The only difference is that in the Account section you can immediately assign the filter to more than one view from within the Filter edit tab.

Once you’re in the Add Filter to View tab, which is essentially filter edit mode, give it a name, select the Custom Filter Type and in the field drop-down, select Campaign Name. You’ll notice that all the other campaign attributes are also present in this drop-down menu. And that’s cool. That means you don’t necessarily have to be so granular as to use a campaign name in the filter. Once you’ve selected the filter field, use the Filter Pattern to name the campaign. You can use a regular expression, the full name of a campaign or just a partial name without needing any particular RegEx syntax. So if your campaign is called Godley Coffee and Crème, you can just type Godley for example.

If you’re in the account section, it’s time to assign the filter to the appropriate view. Otherwise, the filter’s already assigned to the view you’re in. Afterwards you can verify the syntax you used in the Filter Pattern against past traffic if that applies, by clicking on the Verify this filter link, at the bottom of the page.

And we’re all done and good to go. You now have a view entirely dedicated to the campaign you just configured the filter for. That means that all the reports only show data where the visit was driven by that campaign. Keep in mind campaign traffic can take up to 48 hours to find its way to your reports. We hope you found this article useful. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments.

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