Tracking your referral sources accurately in Google Analytics is a big deal.
As the marketing person for a resort, you may increasingly rely upon the reporting that Google gives you to evaluate how your marketing efforts are working.
The problem with relying upon referral reports in Google Analytics is that:
- Some or all of the data gets lost (Twitter can have this problem).
- The referral website actually has several websites and your traffic gets spread around so it be hard to calculate.
- The referral website has a paid and free component (like LinkedIn and Facebook) where your fee-based advertising gets lumped into the free version.
- You are doing email marketing and the emails aren’t being tracked.
- You are not tracking your 301 redirects or domain forwarding usage.
My favorite tool to solve this problem is the Google Analytics URL Builder which quickly and easily appends “campaign” data the URL I use in some of my (Blizzard Internet) specific advertising campaigns.
So, for my LinkedIn Pay-Per-Click campaign aimed at Hotels… and specifically, the ad where I offer a consultation plan would look like this:
This ad would send traffic to this landing page URL:
The URLs create great “campaign” level reporting for all the places I am spending time and money advertsing in.
Here is a screenshot of the tool used the above example: