Using Google Analytics Profiles to Model Your Funnel in Salesforce

Google Analytics is a great tool for understanding the top of your online marketing funnel (web site visitors). But did you know you can easily highlight different segments of that funnel, by creating multiple Google Analytics Profiles?

Google Analytics Profiles (in the process of being renamed to Views in the documentation, but not in the app yet) are customizable layers between the reporting and the raw data that is collected. By creating multiple profiles for a single property (web site), you can focus on particular areas of your web site analytics, and more closely relate that to particular marketing efforts that affect your funnel, leads in Salesforce, and more.

Before we jump in, a best-practices note: Google Analytics automatically creates a default profile that is an unfiltered view of each property (web site). You should not modify this original profile, but make a copy of it or create additional profiles to add filters to — because filters exclude data, you want to always have at least one profile with all of your raw analytics data.

Some Google Analytics Profiles I created for CloudAmp.com

Some Google Analytics Profiles I created for CloudAmp.com

Use Case 1: A Section of Your Web Site

One of the most common uses of Google Analytics Profiles is to create a filtered version of your web analytics that only shows a section of your web site. You can easily create profiles that only show a particular subdomain or directory of your web site, to get more specific visibility into your marketing efforts.

Maybe you work at a large company, and are only responsible for a particular section of the web site or product line. Creating a profile for that directory of the web site will better reflect your marketing efforts, and insulate the reports you see from other product launches or events that might affect the larger site trends.

In addition, many marketers use landing pages for their Google Adwords and other online advertising destination URLs (and if you don’t, please consider doing this immediately!). By creating a Google Analytics profile filtered to /land/ (or whatever directory on your web site holds the landing pages), you can see just the visitors and analytics for these pages, and get a more accurate understanding of trends and conversion rates into Salesforce leads.

A Profile with a Filter only showing analytics for the /products/ directory on CloudAmp.com

A Profile with a Filter only showing analytics for the /products/ directory on CloudAmp.com

Use Case 2: Geographical Focus

In the age of the Internet, many businesses are selling globally, or at least in a number of countries. But if you want to see your web analytics data just for a particular country or set of countries, you can easily create a Google Analytics Profile and filter it for those countries.You can also create a profile that excludes certain countries.

Maybe you are running a new advertising campaign in a particular geography and want to better understand its impact, or you want to exclude traffic from countries where you don’t sell your products in the analysis of conversion from a blog content effort.

A Profile with a Filter only showing analytics for visitors from Canada on CloudAmp.com

A Profile with a Filter only showing analytics for visitors from Canada on CloudAmp.com

How does this all relate to the funnel in Salesforce? Well, many successful online marketers are using Salesforce as the CRM system to hold their lead data and manage their marketing funnel. As Salesforce becomes the standard for managing your marketing and sales funnels, marketers want to get more visibility into what happens just before the leads get into Salesforce — and Google Analytics, with multiple profiles to segment the funnel, is the key there.

Plus, here at CloudAmp we’ve published an app on the Salesforce AppExchange that automatically integrates and imports Google Analytics data into Salesforce called CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards. And coming soon in our next version, you are going to be able to import multiple Google Analytics profiles into Salesforce, and get a set of dashboards and reports for each individual profile. You can try it free for 7 days, it takes just a minute to install and connects to your Google Analytics data with the click of a button.

So there you have it – try creating some additional profiles with filters on your Google Analytics data today, and get a better understanding of different parts of your marketing funnel tomorrow. Already doing cool things with Google Analytics Profiles? Have questions? Let us know in the comments below.

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6 Reasons You Need Web Tracking and Analytics Data in Salesforce

If you are doing online marketing and using Salesforce, chances are there is some important information missing from your Salesforce organization. Hopefully you are tracking your web site lead sources into Salesforce (if not, get on it here or read this now). But what about understanding your web site traffic, visitors, etc. directly inside Salesforce? Here are 6 things that you might be missing out on, or at least need to think about.

 

1. You Need to See the Big Picture

Web site traffic and visitors are the top of your inbound marketing funnel. For many marketers, and especially those of you spending a significant portion of your budget on Google Adwords and other online advertising, this is where most prospects first engage with your brand.

 conversion-funnel2

So how many people are on your web site, and where did they come from? You want to be able to see total web site traffic, and the breakdown of the different types of visitors by Campaign, Referral Source, right where all your other marketing and sales data lives — Salesforce. This is the top of your “funnel”, people on your web site, and understanding this big picture and up / down trends will keep you much more on top of how your marketing is performing. Many of us track our leads, but how many keep on top of the big picture and can see those who did not submit a form as well?

Seeing the top of the funnel in Salesforce not only makes this data more front and center, but also gives you the advantage of being able to compare it to trends in the rest of the funnel — how many leads are generated via web forms, how many of those leads convert, etc.

 

2. Your Conversion Rate Does Not Matter

This isn’t 100% true, it mainly makes a good heading. Target conversion rate matters somewhat, and we can all agree that achieving a 10% conversion rate is better than 5%. But there are some Internet businesses where 0.1% conversion is considered a job well done. Hence the dreaded question from the CEO or other executive, “What should our conversion rate be?”

As marketers, we know we should be measuring conversion rates at multiple points in our funnel. And the main way we are likely to be successful in “moving the needle” of sales and revenue is by making incremental improvements in these conversion rates at multiple places in that funnel (though we may still secretly hope for that one breakout campaign that just buries the Sales department in qualified leads). So the trend in the conversion rate is really more important to understand on a daily basis than the target (though less sexy).

ConversionRateDiagram

By having web analytics data in Salesforce to better model various conversion points (Web site vistor > Lead, Lead > Converted Lead, Converted Lead > Opportunity, Opportunity > Closed Won and all the Sales process stages in between that are specific to your company or industry), you get one more critical conversion point that is typically missing from Salesforce. And since positive or negative trends in conversion rates are generally more important to doing your daily job as a marketer, having trendlines of web site visitors alongside the leads in your dashboards can be very useful to monitor.

 

3. Your Web Site is Broken

And I don’t mean those javascript error alerts that no one understands, or Internet Explorer display issues the web developers refuse to fix out of religious protest. Even on the simplest web sites, downtime caused by hosting problems, issues created by new content, or some cutting edge new templating language that looks cool but won’t load properly for half your visitors can be hard to know about quickly enough.

You can get all of this data by logging into Google Analytics, but how many of us do that daily? If the data is in Salesforce, and nicely displayed in dashboards where trends are easier to see, you can be on top of the really big screwups that much faster and save yourself heartache and lost revenue. Even if your overall visitors don’t change too noticeably, seeing the bounce rate suddenly spike or page views per visitor fall precipitously could alert you to a potential problem.

 JSTrackingError

One side benefit, for those of us engaged in lots of online advertising, is that you can (hopefully) spot problems with tracking much quicker as well. When that new landing page goes live, and somehow the template got changed to not include your tracking code, having real-time visibility in Salesforce should let you catch it early (versus running a report at the end of the month and noticing something amiss then, when it is too late to get that tracking data back). 

 

4. Your Lead Data is Dirty

Really, whose isn’t? But this isn’t so much about duplicate leads and other garbage that has plagued almost every Salesforce instance in history ever (and CRM systems in general for decades before Salesforce.com came into existence, but those were harder to get data into generally). It is more about cleaning up your reporting to more accurately reflect the relationship between the top of your funnel (web site visitors) and leads.

 Salesforce Find Duplicates

Ideally, you want those spikes in web site traffic to parallel spikes in leads, both nicely tracking each other in Salesforce (though they don’t always, as discussed in #5 below). But when there is more divergence than normal, having the complete picture of the top of your funnel can prompt you to dig deeper.

Maybe your inbound lead reporting shouldn’t have those 1500 tradeshow leads that were just imported in the same graph. Or that new Sales Manger hire got clever and somehow imported his “rolodex” via CSV file. Time to set some filters in the reporting and keep the funnel and conversion rates accurately reflecting your online marketing efforts. 

 

5. Your Quantity is Increasing Over Quality

Sometimes you can’t blame that new Sales Manager or scanner-happy tradeshow booth staff for declines in data. As you ramp up online marketing efforts, the quality of your web site visitors (and possibly leads, though hopefully not) is bound to change.

 Salesforce Sales Funnel

Yet another reason why it is better to focus on the trend rather than an absolute number for conversion rates (see #2 above) — your conversion rates are bound to get worse when you pour on the gas with advertising, especially if your previous efforts were more organic such as blog posts and customer referrals. Conversion rates, bounce rates, pages/visitor all get worse when you start bringing in lots more people, since by definition you will need to widen the net.

So this means you need to keep careful track of both data on individual leads, as well as overall trends in traffic and conversion. Having all the top of the funnel data there in Salesforce alongside your lead tracking will help you do that. 

 

6. Your Boss Wants Pretty Reports

Finally, there is showing the boss what you are up to (also known as proving that your efforts are paying off, justifying your job, etc.). If your web site traffic and lead volume are spectacularly up and to the right, having all that data in Salesforce makes it easy to schedule a weekly or monthly email of the dashboard to people in your organization.

Or if an executive simply wants to see your web site traffic, it isn’t possible to have a nicely formatted email with graphs generated by Google Analytics, but if you have all the data in Salesforce that last step is pretty straightforward. Instead of a zipped CSV file from Google, or an Excel spreadsheet that you have to update by hand, they can receive a dashboard emailed from Salesforce, complete with all the graphs and charts, right in their inbox.

CampaignTrackerforGoogleAnalytics-Dashboard1-small

Lead Tracking 101: Understanding Advertising ROI in Salesforce

Most marketers know they need to track their leads, in order to understand which advertising, blogs or social media are sending them the best ones – the leads most likely to convert to customers, to show a positive return on investment (ROI) from advertising, to drive long term revenue.

Aside from all the different technological approaches available, such as building your own tracking mechanism or using a Salesforce application that tracks leads from your web site into Salesforce CRM, the large amounts of data collected can be a somewhat confusing experience.

 This post explores some of the different tracking data available, and more importantly what it all means. It is focused around Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and Salesforce terminology, though many of these definitions will apply to any online advertising.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” — Attributed to John Wanamaker, 1838-1922

 

Google Analytics Campaign Tags

 

Google Analytics Campaign tags are parameters that you add to any URLs pointing to your web site that you have control over. You may be familiar with web addresses (URLs) that have words like utm_campaign= and utm_source= after the main part of the URL and a question mark – these are the campaign tags.

Example:

http://www.MYSITE.com/?utm_campaign=Retarget&utm_medium=Banners&utm_source=Adroll

 When a visitor clicks on one of these tagged URLs, those values are associated with the visitor in Google Analytics, as well as in many lead tracking solutions for Salesforce (such as CloudAmp’s own Campaign Tracker). By capturing the Source, Medium, and Campaigns of traffic being sent your web site like in the example URL above, you can identify the most effective ways to driving more visitors to your website.

Most importantly, by capturing that data not just in your Google Analytics reports, but into Salesforce for each individual lead, you can follow how leads progress through your marketing funnel or sales process.

  • Do leads from that Source, Medium, or Campaign convert from leads into Accounts with Opportunities?

  • What percentage of Opportunities from a particular Source are Closed Won?

  • What is the average and total dollar value of deals, compared across Source, Medium or Campaigns?

  • How many dollars are spent on advertising per dollar of revenue, broken down by Source, Keyword, etc.?

These and many other questions can be answered by tagging your URLs and tracking those visitors all the way  into Salesforce as leads. 

AdwordsGraph

There are the five parameters that make up Google Analytics Campaign tags – utm_source,utm_medium, and utm_campaign should be used in all links, and for tracking additional information utm_term and utm_content can be optionally used.

  • utm_source: Identifies the advertiser, site, publication, etc. that is sending traffic to your property, e.g. google, yelp, newsletter4, billboard. The last place visited before reaching your site.

  • utm_medium: The advertising or marketing medium, e.g.: cpc, banner, email newsletter. The method used to arrive at the source.

  • utm_campaign: The individual campaign name, slogan, promo code, etc. for a product.

  • utm_term: Identify paid search keywords. If you’re manually tagging paid keyword campaigns (and you should be), use utm_term to specify the keyword.

  • utm_content: Used to differentiate similar content, or links within the same ad. For example, if you have two different text ads, you can use utm_content and set different values for each so you can tell which version is more effective.

I recommend getting into the habit of tagging ANY and ALL URLs that you control, not just for destination URLs in your Google Adwords ads and other online advertising, but for every link in your email newsletters, links you give to a partner, sponsorships, blog posts, even social media such as Twitter and Linkedin.

 GoogleAnalyticsCampaigns

Not only will this give you better data in Google Analytics and your Salesforce lead tracking, but as a significant bonus you will cut down on the number of untracked leads — when someone forwards an email, copies and pastes a link from Twitter, or reposts a blog post without changing the URLs, you will be able to track visitors from those newly generated referral sources back to the original campaign links.

 

Other Traffic Types

 

Google Analytics categorizes your web site visitors into 5 main types:

    • Campaign: Visitors who arrived at your site via Campaign tagged URLs.

    • Referral: Visitors who arrived at your site from other sites but who were not campaign tagged.

    • Direct: Visitors who arrived at your site by typing in your web address.

    • Search: Visitors who arrived at your site by searching in a search engine. This category is further broken down into:

  • Paid: Google Adwords, Microsoft Adcenter, or other advertising on a search engine

  • Organic: The visitor clicked on a regular result (not an ad) to get to your site

GoogleAnalyticsTrafficBreakdown

Many lead tracking software applications (including CloudAmp’s own Campaign Tracker) have followed this categorization, due to the widespread use of Google Analytics and the general familiarity of these terms. Still, there are a variety of different ways of categorizing web site visitors and leads, so you may see variations on these occasionally.

Referral vs Referral vs Referrer

Any traffic that isn’t Direct to your site (typed in a browser bar) is known as referral traffic. So most traffic – Campaign, Referral, and Organic / Paid Search – is considered Referral traffic.

However, Google Analytics (and lead tracking software that uses similar definitions) defines Referral traffic as any Referral traffic that is not otherwise tracked as Campaign or Organic traffic. If Campaign tags are used, or data from an organic search at a search engine is received, the traffic will be categorized as Campaign or Organic, rather than referral. This is mainly just for clarity in dividing the sources of traffic, so that there is no overlap in the numbers.

Just in case this isn’t confusing enough, there is also a concept of the Referrer in all web browsers, and this is recorded in Google Analytics and various tracking software. The Referrer is the last page that the visitor was on prior to an event (like submitting the web-to-lead form into Salesforce). So in some cases the Referrer will be the same as the site that sent the visitor to you, but in other cases it will simply be the previous page on your web site (for any visitor who clicks around multiple pages before submitting the form).

 

(not provided)

Beginning in late 2011, Google made a significant change and started encrypting the organic search keywords of any users who were logged into a Google service while searching Google. What does this mean?

It means that instead of sending the keywords from the referral like it did previously, Google started sending a meaningless string of characters for all visitors who were logged into a service like Gmail, Google +, or Google itself while searching and then clicking on an organic result. So what did this result in?

 GoogleNotProvided

Approximately 70% of Organic visitors from Google now show “(not provided)” as the keywords from their search, so you no longer can see what really sent them to your site. This percentage will vary depending on your audience and how much they use other Google services, but it is about the average we have been seeing.

Luckily, Yahoo and Bing have not followed suit, and still send the keyword information from the Organic search visitors they send to your site. And of course, if any of your visitors run a Paid Search on Google (Google Adwords), the keywords from those visits still come through fine whether the visitor was logged in to Google services or not.

 

Untracked

Sometimes visitors come to your web site and submit lead forms and are not tracked properly. It shouldn’t happen often, but it will happen.

On the Internet, nothing is 100%, the numbers never match exactly, and not everything will be tracked completely. While we’d like to track 100% of visitors in an ideal world, really the point of tracking is to make generalized decisions about what online marketing works and what does not, and optimize spend on things like Google Adwords, where sometimes keyword cost per click (CPC) rates can seem nonsensically high, but make perfect sense from an ROI perspective given the revenue generated.

 So what causes a lead to not be tracked? Some users may be using strange old web browsers, or have their browser security levels set so high that they don’t allow cookies or javascript (two things necessary to most tracking technology, as well as required for most web sites to work properly).

For most other situations however, the reliability of cookie-based tracking is pretty good. If there are technical problems, they are more likely due to either the visitors settings or a failure of the tracking mechanisms that read the cookie, rather than the cookie placed at the time of the visitors click.



In conclusion, there is a lot of terminology around tracking and how to break down the types of visitors who come to your site (and hopefully become leads). As you start to build up data from tracked leads inside Salesforce, you will run across many of the values above. So hopefully this has been helpful — feel free to leave questions / comments below, and above all else, start tracking your leads today!

CloudAmp Update: New App, New Focus, New Sister Company

New App

CloudAmp’s first App, the Google Analytics Campaign Tracker, launched this week on the Salesforce AppExchange.
Google Analytics Campaign Tracker Dashboard
This simple app shows you where your best leads are coming from, by capturing referral URLs when your web site visitors submit a form. Plus you get a preconfigured dashboard and analytics. Check it out >

New Focus

If I haven’t tried to pitch you recently, in 2012 CloudAmp refocused around the Salesforce ecosystem.

In addition to working on several applications for the Salesforce AppExchange, I’ve been doing a fair bit of consulting, focused on helping Startups use Salesforce CRM to manage their lead funnel, sales processes, and generally make sense of high volumes of inbound inquiries.

Selected CloudAmp Customers
I’ve had a lot of fun working with customers like Iron.ioHeyoTrigger.ioZeroCater, and more. If you know of any early stage companies who could use advice on Salesforce and sales processes, I would appreciate your referrals.  More on our Customers > 

New Sister Company

Just to keep things interesting, in September of this year a friend and I established a new company called AppFrontier, and acquired the established payment processing application Chargent from its developer.
Chargent by AppFrontier
Chargent enables you to instantly charge credit cards directly from inside Salesforce, on a one-time or recurring basis, with no 3rd party integration or terminals required.

With an established customer base of small businesses and nonprofits, we are finding lots of uses for payment processing embedded right inside of opportunities in Salesforce. Visit AppFrontier.com Now >

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