How to track and monitor Google adwords so that you spend less!

downloadI am very often confronted by dental practices in a daze as to how much they are spending on Pay per Click (PPC) campaigns on both Google and Facebook, common questions include:

  • How can I spend less?
  • How do I know if what I’m spending is the right amount?
  • How do I know if it is worth spending anything at all?

I’m the first to admit that I am not a PPC specialist, if practices want complex campaigns then I will refer them on, however, what I am particularly interested in is monitoring and tracking everything that happens online. This is one of the reasons I love online marketing, it becomes far more trackable which means it can be far more focused.

This information about PPC is going to be spread over two blog posts, each of these posts will give you something specific to do, if you take action you will find that you can begin to spend less on this most costly of pursuits!

The Golden Rule of PPC

The golden rule of spending less on PPC is tracking. The next golden rule, after you have dealt with tracking is tracking. Once you finally have tracking in place, you can then move on to tracking even more. Get the picture?

In other words, I track… and I do that in three specific ways:

  • Source
  • Medium
  • Campaign

The first assumption I need to make is that you have a Google analytics account created on your website, this will show you where people have come from, what they have done and how long they spend on the site. Google analytics is a vital factor in tracking your PPC. If you don’t have Google analytics on your website you need to do that now.

Tracking PPC Source

Your PPC source will be Facebook, Google, Bing and the like. If you track the source of your campaign you will be able to see in Google analytics which one of these sources is working best, you will be able to see if Facebook, Google or Bing are sending traffic, what they do and how long they spend on the site.

Tracking the source is very simple, simply add ?utm_source=Facebook to the end of your web address when either Facebook or Google asks you which webpage you want to direct traffic to e.g. www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Facebook I will come onto where this will appear in Google analytics later.

Tracking PPC Medium

Clearly, people may visit your website from Facebook in a variety of ways, they may have just clicked on a link that someone put their, or visited your website via your Facebook page. In order to track the PPC element of a Facebook visit, you need to add ?utm_medium=PPC to the end of your website address.

We are now tracking two elements, the source of the web visitor and the medium, so your web address that your place in your advert will now look like this www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=PPC

Tracking the campaign

We now know that someone visited your website from Facebook, via a PPC advert… But which campaign? Adding additional information in the format above helps us as follows.

Simply continue with the tracking code by adding &utm_campaign=Implants Your web address will now look like www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=Implants.


In the example above we are allocating the source as Facebook, the medium as PPC and a campaign as implants.

If we were to run a similar PPC campaign for dental implants on Google we would simply alter the code as follows: 

www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=Implants

And if we were to continue our dental implants PPC campaign onto Bing we would use the following web address for our Bing advert:

www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Bing&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=Implants.

Some practical examples

Let’s say you wanted to run a PPC campaign on Facebook and Google for orthodontics, you give the same budget to each of the campaigns, you now want to know which one is most effective.

You would create your adverts on Facebook and Google, in the section that asks you for the web address that you wish to direct visitors to you would type the following:

  • Facebook – www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=orthodontics
  • Google – www.yourwebsite.com?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=orthodontics

As you can see from the tracking code added to the website, the medium and campaign have remained the same (it is a PPC project and it is falling within your orthodontics campaign), the only thing that we have changed is the source.

Tracking in Google analytics

Now we move over to your Google analytics to see what is happening. If you open your Google analytics account and look at Acquisition > Source/medium you will now see the following appear.
Screenshot 2016-03-07 16.14.11

As you can see, we can now clearly tell the source and medium of the people have visited the website. Facebook/PPC and Adwords/PPC (Google) are now clearly visible.

Tracking campaigns.

Tracking the individual source is important, but so is tracking the overall campaign. Let’s say you are offering free consultations for orthodontics, facial aesthetics and dental implants, you may want to know which of these campaigns (regardless of where they have come from) is working best.

If you visit the campaigns section in Google analytics, this will now also be visible.

Campaign management in Google analytics

All Google analytics is doing is filtering by the various tags you have ended to the end of the website address.

It makes for a very simple way of tracking these campaigns.

Other uses for tracking

You may decide that you are going to use a new piece of social media software called “BORG”, You are going to be using the software to post links to your website in various social media accountsIf and you want to know if the software is doing its job and sending people to your website.

You’re going to be posting to Twitter and Facebook using the software and running two campaigns, one on facial aesthetics and another on orthodontics.

You would set up the tracking as follows:

First campaign on Facial aesthetics

  1. ?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=BORG&utm_campaign=facial
  2. ?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=BORG&utm_campaign=facial

Second campaign on orthodontics

  1. ?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=BORG&utm_campaign=ortho
  2. ?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=BORG&utm_campaign=ortho

You can now track overall how successful the software is by looking at the medium in your analytics ~ BORG, you can track whether Facebook or Twitter are working better for each campaign and you can see which campaign works best, either facial aesthetics or orthodontics.

It does take a little bit of time to get to grips with using this, many of the PPC platforms now include easy ways of tracking, for me, using the above technique forms an easy way of simply adding a little line of code to the end of your web address and it’s all done for you.

In the next blog post we will take a deeper look at analytics and how you can work out if people from each of these sources, mediums or campaigns has actually taken action on your website, watch out for that blog post soon.

Are you using tracking? If so, which technique you prefer?

 

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