The Well Tracked Digital Campaign – Intro and Display Tagging

Campaigns today use multiple channels: emails, banners, paid search, search engine optimization, and social  all guiding potential customers to a great landing page.

However, at the end of the day it can be difficult to determine which channel performed better.  Add to that reports from several different sources, that don’t line up at all.

How can you determine the best spend for your campaigns?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could see the performance of all your campaign on a single dashboard?  And better yet see how you can improve your current and future marketing spend based on this dashboard?  Well you can – using Google Analytics you could look at a dashboard like this:

Campaign Dashboard - with Actionable Metrics

Conversion rate by channel, ad creative, placement websites – show you what’s working and what’s not with your campaigns.

(And if you want to up your game you could use attribution modeling in Google Analytics and get even better visualization dashboards with tools like Klipfolio or Tableau.)

To get to this dashboard Nirvana, you will need to capture all your marketing data in Google Analytics.

This series of posts will outline the steps to create a campaign using all the analytics best practices, this includes:

  • Banners,
  • Email,
  • Paid Search, and
  • Landing Pages

We will also include a link to a Google Analytics Dashboard to get you started!

URL Tagging Refresher

When ever you create links that are outside your website – typical examples are banners and emails – you can tag them to provide additional reporting information.

This information is:

  • Campaign name,
  • Medium – banner, email,
  • Content – name of a banner ad or link in an email, and
  • Source – the placement location for a banner or type of email.

(Keyword is also available – but it is typically not used for banners or emails unless you are paying for a keyword.)

link: URL Builder Tool

Tagging Banners

When tagging banners the following best practices will help you best understand how your campaigns are performing:

Campaign Name

Use a descriptive name that’s easy to read in your reports.  So “20% off Kayak Sale” is better than “5642-337B”.  Plan for future reporting.  If you are going to run the 20% off sale every year, quarter or month than include timing information – “20% off Kayak Sale – Feb 2016”. Now you can compare this campaign to your 2015 and future 2017 campaigns!


For banners, medium is pretty easy – for most cases we use “banner” or “display” use a medium that makes the most sense for your organization’s marketing vocabulary.  Keep in mind that Google Analytics default Display channel expects a medium of “display” or “cpm”.


This is where you can provide a lot of useful information.  You can tell the difference between ad variations – “Yellow Kayak” vs. “Red Kayak”.  You can also place the ad size in the content tag – so you now get this: “Yellow Kayak|728×90”; “Yellow Kayak|300×250” and “Yellow Kayak|160×600”.  We can now see how well skyscraper (160×600) ads do in comparison with large rectangle (300×250) ads.  (And there is more you can identify static versus animated ads, …  Whatever you can think of can fit in the Content tag.)


This is where you put the placement information – so banners placed on Kayak Times will have this for the content – “” or “Kayak Times”.  I prefer the first approach since it will be the exact same source for any referrals you get from Kayak Times – so you can compare banner and referral traffic from Kaya Times.

What do we get?

Yellow Kayak - big rectangle20% off Kayak SaledisplayYellow Kayak|
Yellow Kayak - skyscraper20% off Kayak SaledisplayYellow Kayak|
Red Kayak - big rectangle20% off Kayak SaledisplayRed Kayak|
Red Kayak - skyscraper20% off Kayak SaledisplayRed Kayak|

and the first Tagged URL in our list will look like this:

(P.S. this is a fake website, sorry no kayak sale today!)

That wraps up tagging banners, if you were already doing this hope the refresher was useful.  If you are not fully tagging your display – now you can get started!

Next Post – Tagging Emails

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