Measuring and Informing Campaign Success with Google Analytics
May 19, 2023
By Stephanie Rodgers
As public relations professionals, one of our primary goals is to generate positive coverage and engagement for our clients. Yet, for all the time that goes into researching and implementing communication plans, how long do you typically spend tracking and evaluating the success of your efforts, and the numbers that will help inform future decisions?
If you’re in the habit of recording those analytics regularly, that’s a great start, but what does all that data do for you? Does it sit in the spreadsheet until next month’s cycle, do you have an intern track the data and never look at it again or do you actually take the time to discuss the best performing posts to guide your content strategy?
Setting key performance indicators to reflect return on investments can establish profitability, sure, but listening to feedback from your existing audience will support your efforts to create valuable content that they will want to continue engaging with. Measuring and strategizing for success with digital tools, like social media insights and Google Analytics, can be incredibly powerful if gathered with intention. By tracking key metrics and setting up conversion goals, you can optimize the data points and make informed decisions to target audiences, ultimately keeping that desired growth sustainable.
Analyze the Analytics
While most strategies inform or build awareness for our target audiences, getting laser-focused on the impact you’re trying to create is essential to figuring out how audiences currently engage with your content.
There can be many nuances when approaching analytics with interfaces that aren’t always user-friendly, and this can be compounded by the fact that many social platforms are independent and have different ways of reporting analytics. The variety in available data points only solidifies the need to hone in on what specific analytics your strategy should focus on to reflect the intended impact on the target audience(s).
Terms like impressions, engagements and reach often all get lumped together when talking about data, but they are very different things. Just like learning to speak a new language, you must dedicate time to understanding and becoming fluent in each or have knowledgeable team members or a PR agency partner to help you understand it.
Since Google Analytics focuses on website traffic, analyzing engagement slightly differs from social media’s interpretation. In a perfect world, every web user or follower would be searching for your service or product with initial awareness about what it is. Still, more often than not, your website or social media will be consumers’ first introduction to your brand. Suppose the user search is not the right fit for what they were looking for. In that case, you might have high bounce rates in your web analytics from users clicking away from your platforms instead of following links to learn more information and increasing the time per session on your pages.
Introducing the latest update of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to the platform’s reporting software in 2023 creates an additional opportunity to delve into the traffic sources of various consumer demographics and track the lifecycles of users, including which pages they spend the most time on. Call-to-actions embedded in your copy or posts, including specific goals or conversions like increasing landing page views, form submissions, newsletter signups or product purchases, show you what content is the most valued to drive your future strategy.
Getting the Right Consumer Conversions
Being data-driven and having a strategic approach to collecting and evaluating data based on your campaign needs will help you better understand your return on investment.
Here are some key strategies you can use with Google Analytics software to measure and inform success:
- Set conversion goals: Campaigns often have specific objectives, such as increasing engagement or generating leads. By deciding which conversion goals – like engagement, leads or sales – would be most effective to achieve your desired results, use Google Analytics or insights with templated spreadsheets to track the effectiveness of your campaign in driving specific actions and adjust your strategy accordingly.
- Monitor user behavior and traffic: Understanding how users interact with a website can help us identify areas for improvement and optimize their campaigns. Campaigns can drive significant traffic to a client’s website and Google Analytics provides a wealth of information about this traffic. You can track the number of unique or new visitors, how long they stay on the site, which pages they visit and much more.
- Track social media performance: A strong social media strategy not only encourages growth and engagement on your social media channels, but it can also be an important driver to your website. Google Analytics can track what social media channels are sending the most click-throughs your way.
- Measure the impact of media coverage: Circulation numbers and unique monthly visitors are great for media impressions, but did you know Google Analytics can measure the effects of media coverage? By monitoring referral traffic from media outlets with dofollow backlinks (i.e., trackable web addresses that work with search engine optimization, aka SEO) embedded within the copy, we can see which coverage drives the most traffic and engagement. For reference, nofollow links are not trackable and direct search engines do not use the backlink for page ranking calculations, which is important for building a website’s domain authority.
- Continuously refine your strategy: It’s essential to constantly evaluate and refine your goals based on your analytics insights. Use the data to identify areas for improvement, test new approaches and refine your campaigns to drive better results over time.
Ultimately, Google Analytics and other platforms that provide insights are invaluable tools for business professionals looking to measure and inform success. By setting up intentional conversion goals and consistently tracking key metrics, we can make informed decisions to optimize our strategies and continue generating positive coverage and engagement for our stakeholders.
Want to learn more about how Curley & Pynn approaches strategizing for our communications campaigns? Shoot us a message and we’d be happy to talk more about it!