How to Use Web Analytics and Marketing Integrations to Measure ROI


  • Before you spend one dime of your marketing budget, it’s important to establish clear goals.
  • Once goals are established, you will need to set up ways to measure these goals.
  • Common KPIs to track include website visits, online sales and qualified leads.
  • Once you have a good amount of data to work with, return on ad spend should be calculated.
  • Depending on the data and results, you should tweak your ads accordingly.

“Does digital marketing work?” Whether you’ve been asked this by your clients or have asked this yourself, you’re probably not completely sure how to answer this question. At Redefine Marketing Group, we want to not only arm you with great marketing and content but the tools and data that prove it’s value. Before we spend one dime of your marketing budget, we want to establish clear goals, and then set up the means to measure those goals.

Digital marketing goals are likely to be measured using a web analytics platform. For the sake of this blog, we will focus on Google Analytics, but other platforms include Adobe Analytics Cloud and Woopra. Marketing analytics data can also be tied to marketing automation platforms, ad servers, CRM platforms, and other lead generation and sales data. We will cover a few of these, but want to highlight the ways that your business can measure success with little to no additional cost.

First, What Are the KPIs?

During the discovery process, we ask what is going to be measured, or what are the key performance indicators are. Here are some examples of common KPIs:

  • Website Visits
  • Online Sales
  • Qualified Leads
  • Phone Calls
  • Social Followers
  • Job Applicants
  • Charitable Donations

With the marketing goals established and a strategic digital marketing plan laid out to achieve those goals, we can then start the setup and integration process.

As a best practice, we will first want to add a Google Tag Manager container, or GTM code, to your site. GTM is a user-friendly way to manage any of the short snippets of JavaScript code that need to be on your site. It also interacts with Google Analytics to enable your business to measure more in-depth user signals and actions. The latter is the main reason we place this code on your site.

Is Google Analytics Implemented?

Once Google Tag Manager is on your site, we will implement Google Analytics using GTM. Google Analytics is a free tool to measure web analytics and site traffic. “Out of the box”, it measures metrics like the number of page views a page receives, the time a user spends on your site, or even the number of users that your site is gaining over time. We integrate GTM and Google Analytics so that we can measure additional events such as phone number clicks, document downloads, or video views.

Once all desired actions are set up for monitoring, we then create goals in Google Analytics. Goal setup in Google Analytics is a manual process because no two sites or businesses are the same or want to track the same things, but having defined goals is essential to prove marketing effectiveness and ROI. The most common goal is one based on a ‘thank you’ page. Google Analytics registers a goal as being completed based on the URL of the page changing after someone completes a form or checks out.

Slightly more advanced implementations can utilize Google Tag Manager to capture tracking cookies IDs from CRMs or eCommerce platforms and inject those values in Google Analytics to match marketing data to Google Analytics data to a business’s end client or sale. That is a more in-depth setup, but RMG offers this if we have access to these backend systems. Doing this illustrates not only that businesses received leads or sales, but the value of the individual leads themselves.

Integration with Ad Servers

We can also set up and integrate with ad servers, but using an ad server incurs additional cost. Ad servers plan, execute, and measure your digital marketing campaigns across multiple platforms and tactics. One of their main tracking features is that they cookie users based on the first interaction with one of your ads. As the user interacts with other digital ads over time, an ad server stores these additional touch points and records the path to conversion. This path is what is called attribution, meaning the ad server attributed all the ads that it took for a user to become a lead or a sale.

Using an ad server proves the need for a multi-platform approach to digital marketing. A classic example of this is the use of programmatic display ads, which generally don’t have a high conversion rate, but raise awareness for your brand and services, which leads users to do more Google or Bing searches. The general trend is that increasing search volume leads to higher conversion, as individuals searching for your brand or services show greater intent.

Testing Goals is Important

Now that we’ve outlined all the different ways that we can set up, manage, and measure goal tracking, we need to test these goals. The easiest way is to follow the same process a user would go through to reach a conversion point. We recommend always entering ‘test’ as the first and last name, and anywhere else that might be applicable.

Testing in this manner leads to less confusion among your businesses’ internal staff. Additionally, a lot of CRMs will disregard entries that have the word ‘test’ in them. Once we are confident that all goals are tracking correctly, we will launch your digital marketing campaigns.

Calculate Return on Ad Spend After a Few Months

Once a campaign has been running for a month or so, or there is a statistically significant amount of data, return on ad spend can be calculated. Return on ad spend is the amount of revenue a business receives for every dollar spent on advertising. This measurement is a gauge of the effectiveness of digital advertising campaigns.

A way to estimate this calculation is to use the total number of conversions from Google Analytics and multiply that by your business’s average order or lead value. This calculation will approximate the total revenue generated by your marketing efforts. We then divide the revenue value that we obtained by the total cost of running your marketing campaigns. If this fraction is higher than the number one, your return on ad spend is positive. If, on the other hand, the fraction is lesser than one, then you are paying more for marketing than you are getting back in revenue.

Have questions? We’re only an email away.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mauricio has close to 20 years of digital experience and a core foundation in the technical side of SEO. He’s led and executed strategy both in-house and on the agency side and enjoys defining successful strategies for our clients.
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