The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tagging and Tracking Yahoo Search Marketing Campaigns in Google Analytics

Tracking Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM) Campaigns in Google AnalyticsDisclaimer: Before I begin to cover tagging and tracking your Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM) campaigns in Google Analytics (GA), I highly recommend using an integrated search marketing package to manage your Paid Search campaigns, such as Coremetrics Search Marketing Tools or Omniture Search Center. Using a robust set of search marketing tools that are integrated with your web analytics package is obviously the optimal way to go (if that’s possible for your organization). Now let’s move on!

I Can Easily Analyze Google AdWords in Google Analytics, but…
Since many companies are now using Google Analytics, I often receive questions about how to best track Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM) campaigns using GA. When you use Google Analytics, your paid search campaigns using Google AdWords are tracked natively, so there is no additional tagging that you need to implement. You will be able to drill into your campaigns, ad groups, and keywords easily from within GA and view sales, goal conversion, site usage, and cost. This is a great feature, because tagging your paid search campaigns is about as fun as writing "I will always remember to tag all of my Paid Search campaigns properly." a thousand times on a chalk board. :-) So I’ve decided to write this blog post offering you a good option for tagging YSM campaigns for analysis in Google Analytics.

It’s All About the Tagging…
For those of you not familiar with tagging, it’s the process of adding querystring parameters to your campaign URL’s so Google Analytics can accurately track your campaigns. I’ve written a previous blog post about tagging emails for analysis in Google Analytics here. To track YSM campaigns in GA, some marketers are tagging at the keyword level and some at the ad level. I recently helped several clients use a technique that enables them to tag their YSM campaigns at the ad level and utilize some of YSM’s enhanced tracking parameters to analyze their campaigns in GA by Ad Group, Keyword (the keywords you are bidding on), and Raw Keyword (what people are actually entering).

YSM Enhanced Tracking Parameters (Dynamic Values from YSM)
If you turn on “Tracking URL’s” in YSM, then you can access a list of Enhanced Tracking Parameters each time someone clicks one of your keywords. You will use two of these tracking parameters for our GA tagging example.

The 2 Enhanced Tracking Parameters You Will Utilize Are:
{OVKEY} – or the keyword that a visitor clicked on. Note, these are the keywords that you bid on, not the original query from a visitor.
{OVRAW} – Yes, you got it… It’s the original query (or raw query) that a visitor entered in Yahoo.

*Note, there are several other enhanced tracking parameters available, but we’ll use the two listed above for our tagging purposes.

The Yahoo Search Marketing Tagging:
I’ll begin by providing a tagged URL below and then explain the parameters. Note, you will be tagging your URL’s at the Ad Level. So, you’ll create your ad (or access one you have already created and use this dynamic URL as the destination URL for your ad). Then you won’t need to tag at the keyword level. Yes, this will save you hours of work and hopefully meet your tracking requirements as well. :-)

Tagging Your YSM URL:{OVKEY}&utm_content={OVRAW}&utm_campaign=Spring%2BClothing%2BMen

Let’s quickly cover each parameter:
utm_source=Yahoo, This is simple, it’s just the traffic source. For our purposes we are using Yahoo to signify YSM.

utm_medium=CPC, Signifying Cost Per Click.

utm_term={OVKEY} This is the keyword that was clicked on. Note, this is the keyword you are bidding on and not the raw query. The beautiful part of {OVKEY} is that no matter which keyword was clicked on, the {OVKEY} enhanced parameter will hold that keyword. It's basically a variable for the programmers out there...

utm_content={OVRAW} This is the raw query that was entered into Yahoo. This is valuable information and I’ll explain more below.

utm_campaign=Spring%2BClothing%2BMen This is the name of the campaign, which will show up under the Campaigns Tab under Traffic Sources. BTW, %2B is a plus sign, %20 is a space (these are URL encoded characters, which you should always use in your URL's). You should be descriptive with the campaign name so you can easily find your campaign in the list within GA.

Why Did I Tag the URL This Way?
Good question. Because I want you to quickly access your campaign reporting in Google Analytics and be able to segment your reporting by keyword and raw query. Now, let your test campaign run for a day and then access your GA reporting. Click the Traffic Sources tab and then click Campaigns. You should see a campaign titled, “Spring+Clothing+Men”. You can review your top level information for the campaign here, like Ecommerce Revenue, Goal Conversion, and Site Usage. Click this campaign to drill deeper. Once you are in the Campaign Details report, you can easily segment the report to analyze keywords and raw queries. Click the segment dropdown and choose Keyword. This will show you the keywords (that you bid on), that led to your site. You can easily view site usage statistics, sales, and goal conversion per keyword. Click the segment dropdown again and select Ad Content. Now you are viewing the raw keywords (or the query) that people entered in Yahoo to view your ads. This is especially powerful, since you can find new, longer tail keywords for your campaigns (which will probably yield a lower CPC). You can easily export the raw keywords and then import the ones you want to use in your YSM campaigns. For example, you may be bidding on the word Khaki Pants, but you might find that visitors are entering New Dark Khaki Pants or 32 inch Khaki Pants. You would export these raw keywords and then add them to your campaign. You get the idea…

Screenshot of the YSM Campaign Reporting:
Click on the image below for a larger version:

Viewing YSM reporting in Google Analytics

To summarize…
So there you have it. A nice way to tag your YSM campaigns, save time, and accurately view your Paid Search reporting in Google Analytics. I still recommend using an integrated paid search package when possible, but regardless, this technique will definitely save you time and frustration. It’s a nice way to drill into your YSM campaigns to view sales, goal conversion, site usage, and all by campaign, ad group, keyword and raw keyword. Now, I would still love to view YSM campaigns with the ease of AdWords campaigns in Google Analytics, but for now, I’ll just keep using this technique. I hope this helps your paid search efforts! Let me know how it works for you.


Related Content:
* Analyzing Your Holiday Email Marketing Campaigns Using Google Analytics

* Site Search in Google Analytics

* The Referring Sites Report in Google Analytics

Labels: , , , , , ,

If you enjoyed this post and you need assistance
with your online marketing projects,
then contact Glenn Gabe today>


  • At 5:11 AM, Anonymous Mehdi said…

    Hello, nice post, thanks.

    I have a question:

    What if we want, in the same time, to keep measuring the yahoo campaigns in YSM?

    Can we keep all the yahoo and google parameters in the same URI?

    Thanks in advance

  • At 8:33 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Hi Mehdi.

    I’m glad you liked the post. Tagging your YSM campaigns the way I explained above should not affect your reporting within the Yahoo Search Marketing user interface. It will simply help you better analyze your YSM campaigns in Google Analytics.

    Regarding the actual tagging, you can combine Google's querystring parameters with the values from YSM enhanced tracking parameters to get the results you need. This will enable you to segment your reporting by campaign, ad group, keyword, and raw keyword in Google Analytics.

    I hope this helps. Thanks.


  • At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This was just the information I was looking for--better than what I found in the analytics forums. It's much easier for me to add parameters to the ad URLs in Yahoo than to go through my client's web team to add additional tracking code to the web site. Thanks for your work!

  • At 11:22 AM, Blogger rklein said…

    Thank you for the post - very informative and useful.
    Quick questions:
    So far I have used (utm_content) to track the version of my add, and you are suggestion to use (utm_content) to track the raw query that was entered into Yahoo. These both parameters are useful to me. Is there a way to capture the add version and the raw query? (I want to capture that a click is coming from Yahoo CPC, specific campaign, specific add group, as well as keyword and raw query).
    Thank you in advance. Julia

  • At 7:28 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Hi Julia.

    I'm glad my post was helpful. I agree that the ad version is important and you can tweak your tagging to gain that information in your GA reporting.

    For example, there is a Yahoo enhanced tracking parameter for Ad ID, which is {OVADID}. So, if you changed the utm_content parameter to include the following:


    ...then you will have both the raw keyword along with the ad version when you segment by Ad Content in Google Analytics.

    I hope that helps. Thanks.


  • At 11:08 AM, Blogger rklein said…

    Glen, Thanks so much for your prompt response.

    I tried your suggestion - utm_content=&utm_content={OVRAW}_{OVADID} - (which, by the way I really like as it would potentially save a lot of time not having to tag every keyword), and let my ads run for a day. So now, in Google Analytics, when I go to Traffic Sources, then Campaigns and segment my campaign by 'Ad Content' I get "(not set)" instead of name of my ad and raw queries. Looks like GA is not reading both ad content and raw query...

    Did I make a mistake in my tag or is GA not recognizing the double tag for content?

    Thanks again! Julia

  • At 7:26 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Hi Julia.

    I'm glad you were able to try out my suggestion. It looks like your tagging is off a little.


    should actually be:

    You basically added utm_content as the data for utm_content. :)

    Try it out and let me know how it goes. Also, you can email me instead of commenting here if you want to elaborate. It’s hard for me to know exactly what you are adding via this thread. You can use the email address in my contact page.


  • At 7:46 AM, Blogger Naomi said…

    Thanks so much. I am going to test it now and I hope I will get accurate resluts.

  • At 3:37 PM, Blogger Pablo said…

    Hi, really uesful post.

    Why is there a difference in clicks between my Yahoo!Campaign and what Google Analytics shows?
    Any Clue?

  • At 5:15 PM, Anonymous TJ said…

    At our agency, we've stopped adding utm_source because it masks all of Yahoo's partner network sources. Why is this important? Because Yahoo doesn't filter click fraud well at all. The onus is on the advertiser to find the fraud and complain to get credits.

    If you leave the utm_source on the urls, all traffic is lumped into source=yahoo, and you'll waste a ton of money on their partner sites.

    A better solution is to use Google Analytics filters but we haven't exactly figured out how to implement that. Yet.


  • At 4:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi, good post. Works great!

    @TJ: thanks for the interesting contribution. Any solutions yet?



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home