Google Analytics is great for assessing people’s interaction with your site, the fact that it’s a free tool is even better. Probably the most interesting/useful metric that it exposes is where people come from, both the physical sense with Google’s excellent geo-location and also on the web. In the case of the latter, it’s possible to break this down even further if you have a blog or send email newsletters by tagging your urls.
Analytics tagging is adding a couple of additional parameters to your urls that are picked up by the GA tracking code. These then show as additional sources/campaigns in Traffic Sources section of Google Analytics.
These are most useful for email newsletter tracking to help gauge how effective your marketing has been. Answering questions like did the copy in the newsletter engage people to click through, of those how many bought something or signed up for your service? Try putting different copy/design into some A/B testing to gain some insight into how well your layout or copywriting is working.
I also like to tag my RSS feeds so I can whether someone visited the site directly or from a feed reader—good to know how many regular readers you here. I believe you can also do something similar with feedburner, but adding the tags directly in your blog software guarantees everyone will be coming in via a tagged feed.
The tagging syntax is as follows:
(note that lines have been wrapped for readiblity and spaces in your tags should be replaced with the ‘+’ character)
http://www.example.com/? utm_source=Email+Newsletter& utm_medium=email& utm_campaign=Newsletter+December+2009
For email campaigns you would just append the tagging query string to your urls. Some software like Campaign Monitor can do this automatically, saving you monkeying around with the code. In the case of your blog’s RSS feed, there’s most likely an automatic solution as well. If you use WordPress, try the free RSS Link Tagger for Google Analytics plugin—edit the source code to customise the source/medium tags that it appends.
Google has recently solved these issues with the introduction Mobile Tracking. This SDK allows you to trigger tracking events server-side or from within native applications, removing the disjointed data issue and allowing you to profile all your visitors in one place.