Train Wreck in Saskatchewan

If your booking engine is captured off-site by a third-party then you’re going to want to read this post.

What’s more frustrating than Google Analytics? Google Analytics when its not even splitting out the traffic source revenues accurately because of a cross-domain tracking bug!

A clue that things are not going well is when you see a website domain being attributed as the unique referrer of revenue when you know it can’t be true.

I’m going to assume that you have read the following guidelines about the changes that need to be made to your Google Analytics code and instead focus on how you can test to see whether things are working as they should.

Testing that Google Conversions are being properly attributed!

In order to make this test work you will need to have a cookie-viewer installed in your browser. I personally use this one.

1. Go to a search engine, such as Google, and find your website by typing in a keyword search.

2. Click the link to the website.

3. If you’re using the plugin I listed above, right-click mouse and then select “page info” and then visit the “cookies” tab, and then examine the _utmz tab. I have highlighted below three areas that you need to be looking at. You can see that the “utmcmd” is organic and the keyword is “not provided”.


4. The next step is to (still in the same session) visit the booking engine and to then re-examine the cookie again. If you look in this example below you can see that the utmcsr value has changed to direct. That’s because the cookie was not successfully passed to the third party booking engine. If this had gone well the session cookie would still say utmscr=google|utmccn=(organic). The result of this is that the revenue in Google analytics will be attributed to the DIRECT channel, and the referral for revenue will be the website and not the search engine.




That’s how to test it!



Money fly

Google Remarketing (Retargeting or to those outside SEO “that scary shit that follows me around and I don’t understand why”) and now Facebook remarketing (through Facebook Exchange) are two strategies that any business online should be adopting. The skill is finding a suitably engaging commercial hook to make people want to return to your website for whatever reason. I’ve been building out a number of strategies for my clients and wanted to share a really simple optimization strategy that makes complete sense, but weirdly doesn’t seem to be easily available in the form of a user guide online.

I’ll assume that you have setup a remarketing list and have some people in that list already. And that you have created a series of banners that you wish to use as part of your remarketing campaign. I’m also going to assume that you are going to be delivering people from this remarketing campaign to a unique page on your website, that could only be found by either a blackhatter (including me & Google!) or someone that arrived at your landing page via your campaign. This is fundamental, and while there are ways to do the same thing with a homepage, it’s best to isolate conditions as much as possible when you are spending money!

How to make sure people that click on your banner do not get shown the banner again!

It seems pretty obvious but let’s say I get served a banner and I click on it, and see the offer, chances are that I’m not going to be interested in clicking again in the future, so it’s pretty pointless showing the banner again.

What I wanted was the following setting:

I have a list of 100K, I want everyone to click on the banner, but once I do I don’t want that to happen again.

This is actually quite cool, because it’s the kind of thing I’ve built using robots and lists. Essentially your 100K list automatically ignores positive clicks. But how do you do that in your own re-marketing campaign?

You use negative Audiences!!

How to set it up?

Go into Audiences on Adwords and create a new marketing list which is based on the list that you are using for your primary campaign. In my case I am just using a main list, but if you are segmenting your lists then you could simply apply it to that segment.

Give the remarketing list a name such as “people that have clicked on X campaign”. You then need to answer declare “Who do add to your list”. You should select “Visitors of a page” and then select the format URL contains (but you’ll know what you need to match). In the field you should enter the Unique URL of the landing page (that’s why it’s important to make it unique!). You should then tick “include past visitors that match these rules” and make the list “open”. You can set your list duration based on how you are running your campaign. Then save off the list.

Next head over to your re-marketing campaign and get your main campaign up. You will see some red buttons labeled “+Exclusions”. Go into Campaign Audience exclusions and set the AdGroup settings to exclude the list that you created before and hit save.

Now what’s going to happen is the following:

People in you main remarketing list will be shown the banner. Those that click on the banner and hit your landing page will be added to another remarketing list (“people that have clicked on X campaign”). Members of this list will be constantly removed from the main list so you’ve now got a self-optimizing remarketing list. Set these lists up a couple of days before going live and you’ll not have any initial burps in the system as the new list is being populated.

Make sure that you implement impression caps when setting up your campaign. The principle I follow is, whatever Google is suggesting you to do question it (expand the advanced option), and if in any doubt Google a question about the option in another browser window and understand what it means. Impression caps will stop your banner being showed 100 times a day to the same person.

è voilà!

ps. I set myself the goal of writing and publishing this post in no more than half an hour (postedit: failed it took me 40!) -What I have learnt is it is best to write the post first before passing time looking at photos on a photo-stock site!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The end of backlinks, what now?

February 6, 2014

It used to be that the more external references or citations (links) your website had, the more popular it would be seen by the search engines, and rewarded by way of a high position in the results pages.

Read the full article →

Guest Blogging dead? Matt Cutts calls it…

January 23, 2014

Guest blogging is dead? Matt Cuttss has told the SEO community that they are coming after people that Guest Blog for links. How should you be approaching Guest Blogging?

Read the full article →

Predications for search and social in 2014

January 3, 2014

What a complicated year 2013 was for web-marketing people. 2012 saw pain delivered in the form of Penguin, exact match domain penalties and lots of little tweaks leaving many ‘web professionals’ wondering what just happened to their job. 2013 was the year of the slow dagger in organic search positioning by way of results pages overhauls and simply not telling webmasters how their website was being found. The old guard will know that in 2014 link-building is not dead, but that it’s impossible to rank in an area of the results page that will deliver any traffic without paying. It’s denial if you say to say to a client that they are ranking in position #2 and it’s great when in fact that traffic is below the fold and getting zero clicks!

Read the full article →

Partial match penalty recovery – the promised land!!

October 25, 2013

With one client I have been following their re-inclusion in the Google search index after they received a partial match manual penalty. I feel that this is one of the vaguest and most difficult penalties to try and recover from because there is so little clue provided as to where the problem might lie. It […]

Read the full article →

The 100% method to recover from any Google penalty (penguin, panda, and all to come)

October 2, 2013

It was after reading yet another post on how to theoretically recover from a Google Penguin penalty that I finally decided to do something about responding both to this and all the other commentary on the subject. It may help to read the straw that broke the camel’s back first, or if you are familiar […]

Read the full article →

So, you want to get a competitor banned from Google? here’s how…and why the EU needs to step in!

September 6, 2013

People doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  will know that the way Google cares for webmasters is under the auspices of providing helpful advice and videos. However the reality is at odds with these kind gestures via  their webmaster guidelines which are open to so many levels of interpretation and manipulation, that if you’re doing business […]

Read the full article →

New Rules for Facebook Competitions & Sweepstakes

September 6, 2013

I am doing a straight copy and paste from the source (Kyle Beth Hilfer) which I think is a good legal resource for getting social media lowdowns.

Read the full article →

The economics of spamming: When it could make sense to ignore search engines guidelines

June 27, 2013

I thought I would present a post that I have not yet read online, which might be an eye-opener for some readers too. To anyone that has been working in the field of online marketing in the last 5-years you will have seen lots of change. For anyone that has been working beyond 10 years […]

Read the full article →