If you read anything about the latest efforts by PBS to send more traffic to local donation forms you may have been left asking yourself; "Can I see data for this traffic?" Or, even better; "How can I tell if this traffic is valuable to me?"
In anticipation of these questions PBS implemented some exciting tracking in the March and August 2015 lightbox campaigns that makes it easy for you to answer these very questions.
The feature is Google Analytics Custom Campaign tagging. PBS took this powerful tool and built it in to all the tracking for the donation light boxes that run on PBS.org.
What does this mean for you? Free data! You don't have to do anything but sit back and let the data roll in. You get a powerful way to segment out the users sent to your local station site from these lightboxes without any extra effort.
The data comes through Google Analytics. So if you're using Google Analytics to track your donation landing-pages then you're all set. If you're not using Google Analytics then you're unfortunately out of luck.
Just open up the Google Analytics account you use to track your donation pages and find the "All Campaigns" report. It’s under the Acquisition section of reports.
In that report you should see a campaign named donate_augustpledge_2015 (no quotes) if you're searching in August or donate_marchpledge_2015 if you're searching in March. If you don't see these campaigns you can use the search bar to find it. Once you've found the campaign you can click it get all the data about the visits it sent to your site.
You can see things like the number of sessions (visits) that were sent to your site, the number of new users and the average amount of time they spent (average session duration). These metrics give you a good initial sense of the quantity and quality of the traffic you've received.
New users are users who have never been to your site. The higher this percentage is the more new people the lightbox sent to your site. Also, check out the Bounce Rate for these visits. This tells you how many of these users came from the lightbox, hit your landing page and then immediately exited the site without viewing any other pages.
For those of you who have also gone the extra mile and are also tracking completed donations in Google Analytics you can actually see how many of those sessions resulted in an actual donation!
The March lightbox only ran on the PBS.org top-level pages (e.g. homepage, Topics pages, Programs A-Z, etc.). But the August lighbox ran on both those top-level pages as well as the national PBS Video portal (video.pbs.org). So in August PBS set up extra tracking to allow you to see the difference between those two sources. If you click the "donate_augustpledge_2015" in the "All Campaigns" report you'll see two listings under the "Source/Medium" column; "lighbox/pbs top_level_pages" is all the traffic from the top-level pages and "lighbox/video_portals" is all the traffic from the PBS Video portal. Pretty straight forward.
If you want to go even deeper you can segment those users in your Google Analytics data and learn all sort of cool things about them. Did they come back? What other pages on your site did they visit? Did they spend more time than other traffic sources? We recommend creating an Advanced Segment to help you get all that insight.
And just as a way to save you even more time, we went ahead and created those Advanced Segments for you:
- March 2015 Pledge visits: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=2GVQmoTqQJybrW1bTxhf1A
- August 2015 Pledge visits: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=Oil62Iw5Timvz984mdMcaQ
Just click the above links and follow the prompts to load it in to the Google Analytics account of your choosing (preferably the one you use to track your donation pages).
You can learn more about Advanced Segments here: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/3123951
Those segments allow you to isolate just the traffic you received from either lightbox campaign and compare it to the rest of the traffic on your site (by also applying the "All Sessions" Advanced Segment). With these segments applied you can also see exactly what pages these users visited on your site by opening the "All Pages" report.
PBS will continue to tag all future lightbox campaigns in this manner. So you can use the above methods to evaluate the value that these and future campaigns bring to your local station site. It’s guaranteed to be well worth your time.
If you have any questions about how to find or analyze this data you can contact Kate Alany (firstname.lastname@example.org).