Friday, August 28, 2015

Tracking Google AdWords performance and value in Sitecore

Google AdWords are a great way of driving targeted visitors to your web site. However as there is a direct monetary cost on acquiring this traffic, you want to ensure you are getting the best value for money. Using the Experience Analytics and Marketing features in Sitecore are a great way of tracking the performance of various Google AdWords keyword campaigns.

Step 1: Sitecore Campaign

The first step is to create a Sitecore campaign for your AdWords campaign. Depending on the amount of parallel campaigns you are running on AdWords you could create one campaign per keyword or one per group of relevant keywords. To create a campaign in Sitecore:
  1. Login to Sitecore
  2. Open the Marketing Control Panel
  3. On the content tree select Campaigns and then right click Insert > Campaign
  4. Give the campaign a relevant name, in this example "Test Campaign"
    1. For the channel select Google ads (under: Channel/Online/Paid Search/)
    2. If you have a custom campaign group (such as Paid Advertising) you can select it
    3. Take note of the campaign link (something like: sc_camp=686A5C84924C40A188204A4999A03119)
    4. Save the campaign
  5. On the main ribbon, select Edit and then Deploy to make the campaign active
  6. Now in Google AdWords set the relevant campaign(s) links to include the campaign link as query string. For example: http://mysite.com/LandingPage.aspx?sc_camp=686A5C84924C40A188204A4999A03119
  7. This campaign will now begin tracking in the Sitecore Experience Analytics database

Step 2: Measuring Results

There are a number of ways to measure the results of your Google AdWords campaigns in sitecore. There is no best method to measure the results for every web site, because different web sites will have different strategic goals. However any of the following Sitecore Experience Analytic features should give an indication as to the performance.


  • Top campaign by visits - Shows which campaigns are receiving the most traffic. Of course this is relative to the number of impressions the ad receives in Google search results.
  • Top campaigns by value per visit - This is generally a good measure, because it shows which campaigns are leading to the most Engagement Value per visit. Assuming the Engagement Values have been optimized and planned carefully, this will directly show which Google AdWords are the "best performing".
  • Top campaigns by bounces - A high bounce rate can identify content/landing pages which are not relevant to the keywords coming in and which may be due for optimization.
  • Data Table: This is where the real data becomes apparent for all of your campaigns:
    • Conversion rate shows the average percentage of conversions to a web sites goal(s). Ideally you place goals on activities which relate to/are your web site's strategic goal, so a higher conversion rate is idea.
    • Page views per visit show a general indication of how engaged the user is. A higher number of page views per visit can show a very interested user (and should correlate with a higher value visit), where as a low number of pages per visit may be a sign of less interested visitors (and a sign to look at content optimization or pulling the AdWords campaign).

The use of campaign groups is also a great way to compare the various sources (such as Google AdWords) versus other networks to see which leads to better performance and value. Depending on the type of web site and it's strategic goal(s), various advertising sources may perform better than others. For example, for a highly technical web site, advertising on the technical help site Stack Overflow may have better results than Facebook ads. Likewise you may also find that email campaign mail outs are having better results than Google AdWords and choose to focus more in that direction.

Step 3: Optimization

Now that you have some idea around the performance of your Google AdWords campaigns in Sitecore, there are some activities that can be undertaken to optimize them. These are just some general notes on how you can optimize and will not be complete step by step instructions.
  • Personalization - The rule set editor in Sitecore allows personalisation on a number of conditions including campaigns. By personalizing the web site based on a campaign (in turn the Google AdWord) you are able to optimize the experience for that particular targeted keyword. This allows content to be setup in a way to drive users into completing strategic goal(s) and even other goals targeted to a particular set of keywords. For example if the web site is an online store and the AdWord is in relation to a particular product line, the content could be personalized with emphasis put on this product line - ultimately leading to more sales (the main strategic goal) and therefore higher Engagement Value.
  • A/B + Multivariate Testing - A/B multivariate testing can be used on landing pages for Google AdWords campaigns to test what various elements lead to better results (any of the measures above). Sitecore is ideal for this type of testing, whether it be as simple as testing the words of a call to action, right down to multivariate of content, style and layout.

1 comment:

  1. When i setting up my Google AdWords campaigns, i always concern to measuring results of my campaigns. If it is now working well then i pause it and create another ad copy of different keywords. Thanks for sharing this awesome article!
    Adwords Expert

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