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Simple Event Advertising Tracking with Google Analytics

Ask most event organizers - “what’s your most effective form of advertising?” Nine times out of ten the response will be, “we have no idea!” Your event advertising needs to be an investment, not a blind expense. Every event organizer should know their most effective form of advertising. It's imperative that your track your advertising effectiveness. Thanks to technology, it’s getting significantly easier to track advertising effectiveness. One free tool every event organizer should insist on having on their event web site is Google Analytics. You can leverage Google Analytics' comprehensive statistics to help you track the effectiveness of your event advertising. Back in December, Google introduced the Annotation feature to their Analytics suite. Annotations allow you to add short notes to your Analytics data.

Use Google Analytics Annotations to Track Your Advertising
Here is what you can do . . . Use annotations to note television, radio, email marketing, or billboard campaigns. Ideally you'll want to track any form of advertising that drives traffic to your web site. You can annotate on a daily basis. Individual annotations can be up to 140 characters long and you can have multiple annotations on a single day. Below is an annotation example from a press conference to announce a local air show.


In the example above - annotations were created to note the date of the press conference to announce our local air show.  When you dig into the stats, you see the different types of advertising and publicity that drove various forms of online traffic. In the example from above, the press conference triggered various news outlets to feature news stories about the event. Almost every television station, radio station,
and new paper picked up on the event announcement.

Digging into the Data
A closer look at Google Analytics showed that 84% of all the daily traffic on March 16th was Referral Traffic (traffic from other web sites). Of that 84% referral traffic, 694 visitors came from one article on a local television news web site. The main reason for this is that the news web site prominently feature a back link to the event web site. (You need to strongly encourage you media partners to back link to your event web site - or else they won't do it.)

Fair Warning
Mining your Analytics data can be both a virtue and a vice. It’s important to be able to track traffic to your event advertising efforts, but don’t get too carried away. You can get easily lost in the countless data-points you have available to you.

Even though you can only annotate on a daily basis, there is a tremendous amount of information that can be analyzed. Here is one certainty - Using annotations is far better than the random guessing technique many event organizers use to track their advertising effectiveness.

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