Spent the last three days in restructuring the tracking at my website and the reporting of tracking in Google Analytics. Got it to work.

This is for my upcoming book Content Marketing Strategy and Tactics. The key chapter will be, of course, the chapter where I show you how to track results. It’s all very nice to create lots of buzz, but CFOs, the board, and investors only care about the financials (see note at the end).

There are three types of things to track:

  • Event Tracking:  When someone clicks a link, Google Analytics registers it as an event (instead of a page view). This lets you track action on clicks (e.g., someone clicks a link to go to an external site or send you an email), downloads, redirects, Flash, video, and so on.
  • Link Tracking in Other Sites: You post to Facebook, Twitter, a blog at Techcrunch, send out a press release, etc.  and in it, you include a link to your page. By using tracking tags, you can see how many clicked on those links. You can also see which links were clicked. For example, you see that you got 400 clicks at FB, 600 at Twitter, 350 at LinkedIn, and 500 from your press release. You can track as many as you like. Conversions can be tied to these, so you know that FB produced 100 sales and Twitter produced 200.
  • Tracking of Events as Goal Conversions: You can also track events as a goal. If your project’s goal is to get leads via an event, you can set up goal tracking for that event. It shows up as a conversion, incl. a conversion value (e.g., $100.)
  • (Of course, there’s also the basic items for analytics tracking: page views, traffic, keywords, goal conversions, etc. That’s standard analytics. Here, I’m looking at content marketing, which has mostly to do with off-site tracking, tracking of downloads, emails, etc.)

This is the basics. You can create a list all of channels (FB, Twitter, Google Adwords, Youtube, email lists, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, TV ads, post cards, QR codes, bus signs, the Goodyear blimp, etc.) and platforms (desktop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) and then track all of it, incl. the traffic, visitors, clicks, leads, and sales. Add the marketing budgets and results to track the cost-per-lead (CPL) and cost-per-action (CPA).

Yep, total tracking of top-line and bottom-line KPIs.

I showed this to Alok Vasudeva, who said “Put that in a spreadsheet report and call it an investor dashboard.” That’s a great idea: this is what investors what to see.

I met with Harry Petty this morning, told him about the dashboard, and he added “Plug industry trends and competitor data into the model and you can project sales and trends for investors.”

(Note: Wendy Chang and I were at a Keiretsu Forum event in Palo Alto several weeks ago. Six early-stage startups were  pitching to a roomful of investors. One of the projects was pretty silly and made no sense, yet the investors’ discussion utterly ignored the business idea. The only thing they discussed was the financials. Frankly, they couldn’t care less about the startup’s idea, founder, or history. Two startups presented their idea but focused on the numbers and financials: they got attention.)