Why UTM Codes are Important

A UTM code is a simple code that you can attach to a custom URL in order to track a source, medium, and campaign name. This enables Google Analytics to tell you where searchers came from as well as what campaign directed them to you. The wonderful thing about UTM codes is that you can change the code whenever you’d like to adjust the medium, the month you may be running something, or any other factors you need tweaked. See example below. 


If you’re spending a lot of time in social media, you might be publishing hundreds of new links per day. UTM codes help you track the performance of each of those links so you can see where your traffic is coming from.

UTM codes should be able to help you answer these questions about your web traffic:

  1. Where is the traffic coming from?
  2. How is it getting to you?
  3. Why is it coming to you?

In order for you to answer those questions, you’ll need to determine what elements (UTM Parameters) you will use. At the very least, you’ll need to include the following elements in every tagged URL.

* Source
*Content (optional)

The UTM parameters, in turn, tell Google Analytics how to sort your incoming traffic. There are many ways to segment this traffic in analytics. LSM recommends going to Acquisition → Campaigns → All campaigns

*For additional information on UTM codes contact us today.

7 Things We Learned From Google All-Stars Summit

What LSM Learned at Google All-Stars Summit

We went, we saw, we Googled. This past week, Local Search Masters was invited to the Google Partners All Stars summit at Google HQ in Mountain View, California. Aside from ensuring that we made the pilgrimage to In-N-Out Burger and visiting the Google campus gift shop to stock up on Christmas gifts, we were treated to a tour of the beautiful campus and a full day of keynote presentations by Google’s elite. Topics spanned from the more advanced Adwords dynamic remarketing discussions to developing cultures of innovation, so needless to say, there was a lot to learn!

LSM at Googleplex 1LSM at Google HQ to learn about Google AdWords


Here are just 7 of our main take-aways from the trip:


1. It’s Time To Innovate

Innovation isn’t just for CEOs, Chief Innovation Officers, and Innovation teams anymore. Everyone is called to innovate. Yes, that means you. Yes, you. If your business is not innovating, you’re missing out on opportunity. Every major industry is reinventing itself  with technology. Google driverless cars are real, and in a few, very short years, they will become a practical part of the mass marketplace, all because of Google’s culture of innovation. Even with highly-regulated industries like public transportation, ride-sharing companies (like Uber and Lyft) are not just offering a new service, but disrupting an ecosystem that’s been stable for decades. This is what we should all be doing – taking the risk to disrupt the environment in which we have become complacent. The innovators will win, and those who do not innovate will die. Google encourages its employees to think 10x. Meaning, when they think of an idea for a product or service, it’s not to improve a process by 10%, 25%, or even 50% – that’s incremental. 10x shifts the paradigm of thinking into accomplishing a previously impossible feat.

2. There’s Still Opportunity To Reach Untapped Markets

51% of businesses still don’t use the Internet to market their business. This means that the mom & pop shop down the street from you is not reaching its full audience, whether it be via pay-per-click Google Adwords search advertising, or maybe even creating a Facebook page. A good portion of your locale is yours for the taking!

3. We Are All Brand Builders

As the gig-economy takes off more and more, a company’s story takes front and center. The great, multinational conglomerates of our parent’s time are dwindling. It’s stories like the way Steve Jobs created Apple Computer in a garage that resonate with people and cultivate that positive brand perception, and the word of mouth engagement is what will drive sales. Jeff Rozic (Brand Product Strategist, Google Brand Labs) explains it like this… “Reach/impressions are easy to get; engagement is valuable, and the currency is ‘time spent.’’ Long gone are the days of purchasing 50,000 Twitter followers just for public perception – anyone can see through that now. The only thing that matters is that your true fans and brand ambassadors are talking about you and sharing their positive associations within their personal spheres of influence.

4. Create Micro-Moments

Google All-Stars Conference Room at HQYour day is filled with micro-moments, or small decisions that we make without too much thought. Google categorizes three types of micro-moments:

“I Want to Know” (115% increase year over year in shopping searches)

“I Want To Go” (34x increases in “near me” searches since 2011)

“I Want To Buy” (Google’s litmus test is a 90-second checkout experience, EVEN on mobile)

At the crux of all three types of moments, people want information, and they want that information fast. With this in mind, user experience needs to be a main focus for businesses. Optimize your website, provide reliable information about your product/service, and make it so easy to check-out and purchase that your grandma could do it. Pablo Slough framed it like this: 1) Identify your audience’s micro-moments; 2) Deliver on your audience’s needs in the moment; and 3) Measure/quantify every moment that matters.

5. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

The time for mobile is now. It’s not the future; it’s here. And, the majority of the time, the micro-moments mentioned above happen on a mobile device. Why? Mobile is intensely more personal than desktop;  our phones are an extension of our person these days. It’s the source of our knowledge, and we think twice before surrendering that source. It’s personal, and as marketers, we need to remember this as we develop marketing campaigns tailored specifically towards mobile users.

6. Buzzword Of The Year: Programmatic

Long story short here: while programmatic is very important to think about, don’t give in to the hype of what programmatic could be. At its core, programmatic is the notion that a marketer can use audience data to automate the buying and selling of ads, reaching the right person at the right time. Data is getting smarter, so use it to your advantage and make your marketing easier.

7. Digital First

Marketers who lead on the internet surpass those who do not, especially from an advertising standpoint. Look at successful startup companies like Dollar Shave Club, AirBNB, and Warby Parker. You know their team made a dedicated and conscious decision to focus on digital first, and then scale up using more traditional mediums like radio and TV. The perfect 30-second TV spot is not the answer anymore – shorter, snackable content that captures attention is the key to success now. There doesn’t need to be a grand voice-over or a perfectly-lit set; Jeff Rozic explained that the keys to success and your job as marketers are to educate, entertain, and inspire.


LSM Named a 2015 Google Partners All Star

Local Search Masters a Google Partner All-Star

For the second time in three years, Local Search Masters, has been named a Google Partners All-StarGoogle Partners All Stars Competition

As part of the awards package for being an All-Star, LSM has received an all-expenses-paid invitation to Google’s All-Stars Summit at Google HQ in Mountain View, California. The summit will include a tour of the “Googleplex”, one-on-one consultations with a few of Google’s online marketing experts, advanced training and, hopefully, lots of free Google merchandise!

Google HQ“We’re very excited and proud about the opportunity to get back out to Mountain View and spend time with our Google Agency Partners and other Google personnel” says CEO Trevor Emerson.

LSM is a member of the Google Partners network, a membership earned by passing Google advertising exams, adhering to paid search marketing best practices, and delivering quality results for our clients. Beyond providing us with the opportunity to receive all-expenses-paid travel to fun locations, our partnership with Google provides us access to additional personnel, tools, trainings and special events.

Upon our return from Google HQ, LSM will revisit this post and include additional information about certain things we learned and how they can help businesses generate more business from their web presence.

Local Search Masters
631 2nd Ave South #LL-D
Nashville, TN 37210

Track Everything: Using Universal Analytics and Google Tag Manager

UPDATE: Thank you all for coming! I forgot to mention during my presentation – I showed an example Google Tag Manager account container that contained a number of examples of useful tags and macros that can help you pull information into Analytics. Contact me and I can add you as a user to this Tag Manager container. This will allow you to walk through the tags we discussed, and to get examples of how to implement different featues. Just ask me and I’ll add you!


As promised, I’ve loaded this page up with goodies that will help you track everything.  Anything mentioned during my presentation should be spelled out in more detail, or at least linked-to from this page.  If you don’t find what you are looking for, or if you want to chat further about anything from the presentation, do not hesitate to holler at me via email or Twitter.


Resources for implementing UA/GTM


Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager

What’s new in Universal Analytics?

Universal Analytics Upgrade Center

Tag Manager Help Center

About ‘User ID’ – Track a user on all of their devices!

Google Tag Assistant – Google Chrome add-on to check if your tags are working


Blogs about Universal Analytics and Google Tag Manager


Upgrading Universal Analytics and Demographic Reporting

– Very easy to follow guide to upgrading Universal Analytics and enabling Demographic reports.

Simo Ahava’s Guide to Macros in Google Tag Manager

– This is the holy grail for understanding the power of macros in Tag Manager.  I talked a bit in the presentation about how macros can help you include user-information along with your form submission events – here is the guide that will help you do it.

Simo Ahava’s Advanced Form Tracking using Tag Manager

– More from Simo’s blog, this time how how to track forms.

John Cutroni’s Guide to Auto-Event Tracking

– Great guide.  I snagged one of his pictures for the slideshow.


Call Tracking


In the spirit of “track everything” I wanted to include a couple of links to services that can help you implement dynamic call tracking.  Both of these services can tell you the exact keyword that led a searcher to make a phone call, and they both offer direct integration into Universal Analytics.

Call Rail

Mongoose Metrics

How to Perform a Google Analytics Audit

Since the recession hit in the late 2000s, company marketing directors have been with faced many challenges. In addition to shrinking budgets and smaller staff sizes, the expectations have actually grown enormously. I’ll never forget hearing a former supervisor of mine during this time period just simply tell me: “Well, we just have to do more with less.”

Yep, even five years later, the cliche is still alive and well, folks. Back then, Google was overtaking Yahoo, MSN wasn’t Bing yet, and basically Facebook was Social Media. Now, the Twitterverse is alive and well and likely just as important to a brand’s digital marketing strategy as Google organic. And speaking of Google, their social network, Google+, has many facets marketing directors need to pay attention to (even if for just practical reasons), like local pages and reviews. Point being, I haven’t even mentioned Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Vine and Instragram – the list goes on and on.

Marketing directors can’t do it all.

Remember, there are internal constituencies, donors, supporters, customers/clients and boards of directors to please as well. There are press releases to write, brochures to design, traditional media to buy and budgets to manage.

Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned keeping the website fresh and updated for top end usability, customer satisfaction, commerce, lead generation, resource delivery or any other digital business goals.

Prioritization is extremely hard for marketing professionals representing an organization. Non-Profit, Not-for-Profit, privately owned corporations and publicly traded companies all have to deal with this at some level. And for small businesses, it’s magnified more than ever.

Just when it seems like there are way too many things to keep up with and no clear cut answers – there is an answer.

Give yourself a Google Analytics Audit.

You remember that snippet of code you put into your footer the last time you redesigned your website? Come on. Admit you remember.

I know, it’s like changing the oil in your car. You try to remember to do it every 3,000 miles, but in reality, you skip a few to save time and money – but risk paying the consequences later.

Point being, it’s easy to forget that it exists and that you have to do it. But just like not-minding that friendly sticker on the inside of your windshield, ignoring your Google Analytics data can really hurt your company in the long run. But rather than use fear as a motivator, marketing directors need to stay proactive in checking and analyzing their Google Analytics data to justify all the decisions they’re expected to make on a daily basis.

Having been in those shoes for much of my career, I can tell you the number one reason why people don’t pay attention to their Google Analytics data (other than “not having time” – which is just an excuse) is simply that they don’t know what to look for.

It’s okay, don’t be embarrassed. You’re not alone. Not many marketing directors actually know what to look for and how to interpret the data they find in Google Analytics.

In what may be an ongoing blog series (if not here, then definitely at Cabedge.com – where I blog regularly), I’m going to start pointing out what to look for, and how it can help make strategic business decisions, both from a marketing and customer experience perspective.

To get us started, here are the top things you should look at FIRST in a basic Google Analytics Audit.


1. Check your visitors flow

Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 3.33.26 PM

Find it by selecting “Audience” from the left hand menu, then Visitors Flow. This view allows you to see a visual representation of where users enter your site most often, how they get there, and what they do when they get there. Select “Source/Medium” from the green drop down menu to see a breakdown of where your traffic comes from. “Direct” refers to users who type your URL directly into their browser’s address bar or click on a bookmark or link to get to your page. Google Organic refers to Google searches in which the user clicks on a link to your website located in the Organic portion of the search results page. Google CPC refers to searches in which the user clicks on a link to your website located in the yellow top or side portion of the search results page or clicks on a link to your site from the Google Display network.

Most folks are concerned with their overall traffic numbers. How many page views? How many visits did we get? The visitors flow tells you much more important data that this. It’s important to remember when evaluating how your organization can improve, not to worry about the volume of traffic, but to pay closer attention to the traffic flow and engagement levels.

2. Don’t forget to change dates and “compare to” 

A screenshot of the Visitor Flow page in Google Analytics after changing the comparative dates

One thing marketing directors can glean from Google Analytics data is how effective a past or recent campaign was. Clicking the dropdown arrow next to the date range in the top right corner allows the user to compare time periods. From the visitors flow, it inserts percentages to display the differences. From the Audience Overview, it shows clean line and chart graphs by day. This is a valuable feature to use before clicking anywhere else in analytics, is it’s important to compare various time periods, and also be conscious of the period of time you’re looking at while combing through your data.

Check back on Cabedge.com later for more information on how to draw conclusions from Google Analytics to make more data driven strategic organizational decisions.

Dig in by identifying a pattern or peak day in your traffic, then drilling down to referral sources to see where that traffic came from, and cross reference with key operational initiatives – such as a new employee press release, a community event or press conference – or perhaps a new TV campaign that began to run around those dates.

3. Acquisition (formerly called Referral Sources)

Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 11.24.47 PM

Clicking on “All Sources” will give you an overview of of all traffic coming to your site and what it does when it gets there. It’s not only important to look at volume and evaluate what marketing efforts might be driving the most traffic, but it’s equally as important to look at things like time-on-site (average visit duration), bounce rate, percentage of new visits and Goal Completions. These factors truly represent the “engagement” effectiveness of your site and can help marketing directors evaluate more than just the quality of their website.  Using these reports, marketers can get even more valuable information, such as which ad spends provide the most ROI.

4. Goals and Funnels

Now located under “Behavior” after the recent Google Analytics changes, one of the most important things to do on all websites is to set up Goals and Funnels as well as “events.” This allows for both URL-based tracking funnels (via Goals) and tracking pixels to be placed on key portions of your site (via Events). Goals and Funnels allow for the “Events Flow” to be used to see how users are responding to desired conversion paths (such as shopping cart check-outs or “request more info”), or where they’re dropping off. Additionally, the “Events Flow” view will show you where your visitors are entering your conversion funnel from. For example, if you’re running Google Adwords campaigns as well as Facebook campaigns and hitting it hard on organic search efforts, you can measure each against one another very easily.

5. In-Site Analytics

A screenshot of the In-page Analytics page in Google Analytics

A nice way to see where users are clicking on your pages. The percentage view enlightens you to the most popular spots on each page, and takes the guessing game out of your decision making with real data on how users interact with your design layout.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s easy to get lost in Google Analytics and spend way too much time trying to figure out what it all means. But if you simplify it to these five steps and look into it once every two months, it can drastically help your decision making process as it relates to all areas of your integrated marketing strategy and strategic business plan implementation

Paul Hickey is the managing director of Cabedge Design, LLC – an Atiba Company – and chief marketing geek for the Atiba Family. He specializes in strategic web design, organic and paid search, brand creation and helping clients and partners accomplish business goals. Paul loves writing and communicating, and helping drive relevant traffic to websites. Follow him on Twitter @cabedge.

Paul on Google+


Want more Google? Check out these posts!

Bring Google Fiber to Nashville. . . Please?

SEO Moneyball: Why It Pays to Rank on Google

James and Jeff’s Excellent Google Adventure

PubCon Las Vegas 2011 – Day 3: Google+ and Google Analytics

Google+ (Google Plus) and Google Analytics Soon to Be Integrated: A PubCon Session Quick Summary

Mr. Google, Matt Cutts discussing Google and search
Mr. Google himself, Matt Cutts

Upon entering the Google Analytics session on Wednesday I was honestly shocked at the amount of folks that were there to learn more about Analytics. Literally packed to the gills, there was almost no room, however I was able to squeeze in and settled down to learn as much as possible.

Unfortunately there weren’t a whole lot of the physical applications that I was able to take away from the session. Most of the tools/tips we are already utilizing, however it was brought to my attention during the session that Google is preparing to link up everyone’s Google+ pages with Analytics. This is HUGE, as it will have all kinds of connotations from a client, personal and in-house perspective.

The most obvious thought that came to my mind relates to the main difference between Facebook, twitter and Google+. Search engines see Facebook and Twitter as private websites, this means that all of your browsing within these are not visible to Google bots, however pairing a social profile based site with a search engine and then giving it the tracking ability of analytics would have huge opportunities.

Another takeaway from the session was that the “old,” layout of Google Analytics will soon be retired (beginning of next year) so you will be forced to swap over if you haven’t already.

Other than that, the short session was really just an exercise in patience as the gentleman behind me proceeded to leave his messenger notifications turned up so every few minutes of the presentation was punctuated with the lovely dings of incoming chat messages.