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The (Third) 2 Google Analytics Tips Every Resort Needs to Know & Apply

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Two weeks ago I started a series of Google Analytics tips by just about the best in the biz, Steve Butcher. Specific to skiing with loads of resort experience and insight behind them, here’s 5-6 (check out 3-4).

Tip#5: Tag Your External Email, Banner and (Non-AdWords) PayPerClick Campaigns
If your Google AdWords account data is connected to your Google Analytics account, you will see the campaign tagging variables in GA reports for those ads. These include:

  • Campaign Source
  • Campaign Medium (‘cpc’ for AdWords)
  • Campaign Term
  • Campaign Content
  • Campaign Name

If you are sending traffic in from other external sources like broadcast emails, external banners, other pay-per-click sources, you should be tagging the URLs that send traffic to your site with the same variables. You should also be using a similar scheme so you can actually compare marketing spends across campaigns AND sources.

In a pinch, you can use Google’s simple URL Builder to enter the URLs for those external sources and generate a custom URL. Most of the time, we custom code

Some broadcast email providers (Blue Hornet and Mailchimp) provide a mechanism to append the campaign tagging automatically to every URL in your emails.


In the example above, we have a skyline banner on sending traffic for our last minute season pass campaign to our home page.

IMPORTANT: To really compare and contrast different marketing spends, you should really organize all of your marketing campaigns. We like to start clients off with a simple spreadsheet with these variables as well as the start/finish dates, goals, url and even description of the campaign.


Tip #6: Make Event Tracking in Google Analytics a Powerful Ally
Google Analytics (GA) has always been based around “page tracking”: your browser renders a web page, the tracking snippet loads and data about what page the visitor is on, where they were before this page, what time it is, what mobile device they are on, what operating system they use, etc is all processed into the reporting dashboard.

Years ago, if you had a non-pageview you wanted to track, such as a Flash player button push or a PDF download, you fired a ‘virtual pageview’.

The new GA allows a much more robust means of tracking nearly everything that isn’t a pageview as an Event AND organize them. Imagine being able to tie all that great visitor data to things like:

  • Flash events
  • Button Clicks
    • Navigation
    • Widgets
    • Social Network icons
  • File downloads (PDFs, JPGs, etc)
  • Banner clicks
  • Outbound referrals
  • YouTube video Plays, Pauses, Stops
  • Scroll depth tracking

GA includes a method called trackEvent that allows for 5 parameters to be sent with an event into the reporting system:

  • category
  • action
  • ppt_lable
  • opt_value
  • opt_noninetraction

_trackEvent(category, action, opt_label, opt_value, opt_noninteraction)

Using this method enables you to track object usage on your site pages and categorize them.

You call the method when an ‘event’ happens on your site, and it passes the desired parameters through to the tracking cookie.

Steve also sent a real-world example of this being used. It’s a little too long for this post, so I’ll share it soon. Stay tuned.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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