In an effort to further support our customers’ unique reporting needs, our digital team has created some custom reporting options to help you more easily, and accurately, measure how your Terminus advertising campaigns impact website traffic inside of Google Analytics.
In this article, we’ll give an overview of what these reporting options are, how to install them in your instance of Google Analytics, and give a few examples of how these options can be used.
In this article you'll find:
- Common Challenges with Google Analytics Reporting
- Overview of Terminus’s Custom Reporting Options
- How to Install in Google Analytics
- How to Use Terminus Custom Reporting
Note: The instructions and information in this article are specific to users of Google Analytics V3.
A UTM is a snippet of simple code that you can add to the end of a URL to track the performance of specific campaigns and content. In order for these reporting options to work as expected within Google Analytics, you must be using UTMs with your Terminus advertising landing pages, with UTM source = terminus. For example:
For more information on UTM best practices, check out these resources:
Common Challenges with Google Analytics Reporting
Google Analytics is a standard reporting tool used by digital marketing professionals to track and analyze their website traffic. While it can provide deeper insight into user behavior and overall performance of digital channels, it’s important to ensure that you’re looking at the right types of reports and metrics when it comes to evaluating your digital advertising campaigns.
A commonly used reporting view in Google Analytics is the Source/Medium report:
In this view, users can see a breakout of website performance by traffic source. It includes default traffic sources, like direct traffic and organic search, as well as custom traffic sources, identified via UTM parameters, like Terminus or LinkedIn.
Commonly evaluated metrics in this report include:
- Users: Users who have initiated at least one session during the date range. (Learn more about how Analytics calculates the number of users here).
- New Users: The number of first-time users during the selected date range. (Learn more about how Analytics calculates the number of users here).
- Sessions: Total number of Sessions within the date range. A session is the period time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc. All usage data (Screen Views, Events, Ecommerce, etc.) is associated with a session.
- Bounce Rate: The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page. A bounced session has a duration of 0 seconds. (Learn more about how bounce rate is determined here).
- Pages / Session: Pages/Session (Average Page Depth) is the average number of pages viewed during a session. Repeated views of a single page are counted.
- Avg. Session Duration: The average length of a Session.
Some common challenges we hear from customers who use Google Analytics include:
High Bounce Rates
- In Analytics, a bounce is calculated as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests (re: visiting any other pages).
- If someone visits your website from a Terminus ad, interacts with the page (for example, watches a video, fills out a form, or downloads a PDF), but does not navigate to another page, it will count as a 100% bounce. Unfortunately, unless you have event tracking set up, Google can’t tell the difference between a good interaction and a bad one, which is why Bounce Rate can be a misleading metric.
- When evaluating your bounce rates, Google offers this advice:
“If the success of your site depends on users viewing more than one page, then, yes, a high bounce rate is bad. For example, if your home page is the gateway to the rest of your site (e.g., news articles, product pages, your checkout process) and a high percentage of users are viewing only your home page, then you don’t want a high bounce rate.
On the other hand, if you have a single-page site like a blog, or offer other types of content for which single-page sessions are expected, then a high bounce rate is perfectly normal.”
- Advertisers will often direct users to a dedicated landing page with a specific offer or message, with the goal of them taking action on that page, so high bounce rates can be common.
- More suggestions for analyzing bounce rates can be found here.
Low Avg. Session Duration
- Session Duration measures how long users spend interacting with your site (on average) before exiting.
- Avg. Session Duration doesn’t indicate how long a user spent consuming content on a single page. For instance, if a user only visits one page on your site (which will count as a bounced visit), but spends five minutes on the page, the session duration will be calculated as 0:00. While the user may have been highly engaged with that page, the session duration will not reflect this.
- Avg. Session Duration also doesn’t necessarily indicate the total length of time a user spent on your site during their visit. This is because the time spent on the last page of the session is typically not factored into the session duration calculation. This is why Terminus focuses on Avg. Time on Page in our custom reporting options.
- When evaluating Avg. Session Duration, the same logic for bounce rate applies; if the success of your site depends on users viewing more than one page, then a low session duration may be bad. But, if you’re directing users to a single-page site, or offer other types of content for which single-page sessions are expected, then a low session duration may be normal.
Ultimately, we would recommend that Terminus customers rely on our in-app reporting options for campaign performance, tactic performance, and view-through visits and conversions to evaluate the true impact of Terminus advertising on brand awareness, account coverage, and ROI.
For Google Analytics users that are looking for more insight into the web activity and user behavior associated with your Terminus ad traffic, we’ve created two out-of-the-box reporting options.
Overview of Terminus’s Custom Reporting Options
Terminus Campaign Performance Report
In Google Analytics, a Custom Report is a report created by the user where they select the dimensions (City and Browser, for example) and metrics (Sessions, Pageviews, and Bounce Rate, for example) and decide how they should be displayed.
The first option we’ve created for our customers is a simple, self-contained report that can be installed directly into your instance of GA. Once installed, this report will live under “Custom Reports” in the Customization section.
This report will only show web activity where source=terminus (as defined by your UTM parameters). The default will provide a general overview of web activity, and includes:
- Source: The sources which referred traffic. Includes sources identified via utm_source (This will always = Terminus).
- Pageviews: The total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.
- Avg. Time on Page: The average amount of time users spent viewing a specified page or screen, or set of pages or screens.
- Our custom report will display a user’s actual time on page, vs. Session Duration. In Google Analytics, multiple pages must be viewed to count as one session; otherwise, it is recorded as 100% bounce, and 0 session duration. Avg. Time on Page, however, calculates the total time spent on the page, from the moment the page loads.
- Bounce Rate: The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page. A bounced session has a duration of 0 seconds.
- Any sessions with a 0% Session Duration / 100% Bounce Rate are automatically filtered out of this report’s “Average Time on Page” column. This eliminates the Media Trust Verification traffic that happens due to us running on premium inventory.
Clicking on “terminus” under Source will give you a break out of all individual campaigns where source=Terminus.
As stated in the prerequisites, seeing data in this view will be dependent on whether your Terminus advertising UTMs were set up properly. This would show traffic for any page where source=terminus and campaign=[campaign name]. For example:
Finally, clicking on an individual campaign name will should you a breakout of traffic by device:
Terminus Custom Segment
In Google Analytics, Segments let you isolate and analyze subsets of data so you can examine and respond to the component trends in your business.
We’ve also created a custom segment that you can install to filter Terminus campaign traffic within standard Google Analytics reports. While the custom report will only show web analytics for source=Terminus, a segment will allow you to compare Terminus traffic against all of your other traffic sources. This can be especially useful for comparing against other similar channels, like Terminus vs. LinkedIn advertising, or comparing specific channels against all web traffic.
For example, if you go to the Behavior > Site Content > All Pages report, you’ll be able to see activity for all tracked pages across your website. By default, this report will show for “All Users.”
Adding the Terminus custom segment will allow you to compare all traffic where source=Terminus against overall performance across the site:
In the example above, you can see that, although Terminus is a small subset of the total web traffic this site gets, it has a higher average time on page, and lower bounce rate, than overall traffic across all sources.
How to Install in Google Analytics
We’ve made the install process easy for customers, and have provided two install links below. A few notes about these custom reporting options:
- Clicking the install links will only make them available in the installing user’s view of Google Analytics. You can learn more about sharing custom reports with other users here.
- Installing these reporting options will not grant Terminus access to your instance of Google Analytics, nor will it alter any of your current settings.
Installing the Custom Report
To install the Terminus Campaign Performance report, click the link below:
Once you click the link, you will be redirected to this view, where you will select which instance of Google Analytics you’d like to install the report in (this will most likely be the “All Web Site Data” version of your main site). You can also rename the report, if so desired.
Once you have selected the desired website, select “Create.”
Once the report has been created, you will automatically be redirected to the reporting view. To navigate back to this report at any time, go to Customization > Custom Reports > Terminus Campaign Performance.
Installing the Custom Segment
To install the Terminus Custom Segment, click the link below:
Once you click the link, you will be redirected to this view, where, again, you will select which instance of Google Analytics you’d like to install the segment in (this will most likely be the “All Web Site Data” version of your main site). You can also rename the segment, if so desired.
Once you have selected the desired website, select “Create.”
After selecting “Create,” you’ll be navigated to the Segment builder in the Admin view. By default, this segment will display for “Users,” rather than “Sessions.” But, you will have the option to change that, if desired:
“Sessions” will only show traffic that comes directly from Terminus ad clicks. “Users” will show traffic from users that clicked Terminus ads, and will also capture traffic from users that came back to the website later (from source=Terminus), similar to a view-through visit. We’d recommend using “Users” to get the most complete snapshot of your Terminus traffic.
Once your settings are in place, select “Save.” To add this segment to a reporting view, simply select “Add Segment” at the top of the page:
And find “Terminus Campaign Performance”:
After you hit apply, your reporting view should be updated to look like this:
You can review or edit your segment at any time by navigating to Admin > Segments:
How to Use Terminus Custom Reporting
The reporting options we’ve created for Google Analytics are designed to provide a high-level analysis of the web traffic generated by your Terminus advertising campaigns. Here are a few ideas for how you might use these:
- Use the Campaign Performance report to evaluate the web traffic coming from individual advertising campaigns, and identify areas for potential landing page or ad
- Compare Terminus traffic against an “All Users” segment (everyone on the website) to see how Terminus traffic compares to every source driving traffic to your website.
- Compare Terminus traffic against other traffic sources, like Organic, Paid, LinkedIn (if you have custom segments created for other channels), etc.
- Compare Avg. time on page, bounce rate, etc. across these traffic sources.
- Compare traffic on the most visited or highest value pages on your website.
Is any of the traffic in these custom reporting options filtered?
- These reporting options will include 100% of Terminus traffic (i.e., ad clicks), represented by page views.
Can the custom report be shared with other team members?
- By default, installing these links will only make the reporting options available in the installing user’s view of Google Analytics, but they can be shared with other GA users on your account. You can learn more about sharing custom reports with other users here.
Will Terminus have access to my instance of Google Analytics once these reports are installed?
- No; installing the report and custom segment will not grant Terminus access to your instance of Google Analytics, nor will it alter any of your current settings.