What Your Mom Didn’t Tell You About Your Funnel and UTMs. Google Analytics for SaaS companies
Google Analytics is a must have for any company but it’s absolutely essential for a software as a service company. In a SaaS company, vendor lock in is low, switching costs are low, and commitments are frequently made on a month-to-month basis.
If you have a SaaS business you need to keep track of several key metrics. How can you see where your money is coming from? It’s important to have a comprehensive marketing operations system set up, with integration from your online analytics and CRM system, as well as offline tracking, which we will discuss in a later post.
Just as we wrote on a previous post about estimating Customer Lifetime Value, you need:
If you are a SaaS company, you should:
Determine your business goals
Define your core conversions (sales, downloads, sign ups, inquiries, renewals and registrations)
Set up your conversions and goals. From Google Analytics, under Conversions, Goals, Set Up Goals.
Determine the funnel and path of your users. Are they visiting your product page and then checking your pricing page and then dropping out? Go to fill out a form but stop, because the form is too long? See what is going on so you can change it.
Conversions are defined by Marketing Sherpa as “‘The point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action.’ In other words, conversion is simply getting someone to respond to your call-to-action.”
Using Google Analytics, you can then determine how many customers convert and determine your retention rate.
You can view your conversions and goals in the Conversions -> Goals -> Overview dashboard. Complete documentation on how to set up goals is available at: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1032415?hl=en
From the Admin tab, in the view column, click Goals, click New Goal, and then enter a URL that the user sees after pursuing the desired action.
To ensure that your links and conversions are tracked from outside, any external link should be tracked with UTM codes. Links that are missing this information may not be visible in Google Analytics dashboards.
UTM codes are:
Google makes the tagging easy with their URL builder: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033867?hl=en
According to Google: “The URL builder helps you add parameters to URLs you use in Custom Campaigns. When users click one of the custom links, the unique parameters are sent to your Google Analytics account, so you can identify the URLs that are most effective in attracting users to your content.”
UTM codes include (at a minimum):
Source (Where the link originated – newsletter, name of the website, etc.)
Medium (What type of link is it? An email? Website referral? Social media site?)
Campaign (What is the specific campaign? Your January sales newsletter?
One blog does a nice job of explaining the mysterious UTM codes:
An Urchin Traffic Monitor (UTM) code is the way that businesses track sales from their origination point (like a tweet, email or a brochure) down the funnel to their conversion page. Every audience development campaign is packed with UTM codes to see which campaigns perform best. In Google Analytics, these codes can be tracked under Audience > Campaigns > All Campaigns.
In physical media, a business could send a postcard that promotes an easy-to-remember custom URL. The business could then redirect that URL to a new one that includes a UTM code. That UTM code can be tracked in Google Analytics to tell you how many sales came directly from your postcard effort.
In digital media it’s even easier. You can include UTM codes in Tweets, Facebook posts and email to keep track of where all of your sales originate. It’s the best way to discover your most effective sales funnels.
A typical URL with a UTM tracking code looks something like this:
The source is where your link is hosted, like search, affiliate website or email campaign name or anywhere else.
The medium is how it’s delivered, like a postcard, PPC, email or social media.
The campaign is typically what you’re promoting, or the special way you’re promoting it (like a holiday sale).
If you’re using this UTM code to monitor PPC, you can add a value for term, which can be the keyword you’re targeting. If you’re A/B testing, the value for content would be a variation between the pages you’re testing, like “headline” or “image”.
Note that if you are using Google AdWords, you should enable auto tagging and Google will fill in these values automatically, ensuring optimal tracking.
Proper tagging can then integrate with your CRM system, such as Salesforce. If you have tagging enabled, you can then integrate Google Analytics with your CRM and build views and dashboards in your CRM.
Within Google Analytics, you can then view your conversion funnel by either using:
Reverse Goal Path
Both are under the Conversions -> Goals menu.
Under the Funnel Visualization, identify the goal you want to see, the steps the user should take to achieve this goal, and the funnel path will be visualized. Google Analytics provides extensive documentation for using this feature.
Resource to Learn More about Google Analytics