How to Evaluate Your Paid Listings in Five Minutes or Less

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Stopwatch by Casey Marshall
Stopwatch by Casey Marshall

A frequent concern among innkeepers is how to evaluate the effectiveness of B&B directories and other paid listings. Google Analytics provides a simple but effective way to help you see this with only a few minutes effort.

Segment Everything

Google Analytics ninja Avinash Kaushik points out the value of Advanced Segments, saying, “Segment everything.” This is great advice, and it is the approach we will use to clarify the results we see from our directories or paid listings. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Log in to your Google Analytics account, and click the Advanced Segments button near the top left.

2. To the bottom right of the new section which appears is a button reading “New Custom Segment” – click it.

New Custom Segment button

3. Give the new segment a name that will help you identify it by filling in the Name field at the top.

Name the segment

4. Add the Source fields you want to include. This will be the domain names of the directories or paid listings you want to include. First set the green section to Source, then add the domain name to the directory to be included. Google Analytics will suggest domains from your existing Sources as you type.

Add Source domains

5. Continue by adding “OR” statements, set the “dimension” (the green part) to Source for each additional Source directory you want to track.

Additional Sources

6. If you want, you can test your segment by clicking the “Test Segment” button to see how many matches each of your conditions (sources, in this case) it matches.

Test Segment

7. Save the segment by clicking the Save button, and you’ll see your usual search results are now limited to only the sources listed in your new advanced segment. To turn it on or off, go to the Advanced Segments button and check (or un-check) the box next to the segment you want on or off.

If you want to create another segment for other paid listings, just create a new “Paid Listings” segment, and repeat the steps above.

Once you have the segments set, if you activate one or more, all your Standard reports will show the segmented information, so you’ll be able to see referrals from the paid listings and compare them to each other directly. You can also compare goal conversions and ecommerce data from one paid listing to another. Great information!

For more information, Google’s Help Center can provide more details on Advanced Segments and other topics of interest.

Comments

  • Thank you, Scott, for a great primer on how to use Google Analytics to assess which directories are working for innkeepers. This is great stuff that we talk about, but here are instructions that make a geeky process easy for anyone to understand if they use their analytics (which they should!). We’re passing the article on on our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/thebbteam.

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