PR Tooklit: Optimize PR Reporting with a Custom Google Analytics Referral Traffic Report


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How are you currently reporting results for clients? Most often, public relations firms provide results through coverage secured, and circulation or traffic numbers associated with the placement. However, with access to a client Google Analytics (GA) account, you can provide added value by pulling a few custom reports and understand more about how those results (as well as social media activities) are translating through website activity.

Over the next three weeks, I’m going to share how to tailor GA insights based on referral traffic, conversion goals, and keywords.  In this first installment, I’ll walk you through how to create referral traffic reports to help you measure the traffic generated to your client’s website as a result of an online placement, all the way through to how many sales can be directly attributed to that post.

Specifically you’ll learn how to:

  • track the sites referring the most traffic (or a specific site) to a website

  • understand how that incoming traffic is engaging with your site

  • set goals and track goal completion percentage

And, if what you’ve read thus far might as well be Google gibberish, don’t worry, this article is written for a non-techy audience. However, if you are unfamiliar with GA. start by reviewing  Google’s guide or this helpful article.

Step 1: Choose Goals

Although the tracking goals may vary depending upon your agency’s specific goals, here are some examples of universally helpful metrics to get you started:

  • Amount of Time on Site: the time visitors are spending on your site once they enter

  • Particular Pages Visited: which pages are attracting the most traffic

  • Number of Pageviews: the number of pages a user visits after entering your site

  • Conversion Rates: How often are visitors signing up for email, clicking your Facebook icon or making a purchase?

To set up a goal go to the Admin section of Google Analytics (top right hand corner), select your profile name (normally your website name) and then select the goals section.

Step 2: Track Goal Completion and Conversion Rates

Once you’ve created your goals, you can begin to track the sources of referral traffic alongside corresponding goal completion and goal conversion rates. This will tell you how site traffic from say, or Pinterest is engaging with a website, and how that may be different from traffic coming in from a google search. This is helpful if you want to be able to say to a client – people coming in from that Fabsugar article spend stay on the site 50% longer than average. Or, 1/3 of the people that clicked through from that Who What Wear article made a purchase.

Here’s how you set that up.

  1. The Referral Source: One the left hand side of your report, you will see a rank-order list of referral sites. Take note of the sources with particularly high referral numbers. Scroll through to see if any recent media coverage is also trending in your top referrers.

  1. Goal Completion: This is the total number of goals completed for each referral source. For example, if one of your set goals is to have visitors click the “Where to Buy” link, the result of how many times this happened will be displayed to the right of a referral source.

  1. Goal Conversion Rate: This is the total number of visitors that arrived on your site who are actually completing a goal compared to the people that are just “stopping by”.

Step 3: Analyze the Data

There are multiple ways for you to view the data and filter the information you wish to track. Select specific sources to view them individually or compare them over time across any of the above metrics or goals. The visual at the top of your report screen can be used to give you a helpful snapshot of visits, goals completed, and conversion rates over a specific timeframe. Try playing around with some of the viewing preferences to see what conceptually helps you understand your reports.

Google Analytics Referral Report

Pull the reports you want, take a screenshot, or import into Excel for more fine-tuning. Of course, another alternative is to find out who is doing the website reporting for your client and request that these goals be tracked, and that you have access to both GA and their monthly reports. The more you can understand the role site analytics play, the better your  ability to provide strategic insights for your clients.

Curious to know when the best time is to use social media to drive site traffic or send out an email newsletter? Stay tuned for next week’s article for help creating a report for time of day and day of the week tracking.

Photo Credit: miss pupik

For more information about how Tribe Dynamics helps PR professionals manage and monitor influencer outreach, take advantage of this exclusive offer for PR Couture readers.

Christina Goswiller

Christina Goswiller

LA native Christina Goswiller traded palm trees for the Stanford tree, where she studied political science and graduated with honors in 2012. Since her move to San Francisco, she has fallen in love with the entrepreneurial spirit of the startup world. Christina is particularly interested in the growing importance of technology within the fashion industry, which she follow through her work with Tribe Dynamics.