We all know that Google Analytics (GA) can give us valuable insight into WHAT people are doing when they visit our websites. We also know that our member/customer databases contain information about our prospects and clients. Wouldn’t it be great if you could integrate the two systems to gain more insight and knowledge into WHO is visiting your site?
Well guess what? Using custom dimensions, you can integrate your CRM with Google Analytics and send demographic data to Google Analytics.
But first, let me be clear that GA does not allow personally identifiable data to be sent to GA. Doing so is against the GA Terms of Service. What you can do is send demographic information that tells you about the categories of people who visit your site. Here’s an example:
I’m working with several trade associations that want to know if members are visiting their website. They can certainly track traffic to the members-only portions of their sites, but most organizations make the bulk of their content and services public. So how does it work? Using custom dimensions, we modify the login on client sites so that we make additional web service calls to the AMS or CRM. This information is then stored in a cookie that GA checks whenever people visit the website. For most associations, I recommend pulling back:
- Member Type
- Organization Type
- Size or Segment
- Is Board (i.e., is this person a member of the Board?)
- Is Committee (i..e, is this person a committee member?)
- Is Primary Contact (i.e., is this person the owner of the relationship with the association, probably the person who approve membership? this applies mainly to trade associations)
- Individual Role (e.g., CEO, Assistant to the CEO, CMO, CFO, CIO, etc.)
Once this tracking is in place, when looking at a report, you click on the Secondary Dimensions dropdown, then click on Custom Dimensions. You then select the custom dimension you’d like overlaid on whatever report you are looking at. For example, I like to look at the home page traffic, then find out what percentage of home page traffic came from logged in people, the breakdown by member type, org type, is primary, is board, etc. One trade association gets virtually no CEO traffic on their website, while another gets quite a bit.
A few things to note here: the data must be in your AMS, it must be structured enough to send properly to GA and it needs to be populated. We can do all the tracking in the world but if your AMS is not properly tracking individual role or org type, it’s not worth trying to pull this data to send to GA. Second, if your members are not bothering to login, you won’t have custom dimension data that is useful. So devote yourselves to getting members to login so that you have useful information about who they are and what they do when they visit your website.
How can Google Analytics help YOU understand your stakeholders better?