|As a marketing manager, if you could compare the cost effectiveness of the various channels of marketing you deploy, accurately and in a comparative manner, how valuable would it be to your marketing decision making? Towards addressing this need, in October 2012, Google Analytics announced the beta version of the Google Analytics Cost Analysis tool.|
In its present form the Google Analytics Cost Analysis tool lets you import cost data from any digital source like PPC, display advertising, affiliate marketing, social media and SEO in order to measure each for a return on investment comparison.
Accessing the Cost Analysis Tool
The cost analysis tool is an addition to Google Analytics and is available to all users of Google Analytics. When you sign into Google and open any of your website’s profiles, you will find Cost Analysis as the last link under Traffic Sources in the left navigation.
Using the Marketing Cost Analysis Tool
In order to use the Google Analytics Cost Analysis Tool, you first need to upload the cost data. There are two ways to do this:
- You can use a self-service API to upload the cost data
- You can use third party applications like Next Analytics
The cost data upload feature allows you to import the campaign costs of non-Google paid campaigns — in CSV format — into the cost analysis tool. The Google Analytics Cost Analysis tool combines this cost data with the data it already has on user interaction and reports on the return on investment (ROI) of each campaign
Handling Cost Data
A best practice would be to make sure each of your data sources are separated as custom data sources. If you run a PPC campaign on Yahoo!, have an affiliate marketing partner, etc., you should ideally create a custom data source for your Yahoo! campaign and a separate one for your affiliate marketing campaign. This way you will be able to manage your data sources better. For instance, if you wanted to delete one of the data sources in future, it would be easier to do so if each of your cost data sources were uploaded as a separate custom data source.
Marketing Cost Analysis Reporting
The clicks/cost report in the tool lets you compare the visit, cost, and revenue related data of all your paid online marketing channels. You can get a comparison of how much each campaign costs, what the revenue from each campaign is, calculate the ROI and compare the maargins you get from each marketing campaign. Effectively letting you compare each digital marketing channel’s cost effectiveness in your marketing mix.
The tool is still in its BETA stage, but could emerge as a useful for marketing managers to compare the cost effectiveness of different marketing channels in order to refine the budgets towards maximizing revenues and margins.
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