The Many Faces of Content

 

This is a follow-up to my last post, Testing AdWords Ads in Google Analytics. In that post, I talked about how you can cross-segment by Content in the AdWords Analysis report to find out more information about your AdWords ads (along with the limitations in doing so).

However, there are some more things this can show you, depending on the report you are viewing:


AdWords Ad Titles
This is the use I covered in my previous post. If you cross-segment by Content, you may see the titles of your AdWords ads. This is most useful in the AdWords Analysis report, although they will show up anytime you cross-segment and AdWords traffic is involved (i.e. with Top Content).

Manual Ad Tags (utm_content)
This is what shows up if you have tagged any of your ads with the utm_content tag. The utm-content tag will show up as the ad’s identifier within Google Analytics. This is useful if you are testing ads for non-AdWords campaigns. For example, you would use the utm_content tag for tracking Yahoo ads, banner ads, or different versions of an email newsletter. For more information about this very useful tag, and for a free builder tool you can use to tag your ads, visit our URL builder tool. An appropriate report to look for these tags would be the CPC vs. Organic report or the Source Conversion report. You would also see these in the ad specific reports, like Overall A/B Testing.

Referring Site Pages
This is the tricky one of the three. When a referring site sends you traffic, the page on the referring site that the user came from (taken from the request stem) will show up when you cross-segment by Content. This is also what you see when you drill down in the Referral Conversion report. Use this to find unwanted traffic sources.

It’s also very useful if you are getting self-referrals (referrals from your own site) in your reports. Use cross-segmenting to find out which pages are causing you problems!

So how do you tell the difference? It’s pretty straightforward. If you see an ad title, it’s most likely from an AdWords ad. If you only see a word, it’s probably a manual tag. And finally, if you see a page name or part of a URL, then you can bet it is the request stem from a referring site.

So go forth with confidence, and no longer be fooled by that tricky little Content field.