Case Study: Atypical Tracking Solutions Provide Detailed, Advanced Conversion Metrics

By | 2017-06-16T12:39:58+00:00 July 30th, 2015|Categories: Case Studies|

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Custom Tracking Options that Provide Data Beyond the Out-of-the-Box Offerings of GA and Other Data Collection Suites.

Challenge:  Our client needed more data on assisted conversions created by pay-per-click and other advertising campaigns. They needed to know how many conversions were influenced by these campaigns, not just based on the final visit, which is where Google Analytics attributes the goal. The data being provided by GA for assisted conversions appeared to be low and our client needed accurate conversion metrics to make informed business decisions.

  • Client Facts:
  • For Profit Medical School
  • Valued $115M in 2008
  • Faculty size greater than 200
  • Over 2,200 students from 24 countries
  • Custom Goal Creation:
  • Create tracking functionality that could double check and expand on the Google Analytics data
  • Allow for the new data to be displayed in an easy-to-use manner


Business Solution:  In 2011, Google Analytics provided an update that included mulit-channel goal funnels. For the first time, this free suite offered the ability to see how different sources and campaigns interacted with each other in creating a goal conversion. For a client whose goals often had a lead time of several months (such as for application conversions), several visits were often vital to creating conversions. The ability to track all of the sources/campaigns that contributed to those conversions are invaluable for determining true return on investment.

However, for this client, the assisted conversion total for select sources seemed low based upon total conversions and total inbound visits for those sources. As such, Beacon developed a custom cookie to track users who arrived via these sources at any time in the visit process. Beacon also developed an output function that would send data to the Google Analytics interface whenever a user with this cookie completed a goal conversion. This provided the ability to track this data against the assisted conversions data already present within Google Analytics to better verify the data collected.

Results: After installing the code for the tracking cookie, Beacon let the data accumulate for a month. The results were surprising: Google Analytics was underreporting assisted conversions via pay-per-click by almost 50%. Beacon was able to use this data to make PPC recommendations and adjust budgeting in accordance with the “real” numbers compared to lesser budgets that would have been used based strictly on Google Analytics data.

This is another great example of how deeper analytics can benefit your business and allow you to make data-driven decisions.

About the Author:

Logan Ray
Logan is an accomplished marketing professional with nearly a decade of experience. As a Digital Marketing Strategist at Beacon, he heads our SEO team and drives Google Analytics strategy for higher education clients like Colorado State University Pueblo and California State University East Bay. A recognized SEO expert, Logan leads SEO workshop sessions at industry conferences and presents strategy and tactics to graduate students in the Wake Forest University BSBA program. Logan is Google Analytics-certified and holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.