Google Analytics… help!!

Google Analytics

Totally lost on Google Analytics? We get it. It’s a lot to comprehend and with so much to gain from a FREE platform, we know the pressure is on you to deliver the data to your nonprofit organization. Don’t fret - we’re here to help!


Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tool that allows for the addition and update of website tags (such as conversion tracking, site analytics, remarketing, etc.) quickly and easily without needing to edit website code. Once the GTM container is on the site, codes can be added into the container through the GTM platform and GA E-commerce can be implemented.


We recommend creating a new GA view which excludes website traffic coming from internal offices. This will help track how external prospects and donors interact with the website without skewing the data since internal traffic patterns are typically different from external traffic patterns. This can be done by using a filter to exclude traffic by IP address.

Google Ads Linking:

We recommend linking your Google Ads accounts to Google Analytics. Google Ads and Analytics both provide important information on website visitors, but independently they don’t provide the full picture. Google Ads shows what drives users to your website while Analytics will give valuable insight into what prospects/donors do after they arrive. Linking both accounts will allow for more informed decisions and improve optimization.


Creating new “Audiences” in GA allows for remarketing in Google Ads. Using audiences allows us to get much more granular in how we remarket to users. For example, we will be able to target:

  • All visitors to the site with a time spent on page over 30 seconds to account for any bounces and irrelevant traffic

  • All visitors to only donation forms as we know a previous donor is more likely to convert and copy can be tailored to this audience specifically

In Page Analytics:

Using the Chrome extension for In-Page Analytics enables a reporting feature that allows you to see your traffic behavioral data overlaid on your actual website – highlighting which internal links, navigation, and actions are most used. Similar to heatmaps, this shows where users click on a landing page and can influence design and layout of landing pages.

E-commerce tracking:

Installing E-commerce tracking on your organization’s site allows the correlation of donation information with website usage data such as sessions, bounce rate, traffic source, medium, landing pages, etc. This information gives insight into which donation forms are driving income and which are not. As part of the E-commerce tracking set up, we recommend that the following fields also be defined allowing for deeper reporting at the donation form level and even one-time versus monthly giving.

  • Product: Donations

  • Product SKU: Donation form URLs or path

  • Product Category: One-time vs monthly

  • Source/Medium: The source and medium defined in GA should be set by UTM codes. We recommend that your organization use UTM codes in all digital efforts immediately if you are not already doing so.

UTM Codes:

UTM codes are text snippets that are appended to the end of URLs that can help track digital marketing and fundraising efforts. Regular UTM usage will allow for quick reporting on the effectiveness of campaigns. The following parameters are recommended:

  • Campaign: This should accurately describe the campaign and should be unique to each campaign on a fiscal year basis. For example, “fy17newsletter”.

  • Source: The source should define the segment, effort number, and test as necessary – “1709newsletterfbpost1”.

  • Medium: This should define the marketing/fundraising medium, for example: cpc, banner, email, social.

Here’s an example of a fake URL with UTM codes:


Dashboards are collections of widgets that visualize data helping get a quick overview of campaigns and performance. Once GA is properly set up and UTM codes are gathering information, you can set up and share dashboards for data such as social, SEM, and email performance.


Goals measure how well a target objective for a campaign is fulfilled. For example, a goal can be created on the projected SEM income for a fiscal year. Having properly configured goals makes it possible to evaluate the effectiveness of digital campaigns but again, requires proper and regular usage of UTM codes.

Phew. That was a lot of information to digest. Still looking to chat some of this through? Contact us!

Joe Coakley
Michelle Defaz


Joe Coakley
Michelle Defaz

Like what you read? Check out this related post:

Truth or Consequences: Online Fundraising

read now