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B2B Marketing with Google Analytics

B2B marketing is done very differently than B2C marketing. There is no shortage of information available on how to best use Google Analytics for B2C, but B2B is harder to come by. Surprisingly, B2B measurement should be much easier, but is simply not done by most companies. The reason it should be easy is, unlike most B2C companies, B2B have clear definitions of who their target audience is and should have a wealth of information around personas, demographics, and even target companies they are going after. This allows for much higher focus around developing content for only those audiences. In this post I will cover the six most important measurement elements every B2B site needs to do. We will cover form tracking, form engagement, firmographics, content engagement, CRM integrations, and most importantly the audience integrations with Google.

Lets get started with Form Tracking!

1. Form Tracking

Contact information is currency for B2B websites. The best B2B sites collect this currency by trading information and resources in return for their users information such as their name, e-mail address or company size. Companies like Marketo, Eloqua, and Pardot are built upon this. Your website should produce great content for your target buyers. In return for this quality and free information most B2B companies gate it behind a form, like the image below. In this example Marketo is providing a guide to mobile marketing for free. In order to get it, the user needs to supply their information.

With forms like the one above being one of the most critical assets to a B2B website, they should be a primary focus of measurement. The four critical areas to track are form views, total form submits, failed form submits, and successful form submits. Most companies that use Google Analytics, track form submissions, but they do not track failed submissions or monitor their form conversion rates. There are a number of excellent guides that detail how to track forms with Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager. My solution follows all of the popular form tracking guides, but I add in Custom Dimensions and Metrics, which help surface all of the data in a very structured way allowing you to consume it all in one report.

The custom dimensions and metrics should take you about 5-10 minutes of extra work. Using them you can see below that we can easily calculate the submission success rate for each form. The comprehensive information Google Analytics collects will be invaluable to understanding or potentially troubleshooting why some of your forms have high failure rates. You will be able to easily see your form conversion rates by browser, device, country, language and more. This report is a must have for every B2B website!

Form Submissions Google Analytics

2. Form Field Tracking

The opening section covered form tracking by focusing on high level form submissions. This section is all in depth form field tracking. Form field tracking is the measurement of a users engagement or lack of engagement with each of the fields within the form. By measuring this engagement you can understand which of your forms your users are having a hard time completing and identify exactly where in your forms the issue is occurring. Just like with form tracking, there are great tutorials, including guides from LunaMetrics and Simo Ahava.

Leveraging custom dimensions and metrics allow us to create an easy to understand report. The image below shows the engagement with the “Contact Us” form. By analyzing the data below we learn that the majority of our users are skipping over the title field. In addition they do not appear to be engaging with the gender field. Using this data, I would immediately start running tests to see if I can improve the  submission rate by reworking or even potentially removing these fields.

Form Field Tracking - Google Analytics

You can take form tracking to the next level, by capturing additional information about your form fields. I would recommend at a minimum adding four custom dimensions. One that captures the position of the form field: 1, 2, 3, etc and another that captures if the field is required for form submission. Next, I would add a custom dimension that captures the reason of the validation error each time we pass our custom metric for form field validation errors. Most importantly, I would utilize one more custom dimension to capture the user entered form field values, such as what Company Name or Country they picked. Just ensure you do not capture any personally identifiable information such as first name, last name or e-mail address as that would violate Google Analytics Terms of Service. Here is an example of a contact form IBM uses for use of their Watson product. Here we capture the country/region when a user selects one from the dropdown.

IBM_Watson__Engagement_Advisor

Heres is what the country/region data looks like when captured in Google Analytics:

Form Field Values - Google Analytics

3. Firmographics

Every B2B website should be capturing firmographic data about their users. For explaining what firmographics is, I like the Wikipedia description best. “What demographics are to people, firmographics are to organizations.” A large percentage of your traffic is going to be anonymous, meaning they have not provided you any information about who they are or what company they represent. For this group of your users their are a number of plug and play solutions like Insightera(Marketo), Bizible and my personal favorite Demandbase that look to identify the information about the company they are visiting from. Using Demandbase, we have over 20 dimensions available including: Company Name, Revenue Range, Fortune 1000 Status, Forbes 2000 Statues, B2B, B2C, Industry, SID and more. By far my favorite is the ability to utilize watch lists. You can use watch lists to pass in a dimension for which companies are existing customers, existing leads or even competitors. 

Heres an example of that report with Google Analytics engagement data by company name and watch list status(customer, competitor or prospect):

Demandbase - Firmographics - Google Analytics

This report is huge for both your marketing and sales team. You can easily understand and look at exactly what content each of your prospects are looking at in addition to what value adds your customers are interested in. The next time you pick up the phone or send this company an e-mail you will already know what talking points you need to touch on and prepare for.

4. Content Engagement

B2B websites are full of content. In addition to web pages, most B2B sites have rich blog content and full form content like whitepapers, PDFs, and videos. One of the biggest complaints I hear routinely from B2B marketers is that they have no insight into if their content is being engaged with or leading to contact requests or customers. This is easily remedied with Google Analytics, especially so if you are using Google Tag Manager. With few exceptions, you have the ability to pass in dozens of meaningful touchpoints users are having with your content. We can answer questions like if a user watches more than 50% of a video, reads more than 75% of blog post or or downloaded a specific whitepaper.

Here are great resources to get started with engagement tracking:

Lets take a look at some of the insights we can make! This is the power of collecting YouTube data. We can easily identify low and high performing videos.

Here is another example that leverages scroll tracking. Using this we can identify exactly which content that users are engaging with the most. Most users only report on content views and not the engagement with the content. If you are getting lots of views, but no one is reading your 20 page blog post that took 4 weeks to make, you have a problem. Below you can see that between the number 6 and number 8 blog post, there is significant difference in how many read more than half of the blog post. We have also learned that almost no one gets to our footer, so it is clearly critical that all of our call to actions are in the top of our posts.

5. CRM Integration

The most important information about any B2B company will live in their CRM system such as Salesforce or SugarCRM. No Analytics tool contains every pierce of user information and neither will a CRM. Luckily, integrating both systems is relatively easy. Back in 2013, I wrote a guide to this integration for Salesforce that is now out of date. My friend Allaedin, has now posted a better up-to-date guide! Regardless of what CRM you use, you can follow Allaedin’s guide and adapt it for whichever CRM you use.

The keys to a successful CRM integration is pass information from both from the CRM into Google Analytics and from Google Analytics into the CRM. The Salesforce guides above sends all of the traffic source information from Google Analytics directly into Salesforce through hidden form fields. This allows for analysis on what marketing campaigns are driving the most customers, leads, and even unqualified leads. In addition it passes a key into both platforms by creating an anonymized user ID that allows you to join both sources of data. This is a huge addition for your sales team and measurement capabilities, because when someone submits a contact request on your website, you can query Google Analytics to understand what type of content they engaged with, for how long, and when.

The following image from Allaedin’s post from E-Nor showcases what you can do with this data.

Credit: E-Nor

Every good CRM has all of their leads bucketed into lead or opportunity states. A lead may be in an initial contact, demo, advanced, closed – won, or closed – lost. Using Google Analytics data import feature, you have the ability to upload these lead statuses to Google Analytics. This is key information to leverage for both understanding your user behavior and to leverage from a remarketing perspective. In the closing section on B2B remarketing, you could leverage this information, to pay more money for prospects based on what stage they are in or target them with different ads.

Heres an example of how this data would look in Google Analytics.

User ID - Data Upload - Google Analytics

6. B2B Marketing with Google Analytics

Do you like to make more money, while spending less money to acquire your customers? Then remarketing with Google Analytics is a no brainer. The most underused and most impactful feature every B2B company needs to use with Google Analytics is this remarketing integration with AdWords and DoubleClick (Premium Only). The power of this integration is that you can leverage all of your data on user behavior from Google Analytics without having to make any code changes or adding any additional tags to your website. By implementing all of the tracking in this article you will be able to create and have ads running in minutes against qualified and targeted audiences. Heres some example audiences you could target:

  • Users who viewed a form, but did not submit
  • Users who submitted a form
  • Users who are prospects and have visited the website in the last 30 days
  • Users who are in the Financial and Insurance vertical, have viewed a form, and are not current customers in EMEA

Again, this feature requires no code changes and enables you to create audiences in minutes with no code updates needed. To enable remarketing audiences, simply go into Admin -> Property Setting and turn on ‘Advertising Features’ as shown in the image below. Just ensure your privacy policy you show your users is up to date.

Enable Advertising Features - Google Analytics

Below is a screenshot of how easy it is to create a custom audience, once you have enabled advertising features. This audience I have built is a group of approximately 500 users per week that have viewed a form, but not submitted it and are in the Finance and Insurance vertical from a country in EMEA. Instead of this group of users seeing untargeted ads, I can show them relevant information that a user in a Finance or Insurance role would be interested in or pay more money for them than my other campaigns.

Remarketing Audience - Google Analytics

By following the recommendations in this article, you will have insights and visibility into your B2B audiences that will help you optimize your marketing and interact with your user base more effectively. If you run into any issues or have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter @CharlesFarina.

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  • Damion Brown

    Awesome post and technique Charles — very cool.

    One quick question, for Total Submissions and Form Field No Text Entered, are you collecting that data as a Custom Metric or is there some calculation happening in the background?

    • Charles Farina

      All of that is happening with custom metrics. You would send this data in with an event, but surface it in these reports with a custom metrics. Custom Metrics are awesome, because anyone can understand them in a report!

  • Scott Sunderland

    This post is awesome Charles! Gives me ideas for the websites we manage.

    • Charles Farina

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Dave Zwickerhill

    Hi Charles

    Can you help me connect the dots between surfacing the info with the script on Luna Metrics and passing it into custom dimensions and metrics with GTM? I know you said it would only take 5 extra minutes but I’m stuck. Thanks in advance!

    Dave

    • Charles Farina

      Happy to Dave. If you look at LunaMetrics script they are pushing the following information to the dataLayer.

      dataLayer.push({‘eventCategory’: ‘Form – ‘ + $(this).closest(‘form’).attr(‘name’),
      ‘eventAction’: ‘skipped’,
      ‘eventLabel’: $(this).attr(‘name’),
      ‘event’: ‘gaEvent’});

      or

      dataLayer.push({‘eventCategory’: ‘Form – ‘ + $(this).closest(‘form’).attr(‘name’),
      ‘eventAction’: ‘completed’,
      ‘eventLabel’: $(this).attr(‘name’),
      ‘event’: ‘gaEvent’});

      You would need modify the tags LunaMetrics provided to have 2 separate GA event tags. You would have the rule for one be event = gaEvent AND eventAction = completed, while the other tag would trigger from event = gaEvent AND eventAction = skipped. Then you would add a custom dimension to each tag to capture the form name and the custom dimensions which you would just supply a value of one for.

  • Charles Brodeur

    Great article. Thanks for sharing. The tricky part is setting up the “Custom Dimensions”. It might only take 5 minutes to implement but you need to be familiar with how to use Google Tag Manager, the data layer, and custom dimension / metrics setups.

    • Charles Farina

      Very true. In my last post for login and signup tracking, I actually included full code examples and a GTM export that contained all the settings for CDs. I will keep this in mind for future posts.

  • Jake

    Great read Charles.

    I did an article awhile back on the benefits of IP tracking for businesses; http://www.whoisvisiting.com/main-benefits-business-ip-tracking-software/

  • Awesome ideas Charles! You should write more…