As someone who performs regular, custom Google Analytics training in San Francisco and other Bay Area locations, I can say with confidence that cross-domain tracking is top of mind for many companies.
The problem I most often see is that companies have not established what KPI’s, goals or visitor information they’re looking for before making the decision: “we need cross-domain tracking.”
Instead they’re working backwards. “Oh, cross-domain tracking is possible? Let’s do it.”
Here’s what you need to know about the detriments of cross-domain tracking
Once you set things up properly with Google Analytics, you’re combining data between two domains. Google Analytics isn’t going to automatically segment things for you and make all the insights you’re looking for crystal clear.
You need to know how to drill down into your behavior flow section (a messy tool if there ever was one) and use things like referral paths, next page paths, exit pages etc. Simply having cross-domain tracking in place doesn’t make you a Google Analytics rockstar.
You’re going to absolutely need to have stand alone properties of the data for each website. Google Analytics works like this in terms of structure: account, properties, and views. Using 1 account, you can have as many properties (websites) as you want. Then for each website, you can create different views, like raw data (completely unfiltered data), organic data (just search traffic) or some other filter.
Since cross-domain tracking will combine data between websites, make the cross-domain property separate from the stand alone properties. This way you can analyze each site individually, and together.
Obviously there’s a lot to think about and manage when you go with cross domain tracking. Ask yourself some of the following questions before you begin this cumbersome process.
- Are the two domains built to work together? Is one designed to funnel traffic to the other? Are there actual funnel steps?
- Is the second domain temporary or a long-term part of our business and digital marketing?
- Does the second domain we want to connect affect our bottom line, or is it just informational? What are the KPI’s of the second domain and how do we measure those KPIs?
If you can’t determine the performance of your marketing without mapping the user journey across two domains, work with a Google Analytics expert to get things setup, and consider additional training so you can gain the proper insights from this new data, and take the right actions.
Work with a Google Analytics expert on your next cross-domain tracking project. You can reach me at 916 710 3306 or fill out the form below. Thanks for reading.