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Adding cost data to Google Analytics

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Adding cost data to Google Analytics 3.0 out of 5 based on 4 votes.

A few weeks ago Google Analytics announced some exciting new features to their popular analytics platform. One of the first new features to roll out is the possibility to import cost data into your Google Analytics account. We think this is a very important change to the Google Analytics platform. Until now, we have only been able to add data through our Google Analytics tags or other Google products like Google Adwords. We have never been able to add data from a 'foreign' source.

How does uploading cost data work?

There are a few steps you need to take to make sure you can see your cost data in Google Analytics:

  1. Tag campaign URLs with utm tags
  2. Retrieve and format cost data as a CSV file
  3. Create a custom data source using the web interface
  4. Upload cost data CSV using the Management API
  5. Report using the Core Reporting API or web interface

What type of cost data can I upload to Google Analytics?

There are loads of possibilities to advertise on platforms and send visitors to your website. If you are organising your costs data and Google Analytics tags well, you can upload the cost data into Google Analytics.

Here are some examples of datasources you might want to add:

  • Bing paid search advertising
  • Facebook CPC advertising campaigns
  • Banner ads on large advertising platforms
  • Affiliate campaigns based on cpc or cpm costs strucutures
  • Lead generation campaigns with CPL or CPS investments
  • Many, many, more...

How does URL tagging work?

Fir those who don't understand what url tagging for Google Analytics means, we recommend reading the following article on the Google Analytics help section: 

Tagging your destination url's

Connecting your cost source with Google Analytics

Here is where it gets a bit tricky. In order to setup an external cost data source in Google Analytics you will need to have some technical skills or you will need to use a paid Google Analytics tool to create the connection.

Google Analytics has an API you can use if you have enough technical knowledge. You can read more about the API here: Costs source API Google Analytics

If you don't have the technical knowledge (or patience) to work on an automated data connection, you can also use one of these tools to upload your data into Google Analytics. They have basically done all the programming for you.

Hopefully Google will make it easier to connect the cost data to Google Analytics once this functionality gaines popularity. It should be possible to connect Google Docs with Google Analytics to make uploading this data easier for less advanced users.

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