18.Nov.2020

Michiko Gupta
Senior Digital Strategist

GIVING TUESDAY: Are You Tracking What’s Working?

Getting The Most Out Of Your Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is less than two weeks away, and we all know that planning ahead of this important day for nonprofit organizations is critical to the success of the big day. As you finalize your plan for Giving Tuesday, don’t leave out website analytics and click data. These data points are easy to collect, and they are invaluable when planning future fundraising initiatives.

Assuming you have multiple ways for donors to get to your giving page—links in emails you send, links on your owned social channels, paid digital ads—tracking can help you understand:
  • Which source brings in the most traffic?
  • Which source brings in the most engagement?
  • Which source brings in the highest conversions?

We will discuss some basic steps you can take to begin tracking your efforts using Google Analytics—let’s get started!

(Prerequisite: Google Analytics should be placed in sites where you want to track your data, including your donation thank-you page.)

Step 1: Map out the entry points to your Giving Tuesday donation page

You have a Giving Tuesday landing page or donation page set up and ready to go. How are you driving traffic to that page? List all the ways people will find out about your Giving Tuesday campaign, such as:

  • Email
  • Social Media
    • Facebook/Instagram
    • Twitter
    • LinkedIn
    • TikTok
  • Banner Ads
  • Paid Search

Now add details to the channels above. Are you sending more than one email? Creating different versions of social media ads? You can use a UTM code—a snippet of text that can be added to your destination URL—to monitor the effectiveness of different channels and creative executions.

Google has a UTM code builder where you can make your own unique URL to track the campaign. Make sure to create different UTM codes for each of your outbound channels.

For example, if you arrived at this article through our newsletter, you clicked on a URL that looks like this:

https://www.lipmanhearne.com/getting-the-most-out-of-your-giving-tuesday-utm_sourcenewsletterutm_mediumemailutm_campaigngivingtuesday/

Because we stipulated that URL, we’ll be able to see how well our newsletter is working compared to our LinkedIn page and our Twitter channel.

Once you start using UTM codes in your outbound channels, you can use Google Analytics to see which of those channels is yielding traffic.

There are several ways to see sources in Google Analytics, but this is probably the most straightforward one:

Go to Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns to view traffic based on your custom campaign names—in this example case, givingtuesday.

Click on the name of the campaign, and you can see the sources that brought traffic to your page, based on how you set them up in the UTM code. In this case, the source is the newsletter and the medium is email.

Now in Google Analytics, you can not only see how much traffic each campaign brought, but also evaluate the quality of that traffic by looking at the bounce rate, time spent on site, and even conversions. We’ll take a look at how to track conversions in the next step.

Step 2: Set a goal in Google Analytics to track conversions

After Step 1 is complete, Step 2 is to track your conversions via Goals. The key to this step is to have a Google Analytics snippet embedded on your thank-you page or the last transaction page your users will see after they make a gift. If you don’t know how to do that, reach out to your IT team or your developer. You can’t always track a donor through the entire path because the giving form is often “owned” by a third party, but because the thank-you page is something you likely have control over, you can pick the donor up when they complete the transaction. Once the snippet is embedded in your thank-you page, creating goals in Google Analytics is easy.

Goal setup is located in the Admin section of Google Analytics:

Clicking on the “new goal”  button will take you to a screen that looks like this. Select Donate.

Set your goal description and select “Destination” as the type.

Enter the thank-you page URL string that comes after your homepage URL. For example, if your thank-you page is lipmanhearne.com/thankyou/, enter /thankyou/.

As you can see below, there are three different option to select from: Equals to, Begins with, and Regular expression. In a nutshell, if you only have one thank-you page with no variations to the URL, select Equals to. If your URLs include query terms or have parameters at the end, such as /thankyou/123 and /thankyou/1234, use either Begins with or Regular expression.

We’ll skip optional features such as Value and Funnel for today’s post, as that could be a whole other post in itself.

Finally, save your goal.

Step 3: See the data come through and measure the impact of your campaign 

In Step 1, you separated your outbound campaign efforts, and in Step 2, you can see the results that matter most—conversions. You can view that under the same section and select the conversion goal you set. As you can see, the sample email campaign has brought 1 donation so far.

The conversion rate is the percentage of visits that resulted in a goal, which makes it easy to compare across campaigns. You might have a lot of visits from one campaign, but if its conversion rate is extremely low, then you will want to take a look at why that might be happening.

Another report in Google Analytics that is useful to get additional data points from is Conversion > Goals > Overview. Here, you can see the total number of goals you set, regardless of the source. You can also take a look at user behavior, such as when people tend to give donations.

Final thoughts: These are two basic ways to get your tracking started. Once you have these data points covered, there are more ways to track the effectiveness of your fundraising campaign, such as A/B testing the call-to-action buttons, tracking engagement through the Events feature, etc. If you’d like to discuss more options for tracking—or ways to optimize your communications to increase from your baseline—reach out at michig@lipmanhearne.com.