How to override Google Analytics “last click wins” behaviour

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  • August 5, 2009
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Recently we talked about how to carry out funnel analysis with Google Analytics to avoid the last click taking credit for your sales.

Today I want to share an interesting tip which allows you to turn off the “last click” behaviour of Google Analytics and ensure that the first campaign gets credit for the sale. For example if somebody finds your site using a long tail keyword and decides the next day to return and make a purchase they may search directly for your brand and click on a PPC advert. This means all the credit goes to the brand PPC advert and not to the SEO campaign.

This situation can be solved by adding a simple parameter to the end of your branded PPC ad URL’s and also (if you are clever) to the end of your homepage URL if the referrer keyword matches a brand driven search.

If a visitor clicks on ads from multiple campaigns before converting for a goal, which campaign gets credit for the conversion?

Google Analytics will attribute the most recent campaign information to a conversion. For example, a visitor may initially reach your site through a CPC ad and not make a purchase. Later, this visitor may return to your site via a tagged link in an email to make their purchase. In this case, Google Analytics will attribute the more recent campaign information to the resulting sale – the tagged link in the email.

This behavior can be modified by adding the following to the end of all of your tagged links:

&utm_nooverride=1

When Google Analytics detects this variable, it will retain the first campaign’s information, regardless of which links the user later followed to arrive at the conversion. In the example above, the conversion would be credited to the CPC campaign, if both links were tagged with the nooverride variable.

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