Understanding where users are coming from and how attribution affects conversion rates is crucial to a successful marketing strategy. It is essential in generating demand, quality lead growth, and ultimately pushing the right leads to sales. Heap automatically captures this data, but there are a few things you should know to get the most out of Heap.
How are Heap’s attribution channels unique?
It is important to note that, unlike GA, we don’t provide canned attribution channels; you have to define them yourselves. The Initial Referrer is the web page that linked to your site and initiated the session. If the user navigated directly to your site, or if referral headers were stripped, then this value will appear as direct. You can use the initial referrer to determine your attribution channel (social media, paid search, organic search, etc.).
Heap doesn’t aggregate Source in the same way as GA – our UTM parameters are all based on query parameters appended to the URL via manual tagging. For more info on GA’s attribution channels, review their documentation on Traffic source dimensions.
How can I differentiate between organic and paid searches?
If you haven’t manually tagged your UTM source, the URL from an organic search is slightly different than the URL from a paid search. You can read more about paid search URLs via Google’s blog, but in general, they result in URLs similar to the following:
https://www.google.co.au/search?client=safari&rls=en&… http://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/aclk?sa=L&a… http://www.google.com/aclk?sa=l&ai=…
To only select these URLs, you can create filters for a paid search by setting a filter for Initial Referrer contains google.com/aclk or Initial Referrer contains googleadservices.com/pagead/aclk or Initial Referrer wildcard matches google*/search.
How do I use UTM Parameters?
Best practice is to use UTM parameters to set the source, campaign, etc. for each link to your site. You can find instructions for manual tagging in Google’s support docs. GA’s required fields are not required for Heap to track UTM parameters, so if you just set a UTM source or campaign, etc. that’s fine. Heap automatically captures UTM parameters for each session by pulling the UTM query parameters from the URL. Because you set the UTM source, you can also use UTM parameters to determine attribution channel. check out Google’s best practices for setting UTM parameters.
What if I use AdWords?
It is important to note we don’t capture AdWords autotagging. We can recognize the gclid parameters, although we can’t derive any meaning from it (Google keeps that to themselves). However, It’s not possible to decode the gclid parameter. Google sets this for their own use and doesn’t share any information about it externally.
The only way to track AdWords campaigns (besides recognizing the presence of the gclid parameter) outside of Google Analytics is to use manual tagging for landing pages using UTM parameters. Heap automatically parses UTM parameters and treats them separate from other query parameters.
For additional information, see Adwords: manual & auto-tagging best practices.