How to Validate Your User Acquisition Strategy Quickly

Hi, everyone. Welcome to today’s video. Today, we’re talking about everything about user acquisition. Specifically how to test user acquisition quickly. What you need from a data perspective. There’s about three things I want to look at today and we’ll jump right in by talking about UTM parameters. So when we think about user acquisition, we’re saying okay we’re going to buy traffic, or we can get traffic in some way or form, whatever way that is. Users are going to come to our website and we want them to take some kind of action. Maybe we want them to create an account, or sign up for something or maybe want them to download an app, so do like a mobile install.

Whatever it is, that’s the rough two steps. So, we need two pieces for that initially and there will be a third piece that I will talk about after. One, we need to know where users came from, so what are the UTM parameters that brought them here. And two, we want to be able to track that action. So tracking signups, tracking mobile installs, whatever that is.

For the first piece, what we call UTM parameters. This is something that we can append to our URL’s, that we use in our ads or in our social media posts or in whatever we’re doing to bring people back. And it simply tells analytics tools, tools like Google Analytics or tools like Heap or tools like Hotjar, basically any analytics tool out there, where the user came from. All right, if we don’t have those things, then the analytics tool will try and guess, will try and figure out, be like well, it looks like it’s the last website this user come from was Reddit or it looks like it was Facebook. So I’m gonna assume it was like a social user. But this is not very reliable, which is why we wanna ensure that we append them. So to do that let’s jump right in to this little spreadsheet here …. and let’s actually look at this one, a companion builder. That’s what we want.

So this is a tool by Google and what we can do here is we can start by adding your URL. So http, you know example.com and then we have 5 UTM parameters to play with, Source, medium, name, term, and content. I always recommend that you use source and medium in everything and probably campaign, at the very minimum. So at the very minimum those two, next it will be campaign and then term and content is sort of our bonus points. So what we do is we say okay, let’s see we’re gonna be posting … Let’s say we’re gonna running some Facebook ads. So we’re gonna run some Facebook ads, so the source of this will be Facebook and the medium, we’re buying them so let’s do CPC. Click and campaign, we’ll simply take the campaign of our Facebook ads, actually. So we’ll call it Facebook ads beta test or something. Maybe that’s what we called it.

Now, we go down here, we get the same URL, example.com and then this appended to it. So this is the UTM parameters. So now, when a user clicks on this link, they still go to the home page. They still see the same thing. And really, this doesn’t change anything for them. But, the analytics tools pick it up. So Google Analytics will pick it up and any other analytics tools will pick it up. Right? And they’ll know that that user, when they landed, they came from Facebook with a minimum of CPC and so on. And you’ll be able to break that apart.

Now, if you want to see what it looks like … let’s jump into Google Analytics here. Let me show you the typical Google Analytics report, the Channels report. Here we have different types of traffic but we can break it up by Source and Medium, for example. And this is UTM source, UTM medium, in our case it was Facebook and CPC. And now, we get that combination here. So now, we can see how many users came from this very specific combination here and here and here and here. And it’s companies, of course, setting their own [inaudible 00:04:16], their own UTM parameters. So that’s where it becomes helpful.

You want to be able to create URLs like this. Now, let me go back to the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is usually the easiest way to do this, where you can just type a URL, type a campaign, and then type them here, and then it here at the end. Right, we get this. But you still see the URL here with the UTMs. And the spreadsheet, which is simply helping keep it organized. You want to be consistent. If you’re doing a bunch of different campaigns on Facebook, you probably want to use the same source and medium because it’s still the same thing, it’s still Facebook ads. If then go on and do, say Google AdWords, then you’ll change the source from Facebook to Google, but the medium is still the same. It’s still CPC.

So a spreadsheet will help you keep it consistent. So you’re using the same values over and over again. One thing to know here, is that a lot of these values are case-sensitive for almost any analytics tool out there. Which means that, lower case cpc is different from uppercase CPC and that’s different from capital case Cpc. That’s a weird spelling, never seen that. So it means that, you want to be consistent in how you use it. So if you used Facebook before and it was all lowercase like that, then you want to be sure that whenever you use that again, use the same spelling, the same naming convention. Don’t go like this and then go like, I don’t know, this. Right? I’ve seen it, over and over again. That just breaks your reports. Cause it’ll be a whole different traffic source. So then that means that you have to export your data. You have to clean it up and organize it and stuff like that. And you can save yourself a lot of the hassle if you just consistent with your spelling. So that’s piece one.

So now, we have this piece and we add it to every single URL that people can click on to visit our website. Now we need a second piece. We need to be able to track conversions. So when we look at this piece, here’s this, now we know where the users are coming from. Now we want this part, the conversion’s portion. This portion is about setting up goals. Or being able to track when someone signs up.
The most common way to do this is to have an event or to, maybe, link it to a thank you page that you can track. I prefer events. I think they’re a little bit more reliable. May be a little bit hard to set up initially but a little more reliable. So, we’ll set up an event and we’ll fire that event when someone does that action that we want. So maybe, that is they create an account or maybe it’s something else. Or they download a .pdf or it can be their email, whatever that may be. We set up that event, and then we’ll set it up in our analytics tools.

I have another video about Google Analytics and goals. I’ll post a link to that somewhere in the description or somewhere in the notes. Go look at that. So once you have that piece, you want to be able to come up with this. Look at the traffic sources, where you just came from because of the UTM parameters and look at the conversions. How many people signed up. How many people completed that action. So those two pieces will then help you test your user acquisition efforts quickly. You’ll be able to see what’s working and what’s not.

A third piece, an optional piece, is very relevant, especially in the beginning stages. I’m actually going to go to the home page of Hotjar. In the beginning stages as you get more traffic or as you get initial burst of traffic, you want to understand what a user is doing. And qualitatively, it would become really helpful here. So of course, you can do things like interviews and feedback and poll, and anything like that. Now, it’s quite popular to do session recordings. You know to record what the user is doing, to run heat maps on pages and what people are clicking. And there’s really two tools for doing that. We have Hotjar as one option. There’s a bunch of different things that Hotjar can do. You know, we have heat maps. We can, of course, do recordings that shows where the user goes and what they click and so on. And there’s a few other things, form analysis to see, you know, are people getting stuck on forms and so on.

That’s one thing. Hotjar is one option. We also have fullstory, same thing. It lets you record what people are clicking on, where they are getting stuck and so on and create little segments. Either one will work. They’re both very similar. But, the point is that as you drive traffic, you want to be able to say “hey, let’s see the user converted, what do they do. What are some of the characteristics that they have” and you can do that by looking at a few recordings and trying to extrapolate some pattern from that. So those three pieces, UTM parameters, being able to track those conversions, those sign-ups, that actin and layering on some qualitative data on top of that through tools like Hotjar and fullstory. Those three things will let you test your user acquisition efforts quickly and see what works and then double down on the stuff that does work, while removing stuff that doesn’t.

That’s all for today. Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.

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Ruben Ugarte
Ruben Ugarte
I'm the founder of Practico Analytics and I created this company to help companies use analytics data to grow their web and mobile products. I love combining data, psychology, and systems in work and in personal projects.

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