Best Articles to Understand GPDR in Plain Language

The deadline to comply with GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation is coming up fast- on 5/25/18.  What is it, where can you go to learn about it and make sure you comply?  As your Charlotte North Carolina PPC and Google Analytics pros, we've saved you time, pulling together links to the best articles below.  (Disclaimer:  We are not lawyers and do not offer legal advice.  You must consult with your legal counsel on this matter).

What is GDPR?  Its how EU member states say data controllers and processors handle user data (Businesses- you are the data controller, and Google, for example, is the data processor, see this article for great definition).  Its basically a much higher standard of how data is stored and handled.  And for non compliant companies, the EU can levy very heavy fines.  And its on you or your business to let your customers and website visitors know what data you use, how you use it and allow them to agree in a straightforward way to this.  

What if we are a non-EU based business (for example, located in U.S., Asia, India, Australia, Africa, etc.)?  Doesn't matter - if you have anyone who visits your site from the EU (you probably do), you need to comply, or block all EU visitors from coming to your site.  

Really, how will this be enforced if you're not an EU based company?  We really don't know yet.  Once a non EU-based company is found non-compliant, we'll find out.  

What if we are a small company?  GDPR applies to all sized companies from large to the smallest.

Best Links for GDPR:  

Awesome guide here- worth dropping in your email to get it.  

Great article here that puts GDPR in easily understandable language.  

Did you receive an email on data rentention and Google Analytics, good article on that here.  

Huge database of the latest on GDPR here.  

Let us know what you think of GDPR!

Google Analytics Rollup Reporting Without Buying Google Analytics 360? Yes!

Google Analytics Rollup Reporting Without Buying Google Analytics 360?  Yes!

Note:  This is NOT a post about setting up Rollup Reporting.  It is about why you need it and if its possible to do without paying tons of cash for Google Analytics 360.  You can either try and set this up yourself or hire us- we know how and its super complicated.


What is Google Analytics (GA) rollup reporting, and why might you need it?

What is Rollup Reporting?

All your yummy data rolled up in one place!

All your yummy data rolled up in one place!

Rollup reporting sounds like it is, rolling up multiple websites a business may have into one Google Analytics view.  Think of it like this:  Each of a companies websites is like the ingredients in a burrito- chicken, guac, beans, rice.  The Rollup site is like a burrito all those delicious data from all of a companies websites are "rolled up" in a yummy data burrito!

Why might you want to use it? 


For example a company may have 3 websites and they want to see analytics info for not just one website, but 3.  They would create a Rollup view of all 3 sites ("rolled up") to do this (see image to the right).

Or, a company have multiple websites that all use the same tool.  And that tool (for example, Hubspot) only allows for one Google Analytics ID to be put in.  So they will either need to buy 3 licenses for the tool, or they can create a Rollup GA view and then they can use the one tool with all 3 sites and not lose tracking or conversion tracking.  

Is this hard to do?  Yes.  Can you do this with regular (standard) Google Analytics?  Not out of the box.   In fact, if you want the ability to do this out of the box, you would need to upgrade to Google Analytics 360, their premium analytics suite.  But that costs $150,000 a year.  

So, in these two instances, its very useful to either set up a Rollup GA view yourself or pay a pro to do this for you - recap of Benefits:

  • Get all your different websites data in one place.
  • Save a ton of $$ by not having to shell out $150k/year for Google Analytics 360.
  • Save money by not having to buy multiple versions of a tool you use when you only need one.
  • If you use a tool that only allows one GA ID to be plugged in, get back all that conversion data by using the GA ID of your Rollup view in the tool. 

The last point is huge for alot of companies.  We actually had a client where they purchased and setup a tool they needed that they used for all 5 of their websites.  But it could use one GA ID in it.  So we set up a Rollup view for all of their 5 websites.  Now they have the conversion data they were missing for so long back.

Its complicated!

To set up Rollup GA reporting without GA 360, it takes a combination of Google Tag Manager (GTM), GA, access to all a companies sites, relevant tools they want to track, and tons of testing and debugging.  One tiny mistake and it simply won't work.

But if this is something you think your company needs, we can set it up in most cases.  And when you compare the cost of hiring a pro to set this up using standard GA vs. paying for GA 360, buying multiple licenses for a tool you need, or not having the crucial conversion data so you know what is working in your online efforts and what is not, its worth it!

Big Changes from Google That Make PPC a Must

Google is 15 years old today, Sept 27th, 2013.  With the anniversary, they're announced some big changes that really make doing Paid Search crucial for you:

The 3 bullet points below are really important in this regard:

  •     Google has made a pretty big update to their search algorithm.  Article here.
  •     Super Important news:  Google is now no longer showing keyword data for any organic search keywords.  This is a pretty big deal.  Now SEOs can no longer know what keywords bought people to a site, what keywords converted best, etc. What this means:  Paid Search (PPC) becomes huge.  The only way to get this very valuable data is by doing PPC and getting the data from that.  Full article here.  Another article and reactions here.
  •     Great Report for Showing PPC's effectiveness:  Clients often wonder about Paid Search:  Is it cannibalizing my organic listings?  How much does it really help my overall bottom line?  (In a nutshell:  Its crucial.)  They may feel they want to cut back on PPC but don't realize how integral it is to their business profits across the board.  The guys at Resolution Media (one of the biggest PPC agencies in the U.S., really know their stuff) put together a great report.  Article with .pdf report here.

Bottom line on Google's changes: 

It really hurts traditional SEOs:

1.  If all they track is keywords only and not KPIs- sales, leads etc.  Keyword data from organic simply no longer exists.

2.  They keep taking data away from SEOs as the years go on.  This will only continue.  Why?  They don't want anyone to be able to "game" the system:   5 years ago you could buy links, get a keyword report and optimize your site, put a bunch of real or fake reviews up, and rank well.  No more.  They want to make it so hard to game the system people don't do it anymore, SEOs, regular businesses, etc.  

In a way, this makes sense.  Is your favorite restaurant the best because they did anything besides have awesome food and service?  Not likely.  They just have the best food and service, some advertising and alot of word of mouth.  This is the way Google wants the internet to be.  

Its Awesome for Paid Search Specialists.

1.  If a site wants better organic traffic, they need to do PPC to find the keywords they need to rank for. 

2.  Google loves it when people use PPC.  Google made over $50 billion last year from advertising, over 97% of their total revenue.  They're pulling out all the stops and adding more awesome features for advertisers each month with no end in sight.    

What do you think?  How will you handle the changes going forward.  Please leave a comment below...


How to Track Adwords Video Remarketing in Google Analytics

Hopefully you're trying and testing out Adwords Video Remarketing.  Adwords for video is right in the main campaign area but Adwords Video Remarketing is separated out a bit.  

About Adwords Video Remarketing:  One of the nice differences with Video Remarketing is you can remarket to people who have interacted with your YouTube channel or page and serve them ads.  For full information, see Google's info and start testing:

This post is about tracking traffic and engagement from your Adwords Video Remarketing to your site.  Did your Video Remarketing campaigns result in more traffic to your site, more conversions.  


After running a number of Video Remarketing campaigns I noticed that I was getting alot of views of the clients videos and even clicks to the site, which is great.  

However, when I went into Google Analytics (GA), I didn't see any stats from these video remarketing campaigns, traffic numbers, or other data.  I contacted Google and they said that, unlike regular Google Adwords where everything is tracked automatically in GA if you have GA and Adwords linked,  at this time the tracking is not really up and running for video remarketing as a source of traffic you can measure in Google Analytics.  

Since its so important to track all your advertising to see if its brings good ROI, there had to be a workaround, and there is.  And in looking around in finding a solution to this workaround I found a couple of other cool things and tips that can benefit your tracking efforts.


Use Google's URL Builder: GA has a feature that allows you to track anything on the web you set up and see the data in your GA account.  You use utm tracking parameters to tell GA where the traffic came from.  For example, if you have an ad on a site, you can add info to the link in that add that goes to your page.  So in the ad it goes to perhaps your sites URL: when they click on that ad.  If you want to add important information to the ad so you can track it in GA you'd use the utm parameters and add the campaign, ad, and more like this: 1&utm_content=new video

It looks confusing but its not.  You use Google's URL builder to set it up, its very easy.  Link here:

Use this to track your Video Remarketing Campaigns:  You can then use the URL builder to add the correct tracking tags to your Video Remarketing list campaigns so you can then see them in GA.  

But I thought Google already automatically tags Adwords, won't this mess up the numbers in GA?  Yes, BUT only if you simply dropped in the tagged URL you created, such as the one you see above.  There is a cool workaround that allows you to tag a URL and not have it mess up Google Adwords auto-tagging.  How?  Use a url shortener.  

Use a URL Shortener to Shorten Tagged URLs:   You're probably familiar with URL shortners like or  They take a long, ugly URL and make it real short.  Did you know you can take a long URL that is tagged like the above URL, drop it into and shorten it?  The coolest part about this is that the tags you set up still work in the shortened URL!  Super cool!  Even better, now you can track your Adwords Video Remarketing campaigns in GA and not have Adwords Auto Tagging mess up.  

So Let's Recap:

To track Adwords Video Remarketing campaign in GA: 

  1. Use Google's URL builder to correctly set up a tracking URL. 
  2. Drop that tagged URL into URL shortener. 
  3. Use that shortened URL as your destination URL in your Adwords Video Remarketing ad. 


1.  Great I set this up, Now where do I look for my data in GA? 

Good Question!  In GA go to Traffic Sources>Overview>Search>Campaigns:

Then you'll see your Video Remarketing data there.   

Question 2:  Is there an easier way to create the utm parameters and then shorten them?

Well, its really not that hard going to Google's URL Builder then dropping them into to shorten them.  But since you asked- yes!

There's a cool tool from that not only creates the tagged URL but can shorten it on the fly, download it to Excel, make a QR code from it and more.  Check it out here.

Here's a screenshot of the tool with an example URL:   


Of course, you can use this technique to track anything you'd like, Facebook ads and posts, Tweets, anything else you'd like to track.  See this great article to learn all about utm parameters and all the things you can track:  

How To Use UTM Parameters In Google Analytics 5

So, what do you think, will this help you track your Video Remarketing ads in Google Analytics? 

 Update:  I noticed that in Google Analytics (GA), there were a number of keywords showing up as (not set).  I figured out that it was the URLs from the above Adwords Video Remarketing campaigns.  The only way I know to have it not show up as (not set) is to add a utm term or utm keyword parameter.  

You could put it like this (see bold are in URL below):

Its not a perfect workaround but at least you won't have many visits showing up as (not set) and clients wondering why this is the case. & Other Refferal Sites- What You Need to Know.

You may have noticed in your Google Analytics reports of sites like the infamous sending all sorts of traffic to your site. 

What's the deal with this and why is this happening?  Here's what you need to know:

Basically, when you see a site like in your Google Analytics referrers its called referrer spam.  Here's how it work via a post by Martha Seroog:

  1. A website wants to increase its traffic artificially
  2. They visit your website, view your source code and grab your analytics code (yes, it's visible to anyone)
  3. They post your code onto their website (along with thousands of other site's codes)
  4. They visit their own site and ta-da...they appear in YOUR analytics report as a referring site.

What does this mean to you and what can you do about it?

You could perhaps make a filter for traffic from such sites.  But so many people have noticed this that you have to believe Google is on top of this and will be putting an end to's sneakiness.

The down part of this is that all your clients will be asking you who is and that it may artifically inflate your reports and/or make your bounce rates look strange. 

Any thoughts on how you are handling referrer spam?

p.s.:  Hat tip to these excellent posts.  Check them out:

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