How to attribute PAID MAP Ads vs a ORGANIC MAP / GMB traffic

kevan_hancock

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Joined
Jan 8, 2020
Messages
6
I might be missing some obvious fix but....
What are we supposed to do when paid search ads in maps (via location extensions) use the exact same URL (with UTM variables) as our GMB URLs? Any suggestions on how to get Google to use 2 different URLs in maps: one for the GMB listing and another for the ad showing up in maps? We need this minimum level visibility into our local channels.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Jul 19, 2012
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kevan_hancock

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Jan 8, 2020
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6
Hi @kevan_hancock There's no way to use a different URL (GMB vs Pack-Ad) but what we do is add a tracking phone number in Google My Business under the Advanced Settings in the “Local Extensions” field, to track your local pack ads. At least this way you can attribute phone calls correctly.

More on that in this interview that Joy did with Darren - A Quick Guide to Local Pack Ads with Special Guest Joy Hawkins - Whitespark Local Insider
Thanks Colan. We are doing that as well. It's a small patch over a hole in attribution that I think everyone is experiencing... a hole that I suspect is likely 2-3x larger than what we can id via phone tracking.
 

Cherie Dickey

Local Search Expert
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Jan 30, 2018
Messages
308
I have never tried this (oddly... maybe I should), I wonder if the GMB showing as a result of ads would be considered paid traffic in Analytics.

This might be a spin off question... I'm still pretty new to ads in the grand scheme of things, haha
 

kevan_hancock

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2020
Messages
6
I should have added this image to the initial post. Shows they ad using the exact same URL w/ UTM parameters set up in GMB panel link to website. hope this helps explain the issue better.

iss gmb url issue.png
 

Tiggerito

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May 5, 2016
Messages
31
I did a quick test of an ad here and the link did some 302 redirects and ended up sending a glcid value to the page. So by default Google Ads does pass tracking info to Google Analytics.

I suspect utm parameters in the ads url might override that. I could not duplicate that specific ad to test.

If the presence of utm parameters messes up the Ads tracking, you could use a variant of my trick. I use a hash value in the URL to flag it's a link from GMB. e.g. #LocalBusiness. My pages detect that and rewrite the address to include the utm parameters. This happens before GA fires, so it sees the utm parameters. You could add a check to see if the gclid is present, and if so, don't add the utm parameters.
 

Yan Gilbert

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Oct 15, 2016
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314
Tiggerito, could you explain a bit more? I am not familiar with the adwords side much.

Also, when you say "My pages detect that and rewrite the address to include the utm parameters. " is this something you have to set up?
 

Tiggerito

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Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
31
I'll see if I can.

Google Ads by default will create trackable landing page URLs for Google Analytics. I believe in the early days they used the utm parameters, but now they use a special gclid parameter. Both methods enable Google Analytics to determine information like campaign name, source and medium for a visitor. They override the default way that source and medium are calculated.

If the GMB listing contains utm parameters, then they are probably also added to the Ads landing page URL. And I believe utm parameters win over gclid parameters. Which means they hide the fact that a link came from Google Ads. Whatever you enter in the utm parameters decides how all links from the GMB listing are counted.

I'll try and explain a simpler solution to what I said before.

When a page loads the GA code is not instantly run. This gives you the opportunity to change the information it sees. In particular, it uses the URL in the address bar to determine what URL the pageview relates to.

This means you can write JavaScript to alter the address bar (history.pushState) and change what gets tracked.

e.g. if the URL contains gclid and utm parameters, you could remove the utm parameters so that Google Ads takes credit.

In my case, I do a few extra steps. The GMB URL is in the form like #LocalBusiness. I detect that and change it to utm parameters. GA consumes that. And then I remove the utm parameters to leave a nice clean address bar URL.

When I have the chance, I'll see if I can confirm these assumptions.
 

Yan Gilbert

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Oct 15, 2016
Messages
314
Thanks. I appreciate the extra info. Wanted to confirm the use of an extra script doing a few of those steps.
 

pony

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Joined
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
110
I still use a unique query parameter is the URLs we provided to GMB so that we can track organic ma-pack traffic and it has worked just fine for years.
 

Tiggerito

Member
Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
31
I've just updated my article on this that now includes code that deals with Google Ads based links. Hopefully it's more helpful than my ramblings here.

 

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