Connect Pardot + Google Analytics (Beyond the first click)

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Pardot (Marketing Cloud Account Engagement/SFMC AE) is a popular choice among organizations using Salesforce, thanks to its tight data sync. As great as this duo is, they are not designed to do absolutely everything.

When it comes to tracking online interactions, Google Analytics/Google Ads are the market leader for a reason. Being ‘always on’, they instantly capture every touchpoint, building up an incredibly rich picture. The drawback with these platforms is that assessing performance is only surface-level; all data is anonymized, so you can’t pinpoint individual prospects’ behavior.

Naturally, you will want to pull all of these interactions into Salesforce, associate them with the individual prospect’s record, and eventually, prove ROI from closed won business.

There are limitations with the options currently available which led me to ask myself a number of questions. Could there be a solution? Let’s find out.

Google + Pardot Connectors: Overview

You may be thinking this is already possible, out-of-the-box. To an extent, yes you can – however, not to the outcomes that you may need. Let me explain.

The Pardot Google Analytics and Google Ads Connectors are available for all Pardot customers. These are designed to “plug in” and sync click data from Google Analytics/Ads to Pardot prospect records.

The Google Analytics connector records details on the Pardot prospect relating to a prospect’s first click. This includes tags (UTMs): campaign name, medium, source, content, and term.

The Google Ads connector also excels in the “first click” territory. If their “conversion” (ie. submitting a form) was a direct result of clicking on an advert served up by Google Ads, then the prospect record is tied to that Ad Campaign in Pardot. Google Ads interactions (beyond the first click) will be presented as a prospect activity history. In short, this means that although subsequent advert clicks are recorded, the prospect is not associated with those Ads Campaigns.

While this information is useful, it’s unworkable (perhaps there’s some wizardry that can shoehorn this data out from where/how it is, into where/how you want it but it will be highly custom and prone to potential error).

This is perhaps my biggest frustration, that Ads click activities are read-only. While prospect Ads clicks are listed, you can’t do much else with them, unlike the other prospect activities that you can use in automation (e.g. run automation rules), nor do these Google-related activities sync to Salesforce (i.e. to report on them using Salesforce Reports).

There were 5 questions that I was asking myself recently:

  1. What about the last/most recent click?
  2. How do we make data more useable?
  3. What about other digital channels?
  4. How do we reflect this in Google reporting?
  5. What about respecting privacy?

What About the Last/Most Recent Click?

While I don’t want to sound like a “broken record” repeating myself, the Google Analytics and Google Ads Connectors provided by Pardot record details relating to a prospect’s first click.

Most organizations prefer using a “last touch” model over a “first touch” model (both explained here).

Why not capture the last/most recent click information, just like the first click information?

How To Make Data More Useable?

Field data (on lead/contact records) can be used in automation (e.g. run automation rules, in Salesforce Flow), and can be reported on using Salesforce Reports, and other analytics tools (B2B MA, Tableau, etc.).

You can also do calculations on this data. One highly popular metric is lead acquisition cost – which can be calculated at the individual lead/contact level, extended to a group of leads/contacts, or by channel.

What About Other Digital Channels?

You’ll be all too familiar that the digital marketing industry releases new innovations each year. Multi-channel marketing has become mega-multi-channel.

Aside from Google Ads, no doubt that you use some of these popular channels in your marketing: Bing Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads Interactions. And of course, there are the “staple” SEO and direct (to your website) interactions.

Let’s not lose sight of these effective channels (especially ones with an investment involved).

How Do We Reflect This in Google Reporting?

As I mentioned, Google Analytics is the market leader for a reason. The wealth of information recorded in Google Analytics can be “sliced and diced” in almost infinite ways to answer any question you may have about visitor behavior on your website.

However, there’s a lack of insight into the outcomes (i.e. conversions) that happen beyond your website. Why? Because they’re tucked away in your Salesforce CRM.

Key conversion points in Salesforce can be recorded in Google Analytics as “goals”. Goals indicate an event that gas a clear value, e.g. “Salesforce – Closed Opportunity”, “Demo completed” (you would have configured goals to suit your needs).

For each goal, you’ll see the completions, conversion rate, and the monetary value – e.g. the “Salesforce – Closed Opportunity” goal would pull in the “amount” data from your Salesforce Opportunities.

This “closes the loop” on your Google Analytics reporting – what happened on your website, and what the outcomes were beyond your website. You have the option to view data from the point of view of both digital engagement data in Salesforce – and Salesforce data in Google Analytics.

What About Privacy?

Respecting visitors’ privacy (when they wish for their activity to not be tracked) is crucial.

The reality is that we cannot rely on third-party cookies (those added by services that are not your company); instead, we must rely on first-party data – as in, the data customers want to share with you.

Regardless of whether a website visitor gives consent, you can still capture the number of interactions per channel they’ve made. You saw this in action above, here it is again:

How Can These Questions be Answered?

I’ve explored each of these 5 questions with a solution that ticks these boxes. It’s a new way of looking at digital channel engagement, keeping the evolving privacy trends in mind.

That solution is called Heeet. “Stop guessing lead acquisition costs” is Heeet’s philosophy. Simply put, Heeet is a connector that sits between Salesforce and Google Analytics, Google Ads, and many other channels – pulling detailed first and last touch data into Salesforce, and recording key conversion points in Salesforce to Google Analytics as “goals”.

It’s easy to set up, plus, create and maintain GA goals from Heeet’s Salesforce app.

There’s a fixed, lifetime cost. One payment grants you get access to everything Heeet offers.

I’ve seen so many organizations that wish this gap in the market was filled. This is why you should request a demo, even if it’s to fulfill your curiosity. You can have your Salesforce data work in harmony with Google Analytics, so what do you have to lose?

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