Exact keyword tracking of Yahoo Search Marketing and Google Adwords in Analytics

This might be an unexpected article from me, but I’ve been busy with some things lately on a professional (as in: working to pay the bills) level.

I’m sure anyone in the business of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has read the article on Exact Keyword Tracking with Google Analytics on ROIrevolution.com. If you haven’t, do so now!

The client I’ve been working for lately, wanted to extend their reach from Google Adwords to Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM) (Yahoo search accounted for 23% of organic search of US’ visitors). I wanted to capture the same data (“keyword bidded on” vs. “exact search phrase/keyword”) for YSM as for Adwords. Well, that happens to be entirely possible, one might even say better possible with YSM than with Adwords.

I’m not going to explain to you in detail how you can add extra information to your landing page URL, as this page about Tracking Yahoo! Keyword Data in Google Analytics on PPCHero.com already does that in detail.

So, here it goes at a high pace:

Add the following query string to your landingpage URL for any Ad in YSM:


Now, when you’ve read the abovementioned article on ROIrevolution.com, or are already using their ga_keyword2.js javascript file, you only need to replace the file with the following modified ga2_keyword2.js to track exact keywords of Yahoo Search Marketing and Google Adwords in Analytics (right click to “Save link as…”).

The biggest difference between tracking exact query’s of YSM and Adwords is the way that info is transmitted to the client:

  • Yahoo Search Marketing puts the info in the URL query string (when you use the abovementioned query).
  • Google Adwords puts the info in the referrer string

Therefore the script has been slightly modified to detect whether the source is YSM or Adwords, and parse the URL or referrer string accordingly.

Yahoo Search Marketing will appear in Google Analytics as “ysm”. When you like it to appear as “yahoo” (and thus merge it with the organic search results, although you can differentiate between those using the paid/non-paid links on the Search Engines page) you will need to make some edits.
You need to replace utm_source=ysm with utm_source=yahoo in the query string for your Ad landing page.
In the modified ga_keyword2.js javascript file, on line 47, replace utm_source=ysm with utm_source=yahoo.

So, the only thing you need to do is:

  • Add the query string to every Ad’s landing page URL in Yahoo Search Marketing (don’t blame me for their cr*p interface).
  • Replace your existing ga_keyword2.js with the modified version.

That’s it! Enjoy you newfound wisdom!

3 thoughts on “Exact keyword tracking of Yahoo Search Marketing and Google Adwords in Analytics”

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