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SPI 665: How to Measure Your Marketing and Make More Money with Chris Mercer

The best part about online marketing is that it’s fast. Most of the time, you’ll either see results right away or not at all. But if your offer isn’t working, how do you change course?

With the right data and measurements, the answer is simple!

In today’s episode, I’m joined by Chris Mercer of He is here to help us take the guessing game out of creating high-performing offers.

Chris helps businesses figure out what’s working and what isn’t and stops them from committing “random acts of marketing” that never deliver. Here’s the kicker—the tools you need are all free to use!

But what are the measurements to pay attention to and the easiest ways to automate your analytics?

Chris shares his step-by-step framework with us in this game-changing conversation. Don’t miss out because, by the end, you’ll have everything you need to completely transform your marketing!

Join us, and make sure to check out the incredible toolbox Chis has prepared for SPI listeners on his website. With next-level strategies and templates, this free resource will absolutely blow your mind!

Today’s Guest

Chris Mercer

Chris “Mercer” Mercer, co-founder of, is a sought-after measurement marketing expert. Mercer (as he’s known) and his team have been helping marketers, marketing teams, and agencies measure their marketing so they know what’s working, what’s not, and what’s coming next.

First by planning out what’s important to measure in their marketing, then how to actually measure it (using tools like Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics), creating dashboards that are actually useful, and pulling actionable insights from what’s being measured to begin forecasting and optimizing future results.

Mercer spends countless hours reading, practicing, adjusting, and innovating to improve his skill set. He has a knack for teaching and is known for his ability to simplify even the most complex ideas for his audience.

In addition to co-hosting MeasureSummit (the largest event in the world dedicated to digital measurement), he can be found speaking at conferences and events, such as Traffic & Conversion, Social Media Marketing World, Content Jam, TravelCon, Digital Elite Camp, Baby Bathwater Institute, and others.

You’ll Learn


SPI 665: How to Measure Your Marketing and Make More Money with Chris Mercer

Chris Mercer: You will see that change so fast if you fix something. This is my favorite part about online marketing. If it’s gonna work, it’s gonna work fast.  And if it’s not gonna work, it’s not gonna work fast. It’s never like you put something else out there and then after four weeks for no reason, this starts working. It’s just that never happens.

And so the beauty of measurement is being able to go, Hey, this is not working. Cool, let’s change this. We’ll remeasure, give it maybe two or three days. Remeasure again. Did we see the spike up? Great. Now let’s go see are we getting the results from that? And if not, then you move on to the next thing.

Pat Flynn: If you don’t measure it there is no way you can improve. What am I talking about? I’m talking about your business. Measuring the things that are happening and understanding exactly what’s going on is vital. Or else you’re just guessing. Or else, as Chris says, you’re just doing random acts of marketing and we need to stop that.

And so I brought on Chris Mercer, a friend of mine who’s been in and around the world of entrepreneurship for a very long time now, to just tell us how to do it, to tell us right from the start, especially if you’re a beginner or perhaps you’re selling some stuff and you always feel like you’re just kind of trying this thing over here and this thing over there, Chris is gonna lay it down.

He has a website over at and he helps businesses understand what’s going on. He provides some incredible analogies and understanding that makes just super easy to to know, and we do get a little bit more into some advanced stuff as we go along, but we set the foundation for you because if you are not at all thinking about how you’re measuring, and I’m not just talking about like this many people came to my website and then this many people bought, you’re not doing it right.

Let Chris tell you exactly how it should be. This is Session 665 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, Chris Mercer from Check ’em out.

Announcer: You’re listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, don’t ask him to do a voice impression because it’ll come out wrong. Very wrong. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Chris, welcome to the Smart Passive Income podcast. Thanks so much for joining me today.

Chris Mercer: Thanks, man. It’s a pleasure. It’s been, it been a long time coming.

Pat Flynn: It has been a long time coming. I, I think I, in passing at an event once I was like, Hey, we need to get you on the show, and that was maybe six or seven years ago.

So I apologize for waiting so long. But I think it’s about time because you are the master and you and your team really help people with uncovering a lot of holes that they might have in their marketing, specifically with measurement. And of course what doesn’t get measured can’t change or grow or improve, and, and this is where you’ve come in.

You’ve personally helped me and my team as well. And I’m excited for especially the beginners in the audience who just don’t know anything about this or, or who might have sold a few products and just now can unlock thanks to you a lot more, not just revenue. Understanding of what, of what’s happening.

But before we get to that, I, I do wanna go into your origin story in a little bit. I know you started a business in 2011 around that time that I started. And, and many people around that time were also doing what you were doing, which is just helping people build websites. People were coming online, they needed help.

That’s what you did, but then I know it took a pivot from there. So why don’t you start there and, and tell us kind of like how you got into Measurement Marketing specifically.

Chris Mercer: Yeah, absolutely. So we started, it was teaching WordPress to, to people who wanted to do WordPress sites. That was kind of the site that we initially created a little membership site that had just sort of taught that skill.

And this was me just being a freelancer, right? Back in the day, just sort of starting off on my own. And then I, it moved into somebody emailing me one day saying, Hey, this is great. I love the course. Seems like a lot of work. Can you just do a WordPress site for me? Like we need a membership site like yours.

How much for you to do that? And I remember, and I charged 500 bucks for a full membership site and it took me two hours, right? because I was thinking, wow, two $50 an hour, this is amazing. You know, little do I know about value pricing now, you know, but but that’s where I first started. And, and in order we decided to do that and pivot into building WordPress sites.

The instant question I had right after that is, well, how am I gonna differentiate from everybody else who builds WordPress sites? And the concept was fairly new back then, back in 2011, called conversion rate optimization. It was just sort of hitting the US. It’s not just what you market, but it’s, it’s how you market.

That’s important cuz you can improve conversion rates if you do that. So it was like, well, let’s build the sites and then we will optimize them and we can do split testing and conversion optimization. So we’ll constantly help them improve the results. Well, in order to improve results, you first must know what the results are and that’s where measurement came in.

So we would set up Google Analytics and then deliver the whole site with the Google Analytics. And here’s how you can tell if Facebook is creating leads or sales or all the other stuff people wanted to know. And then as soon as we did, what happened was the referrals changed practically overnight. It stopped becoming people saying, Hey, I need a WordPress site.

It was, I was in a mastermind and somebody was showing me what they, what you did with their Google Analytics, and we already have a WordPress site. We already have a site. Could you help us do that with our Google Analytics? And that’s where we realized the pivot was, is that we had sort of accidentally set up Google Analytics in a way that people generally didn’t do.

And because we set it up in this way, it was actually a lot more useful for normal people to do something with it. Well, I didn’t need a data analyst anymore. It’s like, oh, I know what’s going on. I can see the story. I know what actions to take. I can decode the matrix. Right? Everything that everybody was interested.

And so that’s where we pivoted into going, okay, let’s just train this as a tool. Then we moved into measurement overall because it is ex wildly expanded with a number of tools that are now available, and the rest is history. That’s where got its name from.

Pat Flynn: I love it. So what do we, or are we supposed to be measuring?

I mean, it feels like you could measure everything. But when it comes to conversion specifically, what should we be paying attention to?

Chris Mercer: It’s a really great question cause I think there are three main problems that most marketers have. It’s either they have no clear roadmap. In other words, they have no idea what questions they should be asking, what they should be measuring for, all that sort of stuff.

Maybe they’ve got a bunch of reports, but they’re chaotic, meaning a lot of data, a lot of information, but no real story, right? Nothing really leads to action. They just have a bunch of stuff, and that’s chaotic reports. The third problem people have is random acts marketing, which is they’re just trying something that they saw the latest mastermind or heard a latest podcast readily, latest blog post.

But honestly, it’s just a guess we’re, we’re not doing this on any sort of scientific method here. It’s just, let’s just try and see what happens. So those are the three main problems, and I think they all stem at their. From missing one very important point, and the way I I like to, to talk about this stuff is I, I tried to make it related to like an offline type of business because that’s where human nature is, right?

Offline business things are normal for us to think about offline, and then for some reason, the online world, we do completely differently. Case in point, if you had a shoe store and I walk into your shoe store and I’m, and you’re like, Hey, how can I help you today? And I’m like, oh, sorry. I was looking for the tire place that used to be here.

And you’re like, oh, yeah, they moved across the street, their next door in a bigger location. That would be the end of the conversation you would have with me. But in the digital world, you would’ve followed me over to the tire store, wait for me to leave and say, now do you wanna buy shoes? Cuz clearly you had interest in buying shoes cuz you were in my shoe store.

Right? That’s so funny. And that’s where digital marketers got it really wrong. Right. And and the core, the problem with what causes that is that in a offline example, I walk into your shoe store, you have a conversation with me, and you adjust your conversation based on what the conversation I have with you.

So if I come into that same scenario and I say, actually, I’m just looking for some sneakers, you’re like, excellent. We got sneakers on sale. What are you gonna use ’em for? Let’s go look at these, blah, blah, blah. Walk me through, right? You’re, you’re gonna adjust what you say based upon what I say, and you’re gonna take different actions based upon what I do because you’re paying attention to me as a customer.

This is normal for offline. Nobody thinks about that. It’s just how humans. Digitally though, how do we listen to their side of the conversation? How? Because there’s a real conversation happening. It’s just that it’s not happening with you. It’s happening with your website and the user, and it’s having a conversation.

Every step that they’re in, in that user journey is having a conversation to try to get them to the next step. But if you don’t know what that conversation is, if you can’t quote unquote sort of listen how are you possibly gonna adjust? And so how do we listen to the conversation? That’s what measurement is for.

Measurement is how we listen to their side of the conversation. And then marketing is what we do to adjust our conversation, our side of it, so that it continues in the direction we want to go. Ideally in some sort of purchase or lead or, you know, completion of some user journey that we’re trying to get them to do.

So that’s the core is to realize like that’s what measurement is for. It’s not for all the numbers, it’s not for all the data. At its core, it’s to understand their side of the conversation. And when we understand that as marketers, it becomes easier to actually do the marketing because you understand their side of the conversation.

You go, oh, you took it like this. Like for example, digitally, there’s a very big difference between somebody coming to your, let’s say they come to your offer. Whether that’s an e-commerce product, detail page or a a long form, you know, page or a webinar, whatever the offer is, they come to the offer and they don’t go, let’s say to the cart, right?

This is the next step you’re trying to get. They don’t go to the cart, that’s the problem. Let’s say that you can measure the number of people going to the offer page and like nobody’s going to the cart page. What do you adjust? And that’s where it gets into random max marketing. The whole team gets together, goes, what do you think it is? I think it’s the headline. I think it’s the design. I think we should try a whole new funnel. I think we should change the offer. I think it’s the price and everybody guesses. In reality, if I said to you, well, hang on, before you do that, they are sticking around less than 10 seconds.

They’re not scrolling at all, right? And they’re not interacting with this page in any way, shape or form. They didn’t even know what your offer is. Then you go, oh, well this is definitely an above the fold issue. Either it’s something maybe the headline, maybe the top part of the page. It loads, it’s not matching their expectation somehow.

Maybe it was the traffic source, the ad on Facebook that we said that said, Hey, sweaters are on sale. And we sent ’em to a page where tires were, they’re on sale. And it was a weird disconnect for them, right? We made ’em think, and that’s how we lost it. But at least now you know where to focus and you don’t do things like, well, let’s change the offer, because it’s like, well, not even, they don’t even know what your offer is yet.

So why would you need to, and you can measure for all these different behaviors to sort of get an idea of what the flow is on their side of the conversation.

Pat Flynn: In narrowing down that focus on where or what to change is, is really key. That’s, that’s one big thing I’ve learned cuz random acts of marketing.

Man, that felt like a dagger when you said that cuz that’s, so.

Chris Mercer: I think it’s a, a Dan Kennedy term, full disclosure. I don’t think, I would love to say that’s mine, but. But it, but it’s everybody. Everybody has that.

Pat Flynn: So relatable. Yep. Yeah. Okay. So we want to know the conversations that are happening. What an amazing way to reframe what this is really all about.

And that makes complete sense. And it’s interesting cuz we are starting to see, and we’ve seen this for years now, different companies from Google to, you know, just your mom and pop shop trying to behave more like a human online, right? Replacing the word algorithm with audience and all those, all those kinds of things.

But when it comes to our own specific websites, let’s, let’s continue maybe with this thought experiment or case study, people are bouncing within 10 seconds. How do we then begin to narrow it even further and I know that in testing terms, personally, I know it’s like, okay, let’s try one thing different and see if that is the reason and, and is that the way to go about measurement?

It’s, it’s essentially like just split test everything.

Chris Mercer: Yeah. And, and it’s like, I would say that’s more optimization side of things than measurement. Measurement is kind of what’s happening. Optimization is, okay, what do we do about it? Right, but it is part of measurement overall, I guess, right? But, but the measuring of the numbers tells you sort of what we think is going on.

So for example, if they come to that offer page, and let’s say like we have an expectation, we measure for these, we call it something we call eyes on the Journey, cuz all these different stages start with I, but like we have the impression of the page. That’s when the page first loads. We have, are they introduced to the concept on the page?

That’s, did they stick around at least 10 seconds? Then we have, did they show interest in what’s on the page and let’s say it’s a long form sales copy style page that might be 50% of the way that they’re scrolling and they’ve been on there for at least 45 seconds. So they’re not scanning it, they’re actually interacting with some of the messaging there and, and, and reading it.

Hopefully then there’s, okay, now that we know that they’re interested, did they investigate the offer and that might be, well, the pricing table loads for at least four seconds in their viewable browser. Right? And this is where measurement people go. I didn’t even know you could measure for that. I didn’t even know that was even possible to know.

And it’s like, well, if you knew that people were coming to the page and leaving within 10 seconds versus coming to the page showing interest, staring at your pricing table for at least four seconds ago, and I just don’t think it’s worth clicking over. Right? Two completely different problems that you solve and, and the solutions become easier.

One might be, well, the offer page isn’t providing, it’s not building value. And so they’re basically saying, I get it. I understand what I think the offer is, but I just don’t think it’s worth what you’re, you’re asking for it. So I’m not even gonna try to go to the cart. Like I’m not, I’m just not interested in the value there.

In which case, now you go to the copy team and say, Hey, how do we simplify what message might be back there? Maybe make it more benefit driven. How do we provide more value? How do we sell this a little bit better? So that there’s value there and they initiate to go to the cart. If it’s a problem with they’re not even sticking 10 seconds, well, it has nothing to do with that because they’re not seeing that stuff.

Right, so then it’s, well, it’s probably an above the fold issue where there’s a disconnect. Something we call the expectation engine. Right, which is. When you are clicking on a link ever, any, anywhere on the internet and just humans in general. When you, when you go to take an action, you have an expectation in your head already of how that’s about to play out.

So going back to the internet example, if I’m on Facebook and I click on an ad that says, sweaters on sale. Right before that click, I already have an idea of what’s about to happen. I’m gonna go to a page that’s gonna talk about how sweaters are on sale and I should see sweaters and something about the sale.

That’s what I expect. So if it goes to a page where like tires are on sale because it’s like Walmart or some big giant company that does a bunch of stuff, then there’s already a disconnect. I’m like, well, that didn’t match my expectation. The lizard brain is gonna kick in, and I’m gonna go like, wait a second.

Where am I? What happened? And now I’m, I’m out of the ether. I’m thinking about stuff and I’m less likely to continue the conversation with you because you’re not matching the expectation. And you can see that in measurement. That’s the part you can see where it’s like, wow, they’re, they’re not even sticking more in 10 seconds.

So to your point, how do you fix it? Well, if we said, well, we, we have a forecast that says, in our case this is true, 88 to 93% of the people should stick at least 10 seconds. if it’s less than that, if it’s in the low eighties or high seventies or something like that, we already know there’s a definite mismatch.

So we might say, okay, well maybe it’s the headline. Like, let’s pretend for a second. It was the, the we look at the ad that was maybe sending to that page and the ad says 20% off act now. Right? And then we go to the headline. The headline doesn’t emphasize that or reinforce that. So we say, ah, maybe that’s why.

Let’s change the headlines. So it also emphasizes, hey, for limited time, 20% off, right? Whatever that. Then what we can do is we can test, and there’s two different types of testing you can do split tests. Most small businesses, to be honest, just don’t have the traffic for a proper split test. But you still wanna be able to change and adjust and grow your company.

And that’s kind of the beauty of measurement. So you can test by changing your headline. Waiting a couple of days, depending upon the traffic that you have waiting a couple days, have a couple hundred people maybe see that page again, and you can measure and see is it different? Did we get back from, is it now instead of 75% leaving in 10 seconds, there’s like, most people are staying more than 10 seconds and then it’s in the high nineties now.

Almost everybody’s staying more than 10 seconds. You will see that change so fast if you fix something. This is my favorite part about online marketing. If it’s gonna work, it’s gonna work fast. And if it’s not gonna work, it’s not gonna work fast. It’s never like you put something else out there and then after four weeks for no reason, this starts working.

It’s just that never happens. And so the beauty of measurement is being able to go, Hey, this is not working. Cool, let’s change this. We’ll remeasure, give it maybe two or three days. Remeasure again. Did we see the spike up? Did that number go back to, did we show that they’re introduced now? Are they actually interacting with the page?

Yes, they are. Now let’s go see are we getting the results from that? And if not, then you move on to the next thing. Maybe they are looking at the offer, but they’re going, eh, I don’t really like it. Then you’re like, okay, let’s revisit the offer. Let’s change that. Let’s see. You know, but now you know where to focus your very limited resources, cuz none of us have time for guessing and trying every possible variation.

We’re getting into arguments and all the drama that comes with market. And that’s my favorite part about measurement is it eliminates all that because it sort of says, this is the part you need to focus on. Put your efforts here, right? And why it doesn’t say, here’s the headline you should use. It doesn’t give you that specific.

It does say like, it’s probably in this area, so better than an average chance that you’re gonna move the needle if you do this. So you get to be more efficient, you get to see results faster. And that’s kind of the beauty of measurement and not to. You understand the conversation better, which helps you understand kind of how they’re interacting with stuff future offers.

You can take those lessons you’ve learned and apply them to your new marketing efforts, and it just keeps giving.

Pat Flynn: Let’s start with that very first. Issue that a person might have, which is a person visits their website and then they leave within 10 seconds. How do you know that’s happening or not? What, what tools are you using?

Chris Mercer: Yeah, there’s a couple of great tools you can use. Fortunately, one of the new kids on the block, and I, and I say new, this is new it’s, it’s called Google Analytics 4 it’s the new Google Analytics. That’s come out. So hopefully everyone listening to this right now is already using it. If not, it’s the old Google Analytics stops working on July 1st, 2023.

So just, you know, months from now it’s gonna go away. So you gotta be, yeah, set up on that. In Google Analytics 4 kind of out of the box. One of the benefits of this particular platform is it knows how to tell time where the old Google Analytics really didn’t, it didn’t know how to do that. Google Analytics 4 starts counting seconds. The second somebody’s on the page and the reason that’s important is because it actually has a feature called Engaged Sessions that you can set by default, guess what? It’s 10 seconds. So, and you can make it up to 60 seconds, depending upon your business model. So you can go to Google Analytics 4 and you can say, well, show me engaged sessions.

And then you can see how many of the sessions that happened were actually engaged. So I had a hundred sessions started, a hundred visits came to the page, 90 of them were engaged. Therefore, 90% of the people are staying more than 10 seconds, right? Or at least 10. If it shows 50% of the people are engaged, you’re like, okay, half those people are leaving within 10 seconds.

What’s going on? Right. There’s got, there’s a problem specific to this page, and so there’s, there’s so many things that you can do in GA four that help guide you that’s free, that that tool’s free that, and that’s completely free. Yeah, absolutely. The best part about measurement, in my opinion is all the tools that you need are free.

There’s another fool called Tag Manager. Google Tag Manager. That is certainly something that eventually every business will grow into. You don’t have to start with it, but it is a better version of time. So that’s what we use. We use Tag Manager to say things like, when they’re on the page for 10 seconds, go tell Google Analytics 4 they have been introduced to whatever the offer is. When they look at the pricing table for at least four seconds in the viewable browser window, go tell Google Analytics 4 they are now investigating the offer. Right? And so we use Tag Manager for that because that’s what that platform was built to do, is to measure all these very specific behaviors.

It takes a, there’s a little bit of learning curve to it, but it’s, it is fairly easy to start using once you get the basics of it down. The beauties, they’re all free.

Pat Flynn: When you go to Google Analytics 4, because you’ve set up Tag Manager that way does, do you literally have it marked as, and it literally has the word like, Introduced and investigating, like you, you can set those.

Yeah, that’s cool.

Chris Mercer: That’s really cool. Yeah, it’s, it’s really cool. In fact, I’ll kind of walk you through like a, like a setup that we’ve got. Yeah, sure. And this goes through like when we, when we have a journey. So we’ve got our journey called the Academy, right? So that’s the measurement. Working Academy is like a kind of our flagship, just in time learning platform for all this stuff.

One of the steps to that is to get them into what we called a free membership, which is the toolbox. So we’ll create a toolbox membership and that’s part of the necessary. So what we’ll have is we have, are they aware of the toolbox membership and we measure for that. That might be as simple as did they go to the page that says, Hey, opt in for your free membership.

That’s awareness for us. And we will trigger an event that actually says Aware underscore toolbox. So we can tell in Google Analytics 4 that they’re aware of which customer journey, in this case, the toolbox customer journey. So then it’ll be, well, did they start filling out the field? That might be an engagement.

So that, oh, they’re engaging with toolbox, the the toolbox customer journey. Did they complete the journey? Well, that might be on the thank you page that says, okay, great. Go check your email for the login details. Right? That might be, oh, now they’ve completed the toolbox journey. So what we’ll do is we’ll tell tag manager, okay, when they’ve completed the toolbox, Tell Google Analytics 4 that they’ve, you know, it’ll say complete underscore toolbox.

So it’s, it’s what they call Custom Event, but it’s like, Hey, go tell that happened. It’s, it’s officially they’re done that journey and go tell Google Analytics 4 that they are what they call a lead and Google Analytics 4 terminology be generate underscored, lead. That’s what they call it. So we would say, go generate that lead.

You know what? Also tell Facebook, also tell Google Ads. So now Google Tag Manager is the single source of. It tells all the platforms about what behavior is happening at the same time in the same way, so that the platform’s less likely to start doing that. He says, she said stuff that happens sometimes.

Well, Facebook says, I made a million dollars, so does Google ads, but my bank account says I only have a hundred thousand, so somebody’s wrong. Right? And that, and a lot of that happens because there’s just pixels all over pages and nothing’s really coordinated and Tag manager helps clean some of that stuff up.

But to your point, with Google Analytics 4, one of the beauties of this. It’s actually a, a good and bad thing is it is wide open and, and just everything’s an event. It doesn’t care what you call things, it just needs to know what it’s called. What, what behavior are you trying to measure? Put a name to that. That’s what I’m gonna record it as.

The beauty of it is that it’s wide open. You can do anything you want so I can create a toolbox, complete event, and you can complete a specific event for when they listen to a podcast right on, on SPI so it’s like, okay, cool, I can do that. At the same time, the reason it’s bad is because it requires a lot more planning.

Because you sort of have to come up with that. There’s not an out of the box, like, here are the custom events you should be using for your business model. There’s not that, cuz they’re custom events. They, they’re created to answer your questions, not somebody else’s. So you have to do a little bit more planning.

And this is where it ties back into kind of where we started this whole thing, which is the mistake that I think people make with measurement isn’t, isn’t the tools, believe it or not, it’s not, oh, I don’t know how to use the tool. It’s, I don’t know how to measure . So it doesn’t matter if you know how to use the tool, if you don’t, if you don’t use the tool properly it, you’re not gonna get where you can from it, right?

For example, let’s say you are an incredible podcaster, right? You’re an incredible podcaster. I look at your podcast and I’m like, wow. You know what I, I would love to be an incredible podcaster too. I see what he’s doing. That microphone’s amazing.

I’m gonna go buy that microphone. Maybe I’ve got a, a high pitched squeaky voice and I’m never prepared for my podcast and I’m doing all sorts of stuff and I have bad quality everything, and, and all this other stuff goes on. And that’s why, and I, and I don’t talk about anything consistently, right? And like all these problems that I have with podcasting.

But I think it’s your tool. And I’m like, oh, the mic. So I’m gonna go buy the mic. And I get the mic and I’m like, well, what am I gonna do with the now? I just sound better, but I’m still not talking properly about consistent topics. And it’s all the other problems that happen because I never learned how to be a podcaster.

I just thought the tool would save me. Right? Like when you wanna be a chef, you don’t go out and buy the chef’s kitchen, you learn how to cook. Because a really good chef could do amazing things if you give ’em a camper stove. They don’t need the fancy tools. So as a, as a small business, it’s, it’s us. It’s our job to understand measurement and how to use it in an organization to improve the results for that organization.

It’s, it’s almost like a turbocharger for the marketing team. That’s kind of how I think about it sometimes.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. So if you’re listening to this and you have a marketing team, this is hopefully of high interest to you and you might wanna invest in some more research and, and perhaps even information and guidance from Chris.

Chris, before we move on to the next set of questions, like where can people go to to get that help? And I know you serve teams out there like this, where should they go to check you out?

Chris Mercer: Yeah, so our main site, obviously, we’ve got the, the YouTube channel

If anybody wants to subscribe to the free training we offer there. And we also have that free toolbox thing I mentioned earlier that free membership and anybody that wants to do that just goes to for Smart Passage Income. And it’ll take you right to that page. And, and the thing that I would ask people to do if you’re really interested in seeing, like, okay, how are they doing?

When you go to, you’re gonna see a different page load up and it’s gonna have these things called UTM parameters and you can check in the URL and it’s going. That’s us identifying the Google Analytics to say, oh, they came, it’s gonna know they came from the Smart Passive Income podcast.

It’s gonna know it was a podcast type of traffic. Cuz we do a bunch of podcasts. It’s gonna know what the customer journey was for. It’s gonna know when we recorded the podcast, it’s gonna know all this. So that when I go to my Google Analytics and I say, well, how does podcast traffic do at toolbox leads?

It can tell me and I can break it down by a different podcast. And I can also, that’s how I know podcast is a good channel for us. That was Google Analytics telling us, Hey, we should investigate that as a channel. So but just to see it in action again, and you’ll see it there.

Pat Flynn: So what you are doing is, that’s a unique URL that will forward to a particular what’s called a U T M parameter that defines that that traffic is podcast traffic for your team and your analytics. And so, you know, I often teach podcasters, okay, like very important. You’re on a podcast just like Chris is on this one right now.

Have a unique URL so you can, you know, continue that conversation with those people and offer them something amazing more. And at the same time, this is super basic, like don’t laugh, but like using pretty links as your mask for WordPress. You’ll be able to track how many people go to that particular link.

Like that’s like. level one.

Chris Mercer: There’s nothing wrong with PrettyLinks man. That’s exactly how I set up this redirect using PrettyLinks. Okay, cool. That’s exactly right.

Pat Flynn: Yep. So, so you’ll see numbers in your WordPress PrettyLinks dashboard to go, oh, like 738 people came through. That’s neat. But what it doesn’t do that Google Analytics and creating UTMs, and I wanna ask how, like, how to do that in a second.

You’ll now have that data in Google Analytics and Discover, okay, these people who came from Pat’s podcast, like you can get that defined, I guess, if you want, but just all podcasts as a category, those leads convert much better than our other leads here. So let’s exactly. Let’s dedicate some money and time into more guest podcasts.

Right? Like that informs that. That’s exactly right. Okay, cool. Yeah.

Chris Mercer: So PrettyLinks will tell you how many people kind of initiated something, right? Like got in, you know, started it. Yeah. Yeah. Google Analytics will tell you what the behaviors were when they were. Right. So how many were there? Were they, were they there more than 10 seconds?

Right? Did they become a lead? Did they eventually buy the academy? Right. I can, I can see future visits and associated to, you know, people who first came into the brand, right? Understanding as a brand, and they were introduced through the Smart Passes income podcast. It’s like I can see all of that in Google Analytics when it’s properly set up right.

And that’s where those UTMs can, can help us to do that.

Pat Flynn: That’s fascinating. You can also discover also what’s not working. Like, wow, podcasts aren’t great for me and so let me save 10 hours or specific podcasts. Oh, okay. Like, hey, audience, like don’t let me down I guess. Anyway, don’t make me look bad.

Because Chris will know. Now do, do you actually like, I mean, I guess. It’s only when they come into your email list that you actually get like that contact information of, of the individual. Right. Is that, is that the point at which that happens?

Chris Mercer: That’s exactly right. Okay. And, and that’s a big trend that’s, that’s happening now in marketing in general.

Definitely in Europe with like GDPR and privacy and consent and everything else that goes on with, with data. Now that’s, absolutely coming to the US It’s not quite here yet. There, you know, California’s got theirs and there’s certain states that are trying stuff. Utah has got some stuff, things now, but it eventually become a US law that will have our own data privacy thing.

It’s probably gonna be at least a couple years out, I think, at this point. But it’s coming down the pike. And so the reason that’s important is as marketers we’re, we got very used to everything’s ours. It’s our data, right? Facebook was a perfect example of this. Back in the day, everything, if you clicked on a like button on somebody’s site, that was their like button click.

They could do anything they want with it, right? And what’s happening with data privacy and all these laws that are going on is it’s, it’s flipping the script. So the users control their data still. They still own it, and they can tell Facebook, Hey, I want you to get rid of my stuff or not use my stuff, or whatever.

So the, the reason that’s important is as a small, Is that same trend again is coming, especially in the us. For those of you that don’t listen in the us that trend there is important because you don’t want to go out there and collect a bunch of stuff that you don’t necessarily have permission to collect or that’s necessary to collect.

Why would I want personally identifiable information for somebody who essentially is walking by the out the outside of my building, right? They see my. . They know I’m a shoe store, but they walked by. They have no interest. I don’t need their email address. I don’t need their first name. I don’t even care. I just know that 12 people walked by.

That’s great. I know a certain percentage of those 12 are gonna walk in the store. , but I don’t care who those 12 are. Right. I’m not at this level. Now, when they walk in the store, they buy something, they’re, they’re having a much more in-depth experience, connection with the brand itself. Right.

Pat Flynn: They’ve opted into it, essentially.

Chris Mercer: Exactly. So every time they’re like, oh, here’s my email because I’m gonna exchange a little value. Oh, here’s a credit card number because I’m gonna get more value for that. Oh, here’s, I’m bringing a friend. Right? All that stuff that goes on with the relationship with the brand. And that’s again, the beauty of measurement is being able to see that.

And then ultimately, and this is kind of the pinnacle. You can start to forecast it to say, well, based on how the brand works and how the people are interacting with my website, here’s the trends and patterns that I can expect. Which means instead of always looking back and saying, what happened to the a hundred bucks I spent on Facebook last week?

You start saying things like, well, here’s what’s going to happen to the a hundred bucks I’m gonna spend next week. And then you can measure against that to see where you’re hitting the mark and where you’re not. Again, the whole point is it makes it easier to, to actually take action from a marketing perspective because you, you know, the area that’s not working as opposed to like, I don’t know, the, it’s like going to a mechanic and bringing the car, the car’s in the parking lot, and a mechanic looks at it and goes I don’t know.

It looks, looks like it’s the engine. And you’re like, how do you know you’re 50 feet away from it? Right? You gotta go look. But they marketers do it every day. Oh, I think it’s the engine. You know what? I think you need new tires. You know what? I think you should repaint the. And in reality, the problem is you need gas, right?

But no one’s looking at it. And so they’re all just guessing. And with measurement, you don’t have to do that. Measurement is lifting the hood and going, oh, you, you just need gas. That’s the problem here. You know?

Pat Flynn: Right. Measurement is the way to, to begin to start to automate a lot of that conversation, which again, we’re, we’re, we’re not saying like, Don’t ever have real life conversations with your audience anymore.

I mean, that could inform even more.

Chris Mercer: Oh, a hundred percent. That’s also a different way to measure, right? By using user conversations. Absolutely. Right. Yeah. There’s multiple ways to do it. Yeah.

Pat Flynn: This, I mean, a, I feel like you’re calling us all out, but B, you’re also giving us what we need, so thank you for that.

We sometimes need more people in our lives like that. On the UTMs, like I know there’s a website that a person could go to to essentially just create any UTMs that they want to be able to be a trackable link. Like can you give us like a super basic, how do we get started with UTMs again for the purpose of tracking and categorizing different types of traffic?

You had helped us back in the day with getting started with that and it’s far removed from me because it’s mostly Mindy on our team, our solutions manager doing all that. So can you give me a basic and everybody listening a basic rundown of, of how that works?

Chris Mercer: Yeah, absolutely. So first and foremost, anybody that’s interested in this or, or is not currently using UTMs, maybe this is the first time you’ve heard about these things.

Just Google for ’em. Be like, UTMs, how to, you’ll see a million blog posts, a million videos. I’ll talk about it. But the, the make it as simple as possible. There’s a bunch of different ones you can use. There’s actually, I think now seven, but let’s talk about three for example, just to keep it simple. So the core three that are important that if you’re not using these, you gotta start with.

is what they call the UTM_source. And, and when I say these, these are just what they call parameters in url. And you will see this if you anybody clicks on their emails, they click on the email, they can go into URL and you’ll see UTM source equals Octa campaign or something like that where it’s, and you’ll see everyone using these, right?

So you’s lots of examples, but the the source is just the brand name of the traffic source, right? We call this the who, what, and why. We have to know who is sending us. We have to know what type of traffic they’re sending us, and we have to know why. Why is the traffic coming in the first place? Right? So in an example, if I have, let’s say this podcast, we’re doing this podcast with a, right?

That redirects and that source is gonna say So I know it came from Smart Passive Income. So that’s U T M underscore source equals, and I type. Then there’s the medium, the what they call the medium. This is the weirdest word, but it’s just the type of traffic that’s all it is. So it’ll be, you know, amper sand and the parameters a little an sign, and then it says, you know, ut m underscore medium equals podcast.

So that tells our Google analytics. This is the A. So Pat is sending us traffic from smart passive income, right? He’s sending us podcast traffic pod number, it’s generated from the podcast versus if I did a guest blog post or something like that. Right? So now it’s podcast traffic coming from Smart Passive Income.

Then the what they call the campaign, that’s the why, right? So we’ll do U T M underscore campaign equals, and you have to use these words. You can’t change ’em. It’s UTM underscore source, U UTM underscore medium or UTM underscore campaign. But that campaign is the journey that we wanted them to be on, not a specific part of the journey, just the.

So what it’ll say for us is it’ll say Academy because now they’re starting in this case, but they’re a part of the Academy journey. So I know that that traffic came from Smart Passive Income. I know it was podcast and I from the podcast, and I know that they’re somewhere in the Academy journey that that’s what it’s for.

It’s for them to eventually become an academy member. So the beauty of that is because I know my who, what, and why when it comes to the type of traffic coming in, I can compare it to the results of that. and I can say, well, did they become aware of the Academy? Did they complete the academy journey? Did they engage along the way?

Did they see the cart view? Right? Did they become a toolbox lead like they were supposed to? Like I can measure, am I getting the results from this traffic? And what I’m describing is very subtle, but super important. I am solving the problem of multi-touch attribution that people keep trying to solve over and over again.

The way that that’s solved is by stop asking that stupid. It is a dumb question. The reason I say that is because it’s a question people have asked for a hundred years. Ever since John Watermaker said, I know 50% of my traffic works, I just don’t know which half. Right? Like that’s the same thing that’s happened over and over again.

People were trying to solve this, which traffic sources work together to cause which result, and it’s a nightmare to go through and it’s an impossible answer to get, cuz somebody would’ve figured out by now if there was an actual answer. There’s not. So I. I determine, well, Smart Passive Income has a goal.

It’s goal is to send me a certain amount of traffic. That traffic should create this result that I measure for that result. Now, I might expect Google organic search to pop up because of Smart Passive Income. People are gonna do a lot of searches and Measurement Marketing’s gonna come up in those searches.

So I would expect there’s gonna be a spike in Google Organic and I’m, I have a forecast that’s gonna say, did organic go up by 10% during this week when the podcast dropped? Right. Did it create awareness for the Academy? Cuz that’s what it’s supposed to. And that’s the subtle shift. It’s not, gee, where did people find my website?

And then, oh, they found it through Smart Passive Income. That’s interesting to know. Like that’s a, I don’t like interesting. I like useful. Yeah. So I’m like, well, what was it supposed to do? It was supposed to become toolbox leads. At least half of ’em were supposed to become toolbox leads. Did they? Yes they did, or no, they didn’t.

Okay. Well, if they didn’t, why not? Let’s go see how they interacted with a page. Maybe it was the offer or whatever. We had to switch some stuff around if they did. Great. Now, of those, let’s say 10% of those are supposed to buy the academy within seven days, did they? Well, I can’t really attribute that to you.

It’s Smart Passive Income, because that wasn’t the job of Smart Passive Income. It’s the job of the emails though. So then I set up UTMs, right, with these emails. And now it says, oh, they came from, cuz we’re using Infusionsoft. So, or Keep now, I guess Max Classic. So we will, it’ll say Infusionsoft is a source of traffic.

It’ll say email is the type and we, and it’ll say, Hey, they’re here for the academy journey. And then we put additional things in and it says, and I am the fourth email of the seven part email series that they’re on. My job is to get them to go to the. That’s what I want you to judge me on. And so now I have very specific traffic sources coming in, and they have, they’re telling me as they’re coming to the site what they’re trying to do.

So then I can go to using all, all Google Analytics, I can just connect those dots now and say, well, did you do, did the traffic do what it was supposed to do? Did you achieve what you were supposed to achieve? And I’m measuring through the user journey. So it’s not just purchases, right? It’s not just the result of things that I care about, but it’s how they did that.

Did they stay more than 10 seconds? Did they investigate the offer? Did they show interest in it? Right? And of course, did they buy it? But even if they’re not buying it, if I know that they saw it and they investigated the offer, even if they didn’t click to go to the cart and buy it. I know there was some, there was something there that caused them to do that.

So I got some working on my end to clean that up a little bit. Maybe re-emphasize the value in a different way. Come up with different bonuses or whatever the thing is, and then try that and say, okay, now does it work right Now, does it work as an offer? But I know to focus on the offer and not the headline.

Because of that. So the, the beauty of using UTMs is they identify who is sending you traffic, what type of traffic is it from that brand, and then why? And that why is so important cuz most people are not measuring the why. So they send a bunch of traffic to their site, but they don’t know why that traffic was what it was supposed to do.

They just, they and they, and again, everybody wants sales. I get that. But if you just measure for sales but you don’t understand how you are making those sales, or more importantly how you are not making those. You don’t know what to fix, you know? You just be like, well, I got a low conversion rate. And then you random act marketing again, and you start guessing on stuff.

But if you measure the how and the results, right, what we call the results and how you measure for all those stages, it becomes really easy. You’ll look at the report and be like, okay, this is the problem. It’s the above the fold. It’s the headline. Let’s go look at the, oh, the ads. Oh, I, I see. And it’ll be obvious.

I’ll give you an example of obvious. We had a bootcamp. We did, this is what we started doing, measurement bootcamps a couple years back. Now we do them about three times a year. The first one that we, we expected, again, the forecast, right? Very important to have an expectation of how things are supposed to work.

And then you measure against that. Our expectation was at eight to 10%, roughly. Say roughly 10% of the people who see the offer page for the bootcamp should go to the cart. Not necessarily buy, but they should go to the cart, right? That’s what should happen. And when we first released the bootcamp, this is like day one, right?

We check it the next day, check the numbers one. We’re going to the cart and we’re like, immediately, it is not like a, oh, well let’s let the algorithm work for four more weeks. Nope, this is not gonna work. It’s, remember, things either work quickly or they don’t work quickly. Right? So we knew it’s not working, it’s not gonna mysteriously start working.

It’s a problem. So now we know we got 1%, we thought we should be getting 10. So we go, we go, what’s going on? We look at that report, the, what we call the eyes on the journey, and we see there’s interest, right? Or they’re, they’re interested, but they’re not investigating the offer. So we, in our head that is, we need to simplify the messaging cuz they’re, they’re tuning out.

They’re going, Hannah, no, they’re too complicated. I’m not sure. I, I didn’t even, I don’t even know anymore. That’s what’s happening. So we go to the marketing team, like, listen copywriters, here’s the issue. Here’s the page. It’s too complicated. You need to simplify it to get to the value faster and put more motion in there.

And they go, okay. And they rewrite it with that specific direction. We push the page back the next day, right? Push the page, live this new version of it, and it goes to eight. , that’s what is that? 700% improvement, right? Like a massive improvement to results. Huge through measurement’s. Huge. Within 72 hours.

Whereas everybody else would’ve gone, well, I don’t know, let’s try, let’s guess. Let’s figure it out. And maybe they would’ve figured it out. , but we knew it’s this right or better than average chance. You know, I never know. There’s no certainty in the world, but better than average chance. It’s like this is the piece we gotta focus on.

And now that marketing had that very specific direction, they could take all their creative energy and juices and focus them on this thing that’s more than likely gonna move the needle. And in that case, it totally did. And again, measurement told us that because that is us listening to their side of the conversation and them.

I, I’m not even interested in this. Like, I kind of get it, but I’m not even sure. It’s like, well, hang on, let me explain it a different way for you now, does it work? And they were like, yeah, now I’m interested. Okay, cool. You know, and then you, you kind of do that with every step of the journey.

Pat Flynn: I mean, very applicable.

We can all see that scenario happening with, with our own businesses too. Chris, it’s been amazing. Just so we don’t leave people hanging on UTMs when, like, as far as creating them, it sounded like there was a lot of code and, and things required there. There are places you can go to essentially just fill out those fields and then have a link generated for you, right?

Chris Mercer: Yeah, you could And, and it’s, yeah. I wouldn’t say it’s a lot of code cuz it’s not, it can look like it, especially if you’re new to it. Like how did all this stuff get. I literally just type ’em in, right? I just literally type ’em in. Cause I’ve used them a bunch of times. Most people, that’s what you’ll end up doing.

But again, if you just Google for utm, you can see UTM Builder, the very first link guaranteed will be Googles, where they have a little form you can fill out. It says, okay, what page you wanna send ’em to. Okay, what is the source of the traffic? What is the medium of the traffic? What type of traffic? What is the purpose?

The campaign, and, and you put those values in, you push submit and it spits out the url and it sort of just assembles the. In that toolbox membership, we actually have a UTM traffic builder as well, so that’s just free. It’s one of the free tools. So anybody that gets the free toolbox membership has that tool as well.

There’s also an extension called that is a Chrome extension that you can put on there that will automatically do some of this stuff for you. So there’s lots of ways to do it. The trick is un knowing that they’re a thing is the first step using them is the second. and the third step is structuring them properly so that the Facebook traffic is handing off to the email traffic is handing off to the Google organic traffic so that everybody is understanding what the job of the traffic source is. And is it there to create awareness? Is it there to create engagement or is it there to complete a customer journey, you know, and get them to maybe buy or something like that.

Pat Flynn: Perfect. Chris, thank you so much. I’m sure everybody’s head is exploding, but in a good way right now.

And so definitely hit over to to check out the toolbox and see how this works in real time. And Chris, can’t thank you enough. Thank you so much for introducing the audience and reintroducing all this to me because. Things are happening all the time, and you can either choose to just kind of let them happen and kind of hope for the best or understand what’s happening through measurement and then be able to make the best decisions from there.

So I, I, I appreciate that push and thank you again for, for coming on.

Chris Mercer: Happy to help. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it, Pat.

Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Chris Mercer. Again, you can find him and the resources toolbox, et cetera, at And we talked about a lot of stuff today.

I know it might be like drinking from a fire hose, but go back to the beginning of the episode and listen to the just very basic parts of this and what story we’re trying to figure out the customer journey, the conversations that are happening digitally, when you can discover that and begin to start to measure and make informed decisions, I mean, it just opens up a whole new world, right?

This is the difference between companies that are like, eh, they’re kind of doing okay to ones that thrive, and we’ll continue to thrive in the future. So If you wanna also check out the links and show notes on our page, And Google Analytics version 4 coming soon. So that’s, that’s another big takeaway as, as well. So wishing you all the best, thank you so much for listening in. I appreciate you and we’ll definitely have to have Chris come back in. We might invite him into Pro to run some workshops and stuff cuz this stuff is, this stuff is amazing.

It’s just the, just the tip of the iceberg as well. That was the one warning I gave to Chris. I was like, I know we can go really deep with this. Try to keep it like stage one to start with and maybe some stage two, and I hope you enjoyed it. So again, thank you Chris. Thank you for listening all the way through.

I appreciate you. Make sure you subscribe if you haven’t already, and then go on and listen to the latest episode behind this one, or go and search through the archive and find one that is relevant to where you’re at right now and look forward to seeing you. And a big shout out to all of the All Access Pass members if you wanna join All Access and get involved with our library of courses and guidance an pathways through these kinds of things, everything from email marketing to webinars, to affiliate marketing, et cetera, heading over to and we’d love to see you in there. Thank you so much. Peace out. Cheers.

Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!

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