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Microsoft Advertising’s Universal Event Tracking (UET): A Comprehensive Guide

4 July 2023
7 minutes read

Universal Event Tracking (UET) is a powerful tool provided by Microsoft Advertising that enables businesses to track user actions on their websites. By monitoring these actions, companies can measure the success of their campaigns and optimize their marketing strategies. 

Maybe you’re scratching your head and saying so what? Knowing where your customers come from and your best marketing channels allow you to grow and scale your business and thinking you know where your customers come from and knowing simply aren’t the same. Gut feelings aren’t always good when your money and business are at stake.

We can’t emphasize how important setting your UET tag up is. Did you know you can’t import Google Analytics goals into Microsoft Advertising? Yup. Without that UET tag, you have no meaningful way to optimize!

Our comprehensive guide will explain the importance of UET, how to set it up, track key events, and how to integrate it with other Microsoft Advertising features.


Why Universal Event Tracking (UET) Matters for Businesses

You might be asking yourself, why does this matter to me? According to Martech, some 41% of marketers say getting good data is their biggest problem when it comes to providing sales with quality leads. Tracking user actions on your website is crucial for understanding user behavior, identifying successful campaigns, optimizing marketing strategies, and ultimately increasing return on investment (ROI).

By implementing UET, you can gain valuable insights into how users engage with your website and which actions lead to conversions. This data can help you make more informed decisions about your marketing efforts and better allocate your resources to drive success.

Universal Event Tracking (UET) is crucial for businesses for several reasons:

  • Understanding user behavior: By tracking user actions on your website, you can gain insights into what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to make data-driven decisions.
  • Identifying successful campaigns: UET enables you to track conversions and other essential metrics, helping you determine which campaigns are driving results. Your business goals cannot be imported into Microsoft Advertising (something that makes tracking much easier in Google Ads).
  • Optimizing marketing strategies: With the data collected through UET, you can optimize your marketing strategies to improve your ROI.
  • Increasing return on ad spend (ROAS): By understanding user behavior and Optimizing your ads you can improve the performance of your ads. In turn, you’ll also be able to hone in your marketing strategies, which allows you to increase your overall return on investment (ROI).

Setting Up Microsoft Advertising’s Universal Event Tracking (UET)

Before you create your UET tag and set up events, you should ensure you have access to all of the required elements. Not a techy? Don’t worry, this process is pretty straightforward! 

Confirm you have access to the following:

  • Your Microsoft Advertising account (Don’t get mad at us, we had to state the obvious!)
  • Your website – if you’ll be installing the code directly on your site
  • Google Universal Analytics or Google Analytics 4 (depending on what you’re currently using to track your goals). This will allow you to examine your goals and carry them over to Microsoft
  • Any third-party tools/integrations like Tealium or Signal that you might prefer to use to install the code
  • Google Tag Manager – you’ll need this if you prefer to set up UET tags and events with the Google Tag Manager integration.

UET Tag Creation

Let’s start creating that UET tag! Don’t compare this process to Google Ads, or you’ll make a mistake. In this case, you’ll create the tag and then the “conversions,” called conversion goals.

Create Your UET Tag

First, log in to your Microsoft Advertising account, and navigate to the top right. Next, click on the UET tag. Tap the blue +Create and create a new UET tag. Name your tag (and add a description if you’d like). 

Choose whether or not you would like to enable Microsoft Clarity. Microsoft Clarity is free software that allows you to generate heatmaps and session recordings. If you have to think twice about turning this on, then we haven’t been doing our jobs. 

If you allow people from other manager accounts to access your account, share your UET tag (and its data) with those accounts through the sharing option, then press Save and next.

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Install the UET Tag

You have the following options to install your UET tag.

  • Using popular CMS platforms: Many CMS platforms offer plugins or built-in features to easily add the UET tag to your site. For example, in WordPress, you can use a plugin like Insert Headers and Footers to add the UET tag to your site. Microsoft provides instructions for the most popular platforms.
  • Manually adding the UET tag to your website’s code: Alternatively, you can manually add the UET tag to your website’s code by pasting the tag in the head section of your site’s HTML.
  • Use Google Tag Manager. You don’t even need to leave Microsoft Advertising to do this.

Setting Up Your UET Tag with Google Tag Manager

When you select this option in the Microsoft Advertising UI, you’ll click next and sign into your Google Tag Manager account. You’ll be asked to choose the correct one if you have more than one Google Tag Manager container. When you click next, it will install itself. 

Once the process is finished, you’ll come to the end screen and click done. It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3!

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Verifying UET Tag Installation: 

After installing the UET tag, you can verify its installation by checking the tag status in your Microsoft Advertising account. Note you’ll need to wait 24 hours before doing this. You should also check it (and your conversion goals) on your site. The best way to do this is with UET Tag Helper. It’s available as a Chrome Extension and a Microsoft Edge extension. You’ll need to download those before moving to the next step.

Once the extension is downloaded, go to your site. Activate the extension by clicking and then turning it on in the bottom left. Now reload your site and click on the tag again. You should see a green badge if everything is working correctly.


Tracking Key Events for Websites

To make the most of UET, you should track important events on your website, such as:

  • Form submissions
  • Downloads
  • Video views
  • Key page visits
  • Appointments booked
  • Purchases
  • Phone calls

Not sure what your key events are? Take a moment to review what metrics are valuable for your organization. If you already have a Google Ads account or have goals set up in Google Analytics, then you have the template for your conversion event. 


How to Set Up Event Tracking with UET

To set up event tracking with UET, you’ll start by defining custom events (or setting a destination URL).

Ways to Add Custom Events

When adding custom events, you have 3 options.

  1. Implementing the event tracking code: Add the event tracking code to your website using a CMS plugin or manually add the code to your site’s HTML.  
  2. Add the events manually to your site. If you use Google Tag Manager, you can use your Universal Analytics or Google Analytics 4 tags to create UET event tags.
  3. Manually add the conversion goal events via Google Tag Manager and the Microsoft UET template.

How to Create a Conversion Goal

You’ll return to the Tools at the top right and click on Conversion goals. Then, click on the blue +Create button. Select the type of conversion you want to track. The options are:

  • Website
  • Mobile app install
  • Offline

In our example, we’ll choose website and click next. Now you’ll be prompted to choose your goal category. You can see a full list of goal categories in Microsoft’s help documents, but some examples are purchase, sign-up, and contact.

For example, if you pick submit lead form, you can choose destination URL and click next. Now, you’ll name your goal and add the thank you page URL. Under Revenue, choose Don’t assign a value if you don’t have one. You can also give all conversions the same value or let Microsoft know the value will vary.

Now, define the parameters (advanced settings) like count, conversion window, and attribution model. Once you’ve done this, click next. You’re all set!

No ‘thank you’ page? (That’s what happens when you let a developer set up your lead forms ????.)  Set up an event instead. After you choose the goal category, click on Event and click next. Just as with a destination URL, you’ll name it, set the value, and define the parameters. Once the settings are complete, click next.

Think you’re done? Not so fast! You need to add the events to your website. Google Tag Manager is a great option for non-coders.

Verifying Your Goal Action

The fastest and easiest way to verify your goals are firing is to use the UET Tag Helper. Use the directions from above, but this time complete the goal action. When you click on the tag, you should see the details of the event. (See our example)


Integrating UET with Other Microsoft Advertising Features

UET data can be integrated with other Microsoft Advertising features, such as:

  • Remarketing: Use UET data to create remarketing lists and target users who have previously interacted with your website.
  • Customizing ad experiences: Personalize ad experiences based on user behavior, such as showing specific ads to users who have downloaded a whitepaper or viewed a product page.
  • Leveraging audience targeting capabilities: Utilize UET data to target specific audience segments, improving the effectiveness of your campaigns.


Takeaways

Universal Event Tracking is an essential tool for businesses looking to measure and Optimize their marketing campaigns. By implementing UET on your website and integrating it with other Microsoft Advertising features, you can gain valuable insights into user behavior, identify successful campaigns, and make data-driven decisions for campaign optimization. 

Don’t miss out on the benefits of UET – start tracking and Optimizing your campaigns today!


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