Google Analytics has a free tool that lets you track all your online campaigns effectively. It’s not exactly new. In fact, this tool has been available for a while now, but is often overlooked by its users.
It’s called the Google Analytics URL Builder, and it’s a great way to set up tracking without having to get a webmaster involved.
As you know, campaign tracking is very important in understanding your online marketing efforts. It tells you if you’re using the right message or channel, if you’re spending too much or too little and so on.
There are many ways of tracking an online campaign but the most popular practice is through the tagging of URLs. Google AdWords automatically tags campaign URLs so the advertiser doesn’t need to do anything. When you link your Google AdWords account to your Google Analytics account, Google Analytics will automatically track all of your AdWords campaigns. It’s no sweat. All you need to do is wait for the data. However, for your other campaigns, you need a tool like the URL Builder to manually tag your URLs for Analytics. The URL Builder adds a special tracking or UTM code at the end of your URL so Google Analytics can track its performance. UTM, for your information, stands for “Urchin Tracking Monitor”.
Google is telling you that instead of using this link for your campaign:
You should use this link:
The little snippets of text added at the end of the destination URL will provide you and Google Analytics with the most important information such as how your leads end up in your site or which amongst the channels you used are the most effective in generating the most traffic/conversions. In the example above, Google Analytics will know your lead found your “Best Deal promo” from Facebook.
Managing the URL Builder is really simple. Log on to your Google Analytics account and search for URL Builder. Then, you just follow these easy steps:
Step 1: Provide the link where you want to take your visitor.(e.g. www.mysite.com.au)
Step 2: Add the three main parameters that you’ll want to track.
- Campaign Source (e.g. Facebook)– Where you will use the link? This tells Google the origin of traffic. Possible sources include: “google” (the name of a search engine), “facebook.com” (the name of a referring site), “spring_newsletter” (the name of one of your newsletters), and “direct” (users that typed your URL directly into their browser, or who had bookmarked your site).
- Campaign Medium (e.g. banner) – The medium in which the link was shared. Possible medium include: “organic” (unpaid search), “cpc” (cost per click, i.e. paid search), “referral” (referral), “email” (the name of a custom medium you have created), “none” (direct traffic has a medium of “none”).
- Campaign Name (e.g. best deal promo) – Provide the name of your custom campaign or the campaign slogan.
- Campaign Term (e.g. running shoes) – Necessary for a paid search but you can always provide a description as additional identifier for your campaign even if it’s not a paid search. You can use this field to identify your target audience.
- Campaign Content (e.g. version 1) – If you have two or more versions/copy of the campaign. For example, if you have two call-to-action links within the same email message, you can use different content values to differentiate them so that you can tell which version is most effective.
Step 3: Click Generate URL to submit.
Step 4: Copy the link and paste it to your chosen channel (e.g. newsletter, social media post) instead of your regular “untagged” link.
Step 5: Repeat these steps for all of the links that you want to track.
Here’s an example of a campaign to promote a seminar in Facebook:
Generated link/URL will look like this:
You can now use the shortened link to promote your seminar in your Facebook account, e.g. Do you know the many ways you can grow your business? Attend our seminar http://ow.ly/NaTxK
Tagged URLs can be used for many purposes such as:
- Tracking any type of banner advertising, email marketing, blog posts, etc.
- Finding out how well your social channels promote your content.
- Measuring the effectiveness of guest posting referral traffic.
- Tracking the same piece of content across multiple marketing channels.
- Knowing where most people click on your internal links in a blog post.
The insight you’ll gain from tracking all your campaigns using the URL Builder is essential so you know what ad copy drives the most sales, where your target market hangs out, and what content to create next that will be the most shared.
Since starting her outsourced national marketing consultancy Marketing Angels in 2000, Michelle Gamble has helped hundreds of SMEs get smarter marketing. Michelle helps businesses find more effective ways to grow their brands and businesses.