A Step-by-Step Guide to Track Marketing Campaigns in Google Analytics

April 27, 2015 0 Comments Analytics, Marketing

You're ready to start launching ads for your new campaign. Your main goal is to drive sales with ads on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and newsletters...but wait! How do you track which channel and specifically, which ads are performing the best? Simple. Use the Google URL builder to track your campaigns.

What is a utm_parameter?

UTM stands for Urchin Traffic Manager (Urchin was renamed to Google Analytics after Google bought them, but the utm_conversion stuck), and is a simple way to tag links to various pages on the web. You can add information (called "parameters") to any URL you own that links to your site. This is known as "link tagging."

For example:
Instead of using this link in your social ads:
https://gearlaunch.com/

You would use this tracking link:

http://gearlaunch.com/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Ad&utm_campaign=HomepageImage1

When people click on this link from your Facebook ad, it will tell Google Analytics that the visitor is coming from Facebook through an ad for the Homepage Image 1 campaign. UTM codes are also perfect for tracking Pinterest Ads to see which promoted pins convert.

Parameters tell Google Analytics more about your traffic and help identify things that may not be reported properly. For example:

  • Traffic coming from an email newsletter may show up as "direct" because certain desktop mail apps and secure servers don't pass referrer data.
  • Facebook ads get grouped with your social referral traffic, even though they're ads.

You can overwrite this reporting with utm_parameter tags to ensure you're capturing the correct information.

Where Do I Find My Campaigns in Google Analytics?

If you haven't set up Google Analytics yet, create a Google Analytics account and follow the "Get started with Analytics" guide. Once you're logged into Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > Campaigns

Google Analytics Campaign Tracking

This can help you determine which social networks and ad campaigns are driving the most amount of traffic. You can also set goals in Google Analytics to track conversions on your website.

How Do I Use the Google Analytics URL Builder?

Go to the Google Analytics URL Builder and follow these steps:

Step 1: Enter the URL of your website.

https://gearlaunch.com/

Step 2: Fill in the fields below. Campaign Source, Campaign Medium, and Campaign Name should always be used.

  • Campaign Source: This tells Google where traffic is coming from: Facebook.
  • Campaign Medium: This tells Google what kind of source it’s coming from: Ad.
  • Campaign Name: This simply describes your campaign. We are using Facebook ads, so enter the name of the campaign here: HomePageImage1.

Step 3: Click on “Submit” Google Analytics URL Builder

Step 4: Copy the link that you've just generated, and paste it to your social ads or newsletters instead of your regular “untagged” link.

Step 5: Repeat these steps for all of the links that you want to track in your marketing efforts.

Want More Information and Examples About Each Parameter? (Source: Google Analytics)

More Google Analytics Parameter Information

If you use Google Adwords, don't tag AdWords URLs. Instead of creating custom campaigns, simply link your Adwords account to your Google Analytics account and enable auto-tagging. Auto-tagging ensures that you get the most detailed AdWords data and lets you see what happened on your site after people clicked on your ads.

Make A Plan

To stay organized, keep track of your utm_parameters in a spreadsheet so you are following the same format from campaign to campaign. Create columns for your original URL, all your parameters, and the tagged URL.

Mandy Hong
San Francisco, CA Website
Mandy Hong loves helping entrepreneurs build, launch, and grow their business. She is the Director of Marketing at GearLaunch.