Did you know you can track all of your marketing campaigns in Google Analytics with UTM link tags?

Most of you are familiar with using Google Analytics to track your direct, referring, and organic site visitors. But did you know you can track all of your campaigns including your traditional offline marketing all within the same reports?

Google Analytics is a very powerful (and free!) tool that provides a nifty function called link tagging. With link tagging you can add code to the end of any offsite link that will tell Google Analytics every time that specific link is clicked. And it gets better.  You can track five different variables that will quickly take your marketing tracking to the next level with comprehensive marketing dashboard reporting.

So where would you use this?

Here are a few examples assuming that you have three current promotions called Promo A, B and C that have print ads, direct mail, email and social media campaign components:

  • You want to track your email marketing clicks for Promo A, B and C from four email newsletters this month. In Google Analytics you can track the newsletter traffic as a whole, as well as the clicks to each specific offer.
  • You are sending a Direct Mail series out with three postcards that each hit a separate customer list. Use vanity URLs for each piece, redirect those urls to your website using UTM tagged links, and in Google Analytics you can track the direct mail traffic as a whole, as well as the response to each specific offer.
  • You are running a three month local ad campaign in three separate magazines and will profile Promo A, B, and C in one magazine each per month. Use vanity URLs for each ad, redirect those urls to your website using UTM tagged links, and in Google Analytics you can track the magazine’s traffic as a whole, as well as the response to each specific offer.
  • You plan to promote the campaign with weekly tweets and status updates on social platforms and want to track which Promo gets shared the most. Create a link tagged URL for each Promo on each social media network and post that url in your tweets and status updates (I recommend using a link shortener like bit.ly or owl.ly before sharing) and in Google Analytics you can track social’s traffic as a whole, as well as the response to each specific offer from each specific platform.

After you have run the campaign you would now be able to pull campaign results and look at the results from various angles. Here are a few examples of the results that you would have:

  • How did Promo A, B and C perform in comparison to each other?
  • Which offer was most effective in direct mail? Email? Ads? Social?
  • What magazine was most effective?
  • What social platform was most effective?
  • How did direct mail, ads, email, and social perform overall at driving traffic?
  • How did direct mail, ads, email, and social perform overall at converting to leads or sales?

How do I set up UTM link tags?

Google URL Builder is a great tool that sets all of this up for you. Basically it is a form that collects your tracking needs and gives you back an appended url.  There is nothing to do in Google Analytics to receive the information, you simple need to know how to build your reports after your campaign has run.

Here is what the Google URL Builder form looks like:

google-url-builder-utm-tracking

The form provides five variables for collecting data and is case sensitive so always use lowercase with no spaces or special characters. Before you start using link tags you should define your terminology and structure and be exact in your naming structure so you can properly track data over a long period of time. I recommend using the fields as follows:

Campaign Source: The name of the referring medium such as magazine name, facebook, twitter, website name, etc.

Campaign Medium: The way they received the information such as organic, ads, direct mail, cpc, banner, social media, email, link, etc.

Campaign Term: The keyword such as brand name, keyword term, ppc term, etc.

Campaign Content: The content tweaks like AB testing, subject lines, call-to-actions, etc

Campaign Name: The title of the campaign. I recommend using the month and year in the name if you do a lot of campaigns. Something like “promoa060112″.

Ok, hopefully this is all making sense. To get started you simply paste your url in the form first field of the Google URL Builder. Complete the variable fields, then hit the “Generate URL” button. Copy the new url from the bottom field and place that wherever you need to have your link.

Voila! The data will now show in your Goole Analytic’s reports just like it does below under the Traffic Sources tab. The search engine name and social media site are already displayed as sources by default but you can now slice that information by the medium, keyword, content and campaign name as well. Keep in mind that you will not see any data until a link has been clicked so you may need to run a test to see it work.

 

Hope this helps! Are you currently using link tags for tracking your campaigns? If so, how has it helped you?

 

 

7 comments

  1. You might consider using the Chrome extension for URL builder, that has many features such as pre-configured sets for common usage, bit.ly inside and more.
    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/gaidpiakchgkapdgbnoglpnbccdepnpk

  2. Simple Tag is aslo a good alternative to URL Builder: http://www.foretaster.com/simpletag

  3. That’s a great tool, thanks for sharing!

  4. Peter, that is very cool! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Robert Hodes

    I am new at this so please bear with me!

    We have purchased a number of URLs to track direct mail campaigns from Go Daddy, and they offer a redirect screen (instead of having to host each of these URLs separately). You are supposed to use their form to enter the URL you want to be redirected to, and then they automatically take care of updating DNS settings. Would it work to simply put the entire URL generated by the URL Builder here,as the complete redirect, or would this not work?
    Thanks!

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