When it comes to digital marketing, being able to track a campaign can provide critical data, as well as capture customers. There are two main things to consider when tracking. Firstly, are you doing it? And secondly, are you doing it right?
So, for external campaigns, things like a newsletter, social channel or any other source where web traffic can find your site, using a UTM tracking codes are a must when keeping tabs on a campaign. Google Analytics provides a free Campaign URL Builder, which is easy to use following a step-by-step guide. If you need something even simpler, then a good option is Orbit Media’s Campaign URL Builder – again free but with fewer steps and perhaps more user-friendly for the not-so-tech minded. A link to both will at the end of this article.
For now, understanding why using a Campaign URL Builder is key and this article covers the basics. There are many ways to use campaign tracking and it’s a straightforward process to create a campaign that will appear in your Google Analytics. As an example, let’s say you’re running a social media promotion for a particular part of your business. The promo is up to you, but when sharing the link of your destination, make sure you use a Campaign URL Builder (UTM tracking code) within it. This helps you identify the performance of the campaign much easier in Google Analytics.
In this example, over your social media channels you are running a savings promo on a selected line of beds for a period of time. The link URL is example.com/ottoman-beds. Now, using a Campaign URL Builder, the link would look like this: example.com/ottoman-beds?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ottoman-beds-july-sale
Let’s break this down.
URL destination remains the same. The first part is ?utm_source=facebook. This is the social channel we want to track (can you set up separate tracking links for each social channel if you wish if you run the promo over all platforms).
Next is utm_medium=social. This is the platform of where the traffic is coming from. So, in this example, Facebook is a social channel. Medium’s can be social, newsletters, emails etc.
The final part is utm_campaign=ottoman-beds-july-sale. This relates to the campaign name (in bold) and is what will appear in Google Analytics when searching for the data. This makes it unique to that campaign and instantly helps display clear data on clicks and interactions with the dedicated link.
As mentioned, you can create as many custom links over different medium’s so you can see which source is gaining you the most traffic. Why not run a number of promos on different product categories and see which one’s are performing best? Or, why not run the same promo but change the time period, which will detail which month is gaining better traction? There is so much data to be collected from using a Campaign URL Builder, which can provide some really valuable insights.
One thing to be mindful on is that this type of tracking is to be only used for external sources. With this in mind, let’s shift the focus to internal tracking and why this needs different attention. If you were to use a Campaign URL Builder for an on-website interaction, Google Analytics would essentially log the action twice. Once from the user being active on your website, and once again when the same user clicks the advert or link you are promoting. This can easily distort data and create a minefield of problems when trying to zone-in on how the campaign performed.
To avoid this mistake, discount using a Campaign URL Builder for on-site promos. So, as an example, you have a banner featuring on your website stating, ‘10% off your first order for newsletter sign-ups’. As the banners is on your website, this is classed as an internal campaign. Instead of using the UTM approach, opt for creating an event via Google Analytics using Google Tag Manager. The two-step process is simple and will remove any double-tracking concerns. Event tracking can be used to measure any interactions within a page, so they suit measuring internal campaigns.
To start, go to Google Tag Manager and create a new Tag, giving the event a name – so this one would be ‘newsletter signup offer’. Then select Google Analytics: GA4 Event. In Configuration Tag, select your Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration tag. In Event Name, enter a name for the event (e.g. newsletter_signup). This will create a new custom event and the name will appear in your Google Analytics reports. That’s what you look for when searching for the data. Finally, a trigger must be created too. This logs the event when someone clicks. In this case, you would call it: ‘Trigger – Newsletter Signup’, then click the ‘Trigger Configuration’ box in your trigger, ‘All Elements’, ‘Some Clicks’ and then set trigger condition: “Click Text contains Sign up for the newsletter”. Click save and you’re done. If you ever get stuck though, there are plenty of helpful videos on YouTube that can walk you through setting up tracking events and campaigns.
Hopefully you have absorbed the above over a coffee and there’s not too many heads spinning. The final question is why track? If you don’t track your marketing campaigns, they get merged with all of your other traffic. So how do you know what’s working and what’s not? By tracking each marketing effort separately in Google Analytics, you will be able to see exactly which campaign drove the most sales, subscribers and leads.
Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder – https://ga-dev-tools.google/campaign-url-builder/
Free Campaign URL Builder – https://www.orbitmedia.com/campaign-url-builder/