Outreach Campaign Link Tracking

We can track how many times a link to our websites in an e-newsletter, social media post or on an external website has been clicked by simply adding some information to the end of the URL.

Google calls these specially coded URLs, “Campaign URLs”. Campaign is a term used most in advertising and defined by Google as “an organized course of action to promote a product or service”.

Each piece of information you add to create a Campaign URL is called a parameter.  These parameters provide information about your traffic.

How to Create the URL 

There are two ways to build a Campaign URL:

  1. If you have only a few campaigns a year use the Campaign URL Builder tool.
  2. If you have numerous campaigns and want to remain consistent or have multiple people building campaigns, you may want to use a Campaign Link Tracking Worksheet. It will allow you to have a record of all the campaign links you’ve created.

Understanding the Required URL Parameters

  • The source is where your link is hosted, like search, affiliate website or email campaign name or anywhere else.  Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are examples.
  • The medium is how it’s delivered, like a postcard, PPC (Pay per click ads), email or social media.
  • The campaign is typically what you’re promoting, or the special way you’re promoting it. Examples for The College of Fine Arts could be the various events, admissions deadlines, or a fundraising campaign.

It’s good practice to be consistent, and to use lowercase characters.  For example, for Facebook posts, always use facebook as the source and social as the medium.  The only thing that would change change for different posts on Facebook is the name of the campaign.

Creating labels for campaign and content and term is easier if you think of them as answers to questions, following the same lines as medium and source.

Use with a Vanity or Short Domain Name

If you use a short or vanity domain name you should point it to a Campaign URL so the traffic source is reported. Otherwise, the traffic may look like it is direct.

How to Track a Campaign URL

In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition>Campaigns>All Campaigns

When you’re ready to review the data collected about your Campaign, contact the public relations staff in your department or the COFA Web team. We’ll help you analyze the data or we can give you access to log in to Google Analytics where you can click on Acquisition and open Campaigns in the left column menu to see the data.

Learn More

Intro to UTM Parameters & Best Practices. Short video explaining UTM Parameters, http://blog.kissmetrics.com/utm-parameters-video/ (6 minutes, transcript included). 

4 Steps to Better Campaign Data in Google Analytics

When you’re ready to log in to Google Analytics and collect data about your campaigns, see How to Use Google Analytics Campaign Reports.

A Complete Guide to the New Google URL Builder

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