Why should you use Campaign URLs?

Make the most of your data by setting up tracking URLs for the current campaigns that you're running. This allows you to group together visits coming in from various sources based on a common campaign theme, which can be as generic as grouping all of your summer campaigns, or as specific as grouping your newsletters. This can be a very powerful tool when trying to gauge the overall success of a campaign - whether that's based on traffic numbers, conversions or another ROI metric.

When should you use Campaign URLs?

There are many great uses for campaign URLs, they can be used as checks and balances for media buys. This way you have a point of reference instead of just relying on publisher data, which can vary greatly depending on how they track clicks and impressions. Another use of campaign URLs is to track domain redirects, which are not captured in Google Analytics. Our SEO team can set up a 301 redirect directly to a campaign URL, which will also help to measure print or radio ads. Campaign URLs are also very useful for tracking visits from Twitter. The referring source is often stripped out with Twitter traffic, causing it to show up in Google Analytics as direct traffic. If you're creating a campaign URL for Twitter, you should use a URL shortener such as bit.ly since tracking URLs can be pretty long.

URL Builder

There is a simple online tool for creating Google campaign URLs: http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55578

Creating the Campaign URL

The most important thing about tracking URLs is that you're consistent - make sure you build the URL the same way each time so that the data appears in the same place in Google Analytics. It is recommended that you set up a spreadsheet template that you use each time to create tracking URLs.

Here is an example of how to structure a tracking URL:

   Source = twitter OR october-newsletter
   Medium = social media OR email
   Campaign Name = social OR newsletters

The URL will look something like this:

You can see the different elements right in the URL, with the "source=facebook" and "medium=social-media".

The tracking URL should be used in place of the destination URL, so this would be provided to a publisher for a banner ad or it can be used to track links to your website from a newsletter or from social media posts.

Once the URL has been clicked on, the data will automatically propagate in Google Analytics.

Note: If you're testing a URL, you may need to wait a little while since Google Analytics is not real time.

Viewing the Data in Google Analytics

Log in to your Google Analytics account and go to Traffic Sources, then Campaigns.

This defaults to show the data from the source that you entered into your campaign URL. You can click on the word Source to view the data by Campaign Name or Medium.

GA Campaigns Screenshot

Once you get the hang of creating campaign URLs it's pretty quick and easy. It just adds one step to the process of generating your newsletter or sending out banner ads for your next media buy. The value that it provides - in ways that you can view campaign data - is well worth it and it will save you time down the road.

Feel free to contact your SEO Analyst or your Account Manager with any questions.