URL Campaign Tracking inside Google Analytics

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Last updated on November 28th, 2017 at 12:38 pm



Do you have an e-commerce website that you want to analyze more closely when it comes to your paid campaigns? This post will explain to you all about how to track the performance of, for example, your paid Facebook campaigns in Google Analytics starting with the campaign URL builder.

Note: this is not a guide on how to set up the enable e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics.

What is a UTM code?

A UTM code is simply a piece of code that you can attach to any custom URL in order to track a source, medium, and campaign name. (More on this below). Have you ever clicked a regular link in Facebook which turned out to be a long string of characters in your browser’s search bar? Whatever you clicked are probably doing pretty well when it comes to campaign tracking. Below is a sample UTM code URL.

campaign url builder

If you look closely, the above URL includes the following pieces of code: utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign. Analytics uses these parts of the code to read information about the people that clicked on your paid campaigns. The result: you can easily identify the performance of your paid ad campaigns.

The following image shows examples of how to name your utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign codes.

  • The “source” code answers the question: Where is my traffic coming from?
  • The “medium” code, answers the question: How is my traffic getting to me? Consider simply putting “social” here for your social media campaigns.
  • The “campaign” code answers the question: Why is this traffic coming to my website?

Let’s look at this URL from Treehut, an eCommerce site that sells watches and sunglasses, to fully understand the power of this tracking method:

https://treehut.co/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=prospecting_anniversary

  • utm_source = facebook
  • utm_medium = cpc (cost-per-click)
  • utm_campaign = prospecting_anniversary

First off, the fact that Treehut knows that my anniversary is coming up though I didn’t google anything related to “anniversary gifts” shows the power of Facebook and Google ads and is indeed as creepy as it sounds. Secrets don’t exist online.

Now, from the information in this URL, Google Analytics can read that I clicked on this ad from Facebook, that Treehut uses a cost-per-click method, and that they are targeting those looking for an anniversary gift.

Where and How Can I Read My Campaign Performance in Google Analytics?

Once you figured out what you want to track, you can go to Google’s URL Builder and fill in your data.

After you’ve filled in your data, the UTM builder will provide you with a code to include in your campaign – Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms have a section specifically designed for this piece of code. This makes it very easy to track your campaigns, much easier than it sounds.

As you can see, you can even fill in “Campaign Term” to identify the performance of paid keywords, keywords such as “summer dress” or “elegant dress”. The best thing about Google’s URL Builder is that you can change your code whenever you want to adjust any changes you’ve made in your campaign. For example, you can change your campaign name easily from “summer_sale_july”, to “summer_sale_julyaugust”, if you want to extend the campaign length and still be able to easily identify your campaign.

Let’s get to the best part. You’ve built a UTM code using Google’s URL builder and now you want to show your client that you got a ROI of $50,000 with an investment of $1,000 in ads. The information you need can be found under Reporting > Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns. Here, you can find all kinds of interesting information such as your e-commerce conversion rate, your revenue, and new sessions.

Are there any alternatives to Google’s Campaign URL Builder?

If you don’t want to use Google’s UTM builder for whatever reason, there are plenty of options out there. Personally, Google’s option is my favorite but you can also check out these two popular alternatives:

And if you’re on the Buffer for Business plan, you can automatically add UTM tracking codes to any link you share with Buffer. You can read more about how to do that in Buffer’s article HERE.

Today, we kept it simple by only explaining the most important aspects of e-commerce tracking. In one of our next blog posts, we’ll be explaining how to enable e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics. This may be a bit complicated if you don’t have any experience with GA or Google Tag Manager.

Do you have experience with a campaign URL builder or UTM codes already?

Want more Google Analytics? Check out: Creating Views and Excluding Internal Traffic and Vital Key Performance Indicators to Monitor in GA

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