You’re ready to start a marketing campaign; a newsletter, social or some paid campaign. Your main goal is to drive traffic back to your website, convert that traffic into leads, and those leads into customers.
So, how do you tell which marketing campaigns were successful? Easy. Use the Google Analytics URL builder to track your campaigns.
There are many ways to use campaign tracking. We’ll focus on email marketing and then you can apply that to all of your other marketing efforts (ads, social, affiliate links, etc…).
Campaign tracking, also known as “utm tracking codes” simply allows you to add special tracking code to your URL. It helps to identify how users are getting to your site. For example:
Instead of using this link in your email marketing campaigns:
You would use this tracking link:
See all of those extra goodies in your link? That is the campaign tracking code.
Most of your marketing, whether it’s an email, an ad, social promotion or any other marketing effort, has the same goal: conversions or awareness.
The URL builder allows you to track each marketing effort separately in Google Analytics. If you don’t track your marketing campaigns they get lumped in with all of your other traffic. So how do you know what’s working and what’s not?
This is especially important for paid marketing. If you’re spending money, you should definitely know what’s getting you the best results. Before you get started, you should have goals set up in Google Analytics. Here are detailed instructions.
Your email service provider or social platforms will show you click through rates, impressions and views but they don’t tell the entire story. In Google Analytics you can see exactly which campaign drove the most sales, subscribers and leads.
It’s very simple and we built a URL builder to make it even easier.
Step 1: Enter the link you want to use to take visitors to your website.
Step 2: Add the three main parameters that you’ll want to track.
As you type, you will see that the new URL is being auto-generated.
Step 3: Click on “Copy URL” and paste it into your email newsletter (ad, social, etc…) instead of your regular “untagged” link.
Bonus! You can see at the end of our URL builder, it will show you exactly where this will appear in your Google Analytics campaign report. We’ll also dive deeper into reporting below.
Repeat these steps for all of the links that you want to track in your marketing.
Now we can dive a little deeper into reporting. If you want to see email deliverability, clicks, and open rates, just log into your email service provider and view the reports. If you want to see who actually converted, log into to your Google Analytics.
Here are some examples of conversions you should track:
Once you’re logged into Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns. Here you’re going to see how many visits you received from your campaign, how long they stayed on your website, how many pages on average they visited while they were there, the bounce rate and conversions.
To find actual conversions, look towards the top right of the table, below the line graph. You’ll see a column for conversions. From the dropdown, you can select which goal conversion you’d like to see. In our example, we are looking at newsletter subscribers.
Now you’re able to see visits and goal conversions for each campaign.
If you go back and look at trends over time, you can see what types of articles people spend more time on and which ones are more successful. If you want to get really geeky (and we hope you do), you can use Google Analytics and Google Sheets to see all of your top converting pages in one report.
That’s it. Now you’ll be able to see who is actually converting from your marketing efforts. If you have any additional tips, please leave them in the comments below!
Same problem here.
Hi Amanda, I am experiencing the same issue. I am able to track my UTM in the real-time reports, however, the data hasn’t processed across to the ‘campaigns’ section. The UTM’s have been active for 6 hours.
Hi Huey / Amanda,
I am reading through this thread as I am having the same problem. My campaign is showing up in Real Time > Traffic Sources but not in Campaigns.
Any advice how I can see this and the individual utm’s in campaigns?
Thank you for this article, but I cannot seem to perform this with Youtube links.
The official Campaign URL Builder is here and has more options. This is a very good article however and using either tool will help significantly. https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/
Amanda, you are the BEST! Dead-set, absolute rip snorter of an article ♥️ Thank you
If I use this trackable link in Facebook, will they penalise me?
Thanks for the comment, Justin! No, they will not.
Amazing Article!!! It was a new learning for me in google analytics tool. Will definitely try to build the campaign for Branding Marketing Agency blogs using google analytics URL builder.
Hello Amanda, great content, thank you!
I’m having some problems in tracking my mailchimp campaigns in Analytics. It works, in PC version, but not in mobile. This make sense? Can you help me, please?
Thank you so much,
I have a question! What if I want to track how many people are clicking on an external link in one of my blog posts? Does that work or does the URL need to be on my site. Thanks!
For these to show up in your reports, it has to be your URL.
If you wanted to track outbound link clicks you’ll need to set up event tracking or you can use a heatmap tracking tool like Hotjar.
This post might be useful to you. It shows you how to track clicks to outbound links.
i want the same program advertised in diff places .how do i do this its one campaign
You can do that using the URL builder. Just be sure to change the source or medium depending on where you’re advertising. Keep the campaign name the same.
Great article. Manual URL builders are quite time consuming, especially today when everything is about links and link tracking. Automated link management tools and URL builders can save much more time and ensure tagging consistencies, reduced errors and a more enjoyable tagging experience altogether.
I asked a project partner that we’re working with for a few campaign links for something that we are promoting. I have one for our Twitter efforts, newsletter efforts and direct links from our website.
For extra clarity, can you confirm that these will NOT show up in Acquisition > Overview under Social, Direct and Referral, but will indeed show up under Acquisition > Campaigns?
I need to be able to measure the hits our partner gets from our promotional efforts.
Amazing post, thank you! Very comprehensive, easy to follow, and with clear details. Excellent.
Hi Amanda, for me to capture the utm parameters on GA, do I need to setup any custom dimensions or will they get auto captured into the Source / Medium & Campaign fields?
We weren’t sure so we have currently setup custom dimensions with ‘hit’ level scope.
Hi, Siddharth –
They will automatically be in your campaign reports in Google Analytics as long as they are tagged properly. All you need to do is go to Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns. Let me know if you need more help!
For some reason, this is not populating in my Campaigns. However, it is showing up under Real Time > Traffic Sources. I added a campaign name to the URL too.
(Warning: If you visit the site, it does contain explicit adult content. It’s an adult toy shop)
Thank you for the article and all the help!
Hi Amanda, I hope you could help me. When I’m finished with the URL builder, how do I get the URL actually into the correct google analytics account? How does the url builder know where to put the link? I can’t seem to find this info anywhere.
I cannot see Acquistion tab in my GA.
Well done! It’s unfair that you had the team build a tool for you and this post. Why don’t they ever build tools to go with my posts?!
Very useful. This will forever be my favorite URL builder…
Did you remember to bribe them with Lattes?
What are your thoughts?