Campaign tracking with Google Analytics can give you more information about the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts. By tracking your sources you will know which ones give the greatest return on investment (ROI). So what is campaign tracking and how do you do this?
What is Campaign Tracking?
A campaign would be something important to you that you are trying to market. It could be a blog post, an online form, an event, or an ecommerce promotion. With typical analytic software you could track simple hits to the page you are marketing. But this type of tracking has its limitations. With an ordinary URL you can only use the referral results to see the page that user came from. If you’re lucky.
But what about someone who saw your page on Facebook and then emailed it to a friend? There is no referral data there. You will not know anything about said users.
What if the original person shared that link on Twitter or Google+? Typical analytic software will tell you that they came to you from Twitter and Google+. While this is technically true, is it that the true source? No.
In each of those cases Facebook was the true source that brought you users. But using typical analytic software you wouldn’t know it. You wouldn’t know that Facebook was your most effective means to marketing your campaign.
How Google Analytics Can Improve Your Campaign
Google Analytics uses something called custom campaigns to help you track the source and medium of a campaign. These two terms are easy to understand. Source would be the specific entity that is sending you traffic. You could look at Facebook, Twitter, or Constant Contact as the source for a campaign. Medium would be the mechanism in which have marketed the campaign. Examples of mediums would be social media, email, or RSS.
Google Analytics also allow you to optionally pass along term and content variables along with a link. You use term for a paid search keywords. You use content when you have multiple call-to-action links within your advertisement. Say your newsletter had a graphic link and a text link in the body of the message. You could use the content variable to differentiate the two links to find which one is more effective.
The URL Builder is a tool from Google that simplifies URL creation for custom campaigns. Just answer a few simple questions and hit the generate URL button to get a URL to share. It’s easy enough that even non-technical people can figure it out.
A word of advice — create a different campaign for each blog post. Creating a different campaign for each post allows you to create a report specific to that post. I feel this is more useful than lumping all blog posts into a single campaign.
Have you ever used custom campaign tracking with Google Analytics? If so, can you please describe your experience? Do you find it useful? If you have not used it will you attempt to do so in the future? Let us know.