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Google Campaign URLs: An easy guide to better marketing analytics

Do you use Google Analytics as your method for tracking people visiting your website? If host your own website then there is a strong chance that you do use it, and if you’re not using it then you definitely should be using it.

In this post, I’ll be talking about campaign URLs in this post and if you aren’t using them in your marketing to analyse your audience then you really should be.

What are Campaign URLs?

The best way to explain campaign URLs in my mind is always to use a basic example: you have a brand new blog post and you want to get it out to everyone, using various methods: Social Media, Adverts (maybe), Comments on Blogs or maybe even a forum.

How you keep track of the success of each of these mediums? How do you know that each medium is performing as you expect and how do you know what type of post works where? In short: how do you know what is working and what isn’t so you can focus efforts on the high converting methods.

This is where a campaign URL comes into play – it’s an extra bit of your URL that helps Analytics understand where your traffic is coming from and give you metrics.

It looks like the below example, and yes it’s a bit long, but you can shorten it and definitely helps you out. They are used so often that people don’t even realise they’re clicking on a campaign URL.


So what does each bit of the campaign URL mean?

There are a few elements that you need to understand from a campaign URL before you start using one, some optional and some mandatory – it’s best to have a fake campaign URL so you can try out what you want before you make your campaign live. This makes sure you don’t ruin your data, you can use filters to block out your tests but that’s a bit long-winded.

An example image of what a campaign url looks like in Google Anlaytics.

Where did you source your traffic from? Social Media? Google? This is an important field and is needed so that analytics can identify where people come from.

I use this to delve further into the source, for example – if I promote something over Social Media then the medium is what network I used (Twitter, Facebook, etc). It lets you break down several things to fully understand how the campaigns are working on certain things

The final required field. The campaign is used to mark the whole thing. This can be the post name such as “How to use campaign URLs” or it can be a short campaign name “Cats Love Boxes” – where several posts on several different platforms are used under the same campaign.

This is definitely something I regret not using sooner – it’s very good to understand a bit more about what you’ve put out. Was it just a tweet? Did it have a picture?  That helps you understand what works and what doesn’t work. You can also use it to add a few extra bits, I use it in work a lot!

How can you use them on marketing campaigns?

In my marketing, I use data, lots of it. This data is important because it helps me understand exactly how my audience views my website and interact with any associated marketing like emails and social media.

This not also does another thing; it helps you assess the campaign success (how many website clicks; conversions; and other important metrics) by putting each campaign into its own section. But also enables you to try unique ways of implementing campaign urls.

You can put them as a short url on your marketing material, in an NFC tag, through advertising, on social media, in affiliate blogs or PR. The options are endless and from that you know where your conversions come from and do more of what will get you more business.