How to Track Custom Campaigns with Google Analytics
Have you ever wanted to know more about where your website visitors come from, beyond just a domain referral from Twitter? What about finding out if the large banner on your homepage drives more traffic to your products than the smaller banner in your sidebar?
If you’re looking for these kinds of details about your traffic, then creating custom campaigns within Google Analytics is the solution. This article will show you how to do just that.
Creating Custom Campaigns Using UTM Parameters
In order to track custom campaigns in Google Analytics, you need to create URLs for your website links which contain “UTM parameters.” Consider these parameters as tracking markers for your links. You’ve probably seen these parameters in URLs before and just not paid them much attention. For example, if you subscribe to Sprout Insights in Google Reader and click on the latest article link, you will see the following in your browser’s address bar:
These tracking parameters show that traffic has arrived at this webpage from the Sprout Social Insights RSS feed. To create your own custom campaign, you will need to use similar UTM parameters with your links.
For example, let’s say that you want to track links in an email marketing campaign that are going to a product page on your website. You would create the following URL:
This URL basically says that people have come from your weekly newsletter through their email to view your fall products campaign. To create URLs with UTM parameters quickly and effortlessly, without having to always remember which parameter you need to use with what tag, you can use Google’s URL Builder, as shown in the image above. This application also includes a handy reference of what each UTM parameter means along with examples of how to use them.
Some great ideas of when to use a custom campaign URL with UTM parameters include:
- Email Marketing: Use UTM parameters in URLs for email marketing, such as your newsletter, to see which newsletters get the most clicks from your readers. This is a great way to test things like whether your buyers are more apt to shop during weekends or weekdays, or if they’re more likely to click on a product link that’s in a text or a banner format.
- Offsite Advertising: If you have different sized banner ads on multiple websites, you can use the UTM parameters to track the campaign theme of the banners. This will let you see at a glance which sites are sending the most visitors to you and which banners have the best results.
- Different Areas on Your Own Website: If you’re marketing your latest product on your About page, on your blog, and through a variety of banner ads throughout your website, you probably want to know which one of these methods is most effective. Use UTM parameters to distinguish which product link is driving the most traffic to your product page.
Organizing Your Custom Campaign Data
Once you’ve gotten the hang of creating UTM parameters and custom campaigns, you will probably want to do it almost everywhere and often. The challenge at that point will be keeping track of your custom URLs, as you might want to use them in more than one situation.
Create a spreadsheet with columns for Campaigns, Mediums, Sources, and the finalized URLs. This way you can refer to them and use the same campaign names with different mediums and sources for your links, or modify the URLs while keeping the structure consistent.
Viewing Data for Your Custom Campaigns
Once people have interacted with the custom campaign URLs you’ve created, you can view their data in your Google Analytics account. Log in to Google Analytics, navigate to the “Traffic Sources” section, click “Sources,” and then click “Campaigns.” This will show you how much traffic you’ve received on the campaigns, using the various custom UTM parameters you created.
Editor’s note: This article uses screenshots and data from the new Google Analytics Beta, Version 5.