Some marketing campaigns will always be more successful than others, but to understand what’s working best, you need to track their performance. Google Analytics is great for monitoring how people are coming to your website, but it can be limited in telling you where your traffic is coming from.

Campaign tracking allows you to add special tracking code to your website link, also known as a tracking link, to identify how users are getting to your site. You can then identify how well each link is performing in Google Analytics. 

How do you build these tracking links? Fortunately, it's very easy to do this with the Google URL builder! 

What it involves

Your marketing campaign might be pointing the audience towards a page using a ‘normal’ link, such as:

https://www.yourcharity.com/about-us

In order to record how many people are using that URL, you would instead use a tracking link, which looks like this:

https://www.yourcharity.com/about-us?utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=ChristmasCampaign&utm_medium=SocialPost

It’s the same link, but all the bits after the ‘?’ make up the campaign tracking code, which will tell Google Analytics where the visits have come from.

How do I create the tracking code?

It’s easy to create a tracking link in the Google Analytics URL Builder, which you can find here: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/

Here is an example of how you might fill in the fields, with further explanation below:

  1. Website URL: the page on your website you want people to visit.
  2. Campaign Source: the platform where you are running the campaign (e.g. Facebook)
  3. Campaign Medium: the specific channel you are going to deliver the campaign through (e.g. Social Post or Email)
  4. Campaign Name: what you want to call the campaign for easy tracking (e.g. Christmas Campaign, or the name of an Appeal on your website).

Some things to note when using the builder:

  • It is case-sensitive, so always try and keep the case the same.
  • This only works for links to your website. If you try to use it for links to other websites, only they will be able to see your naming convention in their Google Analytics.
  • The parameters you add will be visible to anyone in the address bar when they click on it – so make sure it is user-friendly.
  • You do not need to use this tracking builder for Google Adwords campaigns – Google does this automatically.
  • The 'Campaign Term' field is often not needed. However, you can use this for other parameters you would like to include e.g. audiences.
  • Keep a log of the links you create so you know what you have used before and if any are not showing up in Google Analytics.
  • Be consistent! Make sure you always try and keep a pattern to how you use the Google URL Builder

That’s it! Your new tracking link will be automatically generated:

www.yourcharity.com/about-us?utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=ChristmasCampaign&utm_medium=SocialPost

All you need to do now is to copy the link and paste it straight into your social media post instead of the original  link.

What can I use this for?

You could use this for a number of marketing channels. Here are some suggestions and how you would set them up in the URL builder:

Email campaigns
Source = Mailchimp
Medium = Email

Social advertising campaigns
Source = Twitter or Facebook
Medium = Social Ad

Organic social campaigns
Source = Twitter or Facebook
Medium = Social Post

Online third-party news articles
Source = The Guardian
Medium = News

Where do I find the results?

Once you have used your link and people start clicking on it, it will show up automatically in your Google Analytics account.

Once you’re logged in to Google Analytics, go to:

Acquisition > Campaigns > All campaigns

Here you can see how many visits you received from your campaign; how long visitors stayed on your website; and the bounce rate (the percentage of people that looked at just one page before leaving your site).

Examples of Google Analytics results from campaigns using tracked URLs

Get tracking!

Now you will be able to see how well your campaigns are doing in getting audiences to the important posts on your website. You can also compare the performance of different campaigns and see which are bringing the most traffic to your website – and what visitors do when they get there.

Good luck!

Get your head around Google Analytics with our simple, quick guide