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Tracking Digital Marketing Results using Google URL Builder
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Tracking Digital Marketing Results using Google URL Builder

by Mikayla TamMay 29, 2015

If there’s one tool every digital marketer should be using to track the success of digital marketing campaigns, it’s Google’s URL Builder.

What is a URL Builder?

The URL builder basically creates a custom URL for individual campaigns and parameters within those campaigns to allow you to more successfully measure how the campaign performs. Using this URL Builder, you will easily be able to see which marketing channels are generating the most relevant website traffic, which are converting customers and even which content is preferred (as a whole and by channel).

What do custom URL’s look like?

Custom URLs point to the web URL you provide but are given a special source code which specifies certain tracking parameters. For example, here is an example of the “regular” URL and a custom built URL:

Regular URL:

http://arcadiandigital.com.au/services

Custom URL:

http://arcadiandigital.com.au/services?utm_source=Facebook%20Ads&utm_medium=Services&utm_campaign=Facebook%20Ads

If you navigate to each of these links, they will take you to the same page. However, you can see that the second link has been given a custom source code with the Source of Facebook, the Medium of Services and the Campaign of Facebook Ads. This link was used to measure the success of Facebook Ads which were advertising the services at this company. In Google Analytics, you can much more easily track different sources and mediums, and see how people from each channel have interacted with the website.

Setting up Custom URLs

To create a custom URL, go here.

The fields you must complete:

  • Website URL – this is the URL of the website you want people to land on (in the above example, this would be http://arcadiandigital.com.au/services)
  • Campaign Source – this is the source, or the platform or channel you are measuring. For example, “LinkedIn Publisher”, “Facebook Posts”, Google AdWords” etc
  • Campaign Name – this is the name of the campaign. For example, “June Monthly Email”, “Retargeting”, “Furniture Facebook Ads” etc.

The other fields can also be used to further define a campaign you are measuring. However, these three parameters should provide enough information to get started with more defined and intelligent tracking.

How do the results appear?

To check your results, you’ll need to utilise Google Analytics.

Once logged in, the best area to get a quick snapshot of results from different campaigns is in Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns

Here is a screen shot of how this will appear (Source = Campaign Source, Medium = Campaign Name) in All Campaigns in Acquisitions (just showing the Source/Medium and Sessions columns):

Source and Medium Measurement in Analytics

Using the results

There are literally hundreds of ways you can use these results to improve your digital marketing efforts. Just two ways include (1) leveraging time and money in the most effective channels, and (2) determining the most engaging content for your audience.

Understanding the most effective channel is relatively simple: look at those campaigns driving the most website sessions (that are relevant; so therefore don’t have a high bounce rate).

When it comes to content, you’ll be able to start seeing patterns in the content that your audience is interested in and content that has low engagement. For example, in this above example we can see that the Blog “Which CMS” referred 11 sessions (and had a low bounce rate – although this hasn’t been shown). In contrast, the blog “How well do you know your numbers” had only 3 referred sessions when pushed through the same source of LinkedIn Publisher. While this is only one small insight, over time you will be able to see trends in the type of material people like.

 

I think Google URL Builder is one of the best ways to track and measure the success of digital marketing campaigns. Best part – it’s free and relatively easy to use.

What other tools do you find helpful to track and measure your digital marketing campaigns?

 

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Mikayla Tam

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