Integral to the process of maintaining successful marketing campaigns is being able to see what advertising mediums are working for you and what aren't.
Its only through analysing your campaigns and sorting the wheat from the chaff, that you can refine your campaigns and progress as a business, preventing you from paying for marketing that isn't working.
But before you can analyse your campaigns you need to be able to collect your data. Luckily, Google Analytics provides an easy way for you to do this.
Tracking campaigns in Google Analytics
Before you proceed with the steps listed in this article you'll need to have already setup and installed Google Analytics on your website.
If you haven't already done so, you can follow the instructions in our article How to setup Google Analytics.
Once you've setup Analytics you'll then be able to start using something called UTM Parameters.
What are UTM Parameters?
Without boring you with a lecture on what UTM stands for and the history behind Google Analytics, put simply UTM Parameters are small snippets of text that you add to a URL to pass data through to Analytics, for example
The bit 'adwordscampaign' is the UTM parameter. The ?utm_source= tells analytics 'utm parameter coming up' and what type of parameter it is that you're passing on.
The 5 Parameters
There are 5 available UTM parameters all relating to a website visitor clicking on a link to your website somewhere. The first 3 are required parameters
Generally used to describe the website or source of the visit.
Medium refers to the advertising medium, for example 'ppc' or 'email'.
Campaign refers to the campaign that you are running. Is it a website launch or specific product launch?
The second 2 are optional
If you're running a PPC ad this refers to the keyword term.
If you're split testing ads then you can use this to specify content.
Building a trackable URL
You can actually use Google's campaign URL builder to create a trackable URL.
It makes it very easy to build a trackable URL and all you need to enter is the URL to track along with the parameters you want to track, e.g.
Google will then provide the URL, e.g.
There's no right or wrong way to create your URLs but there are a few best practices we'd recommend sticking too.
• Consider your taxonomy (how you'll name things) before you being. This will prevent you giving the same thing more than one name (and making it harder to track).
• Anyone that clicks a link will be able to see your parameters so don't put anything you don't want the whole world to see in them.
• Parameters should be in lower case.
• Long URLs can be hard to manage so if you are using a link shortener like bit.ly be careful to keep a record of what link is what on a spreadsheet.
• Don't create parameters that aren't necessary.
When to use UTM Parameters
UTM Parameters are a great way to track your online marketing activities. Some examples of marketing activities to track:
• Guest Blog Posts - blogging can take a long time, so its worth keep tracking of how many clicks you're getting back to your site from your blog posts as a guest on other sites.
• Social Marketing - placing a trackable link in your social profiles is a great way to tell if your marketing efforts are worth while or a waste of time.
• Email Marketing - using a trackable URL in your email campaigns can help you see which links and which emails have performed best.
We recommend that you use trackable URLs wherever you advertise.
Viewing Campaign Reports
When a visitor clicks one of the URLs you have created, Analytics will automatically track it.
To view your campaign's reports login to your Analytics account and click 'acquisition' from the menu on the left hand side and then 'campaigns'.
In the page that loads you will be shown all the campaigns that clicks have been tracked for. You can click an individual campaign to view the full details and even information on sales that have resulted (if you've got ecommerce tracking turned on).