Tracking campaigns with URL Builder

To navigate to the URL builder in the Help Center click the link at the end of this lesson and scroll down to the URL builder form.

In the first step, type in the URL of your website (or where you want your ad or campaign link to take users). Then fill out fields for the campaign, source, and medium. Optionally, you can fill out the fields for term, content, and name. Term, content, and name can be any values you want, just make sure that they’re descriptive enough to recognize when they appear in your Google Analytics reports.

A quick note about naming conventions. Typically, you’ll use single words to name your tags. If you use phrases, then the URL builder will add underscores between the words to avoid spaces in the URL. Be sure to use consistent spelling and capitalization when entering tag values. Since Google Analytics is case sensitive, a campaign named “PROMO1” in all uppercase will show up separately from a campaign named “promo1” in all lowercase. Also, make sure that you use consistent medium names like “display” for banner ads and “email” for email campaigns.

When you click “Generate URL” at the bottom, you can see that the URL Builder generates the link with all the correct campaign parameters attached.

This provides an easy way to quickly generate campaign tags for tracking. But keep in mind, you can only use it to build out one URL at a time, so you probably won’t want to use it to build each URL if you have a large campaign. Instead, you can use a spreadsheet to simplify the process. We’ve provided an example template at the end of this lesson that you can use to manage your campaign values for bulk URL-building.

Before launching a campaign with this link, you’ll want to verify that your tracking tags are working correctly. Sometimes a website configuration can break Google Analytics Campaign tracking. Here's a simple way to test your campaign before you launch it. First open an incognito window or private browsing session. Then, copy and paste the link you created to track your campaign into the address bar of the browser. Once your website loads, navigate around your site and complete some of the critical actions. For example, if one of your website objectives is a trial signup, complete the signup process on your site. Or, if your campaign contains a coupon, try submitting a transaction with the coupon applied.

It’s a good idea to try this with each URL you created. You can instantly see campaign information in the Real Time reports or wait a few hours to review the data in your standard Campaign reports. Then visit the “All Campaigns” report in the “Acquisition” section under “Campaigns.” This report lets you compare incoming traffic from your various marketing campaigns. To verify that the campaign is collecting data properly, type the name of the campaign into the filter. You should see an overview of the campaign clicks that you tested.

If you click on the campaign name, you can see the source and medium data that you entered into the URL Builder. If you want to verify the other campaign tags you added to your URL, add a secondary dimension such as “ad content.”

This lets you view the primary dimension of “Source/Medium” broken down by the “content” tag you added to your links. The Google Store differentiated the “content” tag for their email newsletters by whether they were offering promotions or not. By adding the secondary dimension of “Ad Content,” we can see which promotions were most effective at driving people to the website.

There are many other ways to analyze campaign data, which we’ll cover in an advanced course. Using the URL Builder in conjunction with Google Analytics reporting, you can quickly understand which campaigns drove the highest quality traffic to your site.

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