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Learn To Simplify Manual Campaign Tracking In Google Analytics

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Are you running campaigns for your business? Whether they be on Google AdWords or any other manual campaign, be it emails or social media campaigns, you would want to know if the campaign spends are bringing you any revenue. If you are running Google AdWords, then you needn’t worry, Google has you covered on that front. By simply linking your AdWords account with your Google Analytics account, you can start tracking the campaign progress.

In case you are running a manual campaign, then too Google has made it easy to track those campaigns without any elaborate set up or integration.

First of all, you need a website with a clear goal for your website. The goal could be registering, purchasing, and watching a video or just about anything. But that is important otherwise tracking conversions is impossible.

Steps to building a manual campaign tracking destination URL

campaign tracking

  1. When you have a manual campaign, you will be required to have a campaign URL for your destination website. You can manually build the website’s campaign URL.
  2. While building a campaign destination URL, you will need to know three terms – campaign, medium, and source.
  3. These are added to the URL separated by a question mark. For eg – Your website URL is http://thisisheavy.com, so to build the manual campaign tracking URL, you separate the URL from parameters using a question mark, ie, www.example.com/?
  4. The parameters are called as UTM parameters and are mandatory inputs in the URL. There are two additional parameters “content” and “term” which are optional inputs. The UTM parameters are appended to the destination URL to enable the campaign tracking.
  5. The “campaign” parameter is the grouping of items with a shared set of resources and goals. It could refer to an individual campaign name, promo code for product, etc.
  6. The “medium” parameter refers to the advertising medium being used for the campaign such as emails, print, display, banner, etc.
  7. The “source” parameter indicates the website that will be sending the traffic to your destination website. It could be Google, social network, etc.
  8. The “content” parameter is optional and can be used to differentiate similar content within the website. It can be used when you have different call to action links and you need to identify which is working better.
  9. The “term” parameter is again optional. It is normally used to identify paid search keywords.
  10. Your final output URL will look like – http://example.com/? utm_source=”source-name”&utm_medium=”medium-name”&utm_campaign=”campaign-name”

You could make this manually or to avoid typos and other possible errors you could use Google’s URL builder tool which will directly give you the URL once you key in the relevant parameters.

Challenges with Manual Campaign Tracking

One of the biggest challenges of manual campaign tracking is the managing of the UTM parameters. It is easy when you have only one or two odd campaigns running. But, when it comes to multiple campaigns then it becomes difficult to track the haphazardly used parameters which could lead to a mash up of data.

In parameters, everything is case sensitive, so Google is different from google, content-type is different from content_type and if you use a generic parameter such as New-Campaign, then you are liable to forget what the campaign was four months later when there is again a new campaign.

To prevent such issues from cropping up, it is necessary for marketers to create a campaign tagging index, which the team can use and refer across multiple campaigns over long periods of time. This would also avoid the mash-up of campaign data and all campaign parameters can be viewed in one place for easy cross referencing.

Choosing the correct name for Manual Tracking Campaign’s UTM parameters

  1. Campaign

campaign tracking

The name has to be something around which your entire campaign is anchored to or revolves around. It could be an event you are promoting or a magazine launch or a discount/sale offer. It basically needs to have a unifying idea since it is the highest level of grouping under which the other items will come.

Use the following checklist for naming the “campaign” parameter –

  • It has to be a collection of media, sources, and content unifying a single theme or idea.
  • Has to have atleast one, and normally more than a couple of media groups.
  • Has to have atleast one, and more than a few sources.
  • Campaign spelling needs to be consistent, without spaces, unambiguous, descriptive, and is case sensitive.
  1. Medium

campaign tracking

What is the medium where you will be running your campaign? It could be email, social, display, organic, referral, cpc, none, and custom. Of these, you should avoid using the following few mediums since they are reserved for different purposes in Google Analytics. They are-

  • Organic – the visitors that come from a normal search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo!
  • Referral – when a user comes from a site that contains a link to your website is called as a referral.
  • None – is the direct traffic that comes when someone types in the URL in the address bar or bookmark.

Checklist for naming the “medium” parameter –

  • Should be mutually exclusive, should cover all campaigns and multiple campaigns, and all digital marketing.
  • The spelling needs to be consistent, lowercase, and is case sensitive.
  1. Source

campaign tracking

It is important to know the attribution of your website traffic. This can help you in knowing where to put in your advertising money. More advertising can be done on sites that send more traffic to your website.

Checklist for naming the “sources” parameter –

  • Should cover all existing sources, whether internal or external.
  • Sources should evolve as the campaigns evolve. Mostly, the source is the name of the site.
  • There should be no duplication. A standard should be created. It should not include a medium by mistake.
  • The spelling needs to be consistent, without spaces, lowercase, and is case sensitive.

Image credits: threeventures.com, marketingland.com, jem9.com

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