If It Moves – Measure It

When you’re driving traffic to your site the number of different channels that are available to exploit grows at a pace that can be difficult to keep up with. If you are able to keep up with these changes are you able to monitor how effective they are?

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If you’re not already tracking your site with Google Analytics then don’t read any further until you’ve sorted that out.

With your analytics in place, we can start tracking the links you get from your different channels and not just by looking at the Social section of your Google Analytics dashboard. Although that dashboard will tell you the amount of traffic coming from social channels it won’t tell you if a specific amount of time and effort you’ve spent on a campaign has paid off.

In order to make sure you’re not wasting your time you need to build into your campaigns a way to measure their success. The solution comes in the form of the Google URL Builder and I will attempt to describe it’s operation using language that I would hope my 6 year old daughter would understand.

The URL Builder helps you add extra information to the Web Address you are about to share on social media or through an email campaign. That extra data is recorded on Google Analytics so you can track traffic to your site that has come from a specific post.

The Basics

Before you create your special web address you need a minimum of 4 pieces of information.

  1. Website URL – The web address of the page you are linking to.
  2. Campaign Source – would be where the visitor has come from so if the link is shared on Facebook then I’d use ‘facebook‘ for this field, if the link is in a newsletter then I’d use text that identifies that specific newsletter.
  3. Campaign Medium – This is the method of delivery of your link. I’d use ‘Email’ for a newsletter and if the source was Facebook or other social media I’d describe the type of post used so ‘post‘, ‘boosted_post‘ or ‘picture_post‘ so you build a picture of which post types work.
  4. Campaign Name – This should be used to indicate the current campaign that you are running eg: spring_sale, black_friday_sale etc.

There is a 5th piece of information that may come in handy for more advanced campaigns, Campaign Content can be used to show different links within the same advert, so if you are creating a newsletter with a link in the text and another link in the form of a button you can identify the different types eg. ‘text_link‘ or ‘button_link‘.

Some Examples

Newsletter: I create a newsletter for a Spring Campaign for Beauty Boulevard the makers of Glitter Lips.

http://beautyboulevard.co.uk/?utm_source=may_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=spring

I also decide to add a link to the logo that I use on the newsletter and I add tracking code to that link.

http://beautyboulevard.co.uk/?utm_source=may_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=logo_link&utm_campaign=spring

 

Social Media: I create a post as part of a social media campaign for The Furious Engineer.

http://thefuriousengineer.com/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=spring_social

As part of the same campaign I create a link on twitter and this link has a picture.

http://thefuriousengineer.com/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=picture_post&utm_campaign=spring_social
Using The Links

Use your links as you would a normal link and if you’re using the link in a situation where somebody sees the content of the link you can always use a URL shortener service like Bitly to reduce its size.

Once you’ve used your links in newsletters or social media any clicks on your links will be tracked in your Analytics account in the usual way but having added the additional information to the URL you’ll also be able to see specific clicks on those URLs grouped together within the Campaign section of your Analytics account.

[special_text tagname=”h3″ font_weight=”300″ color=”#ffffff”]Geek Tip – advanced users[/special_text]

geek100As you’re adding tags to your pages and those tags may get more complicated as your understanding grows now would be a good time to start using a Chrome extension called Tag Assistant (By Google).

Tag Assistant automatically validates the implementation of Google tracking scripts on any given page.

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Measure Your Effectiveness

Any visits that originated from one of your links will now be displayed in the campaign tab of your Analytics account.

You’ll be able to see the number of people that have clicked on your link and more importantly if you’re an online shop you’ll see the revenue generated by all that activity.

If you’re starting to exploit a new social media channel and you’re using links that you can identify as coming from that channel you’ll get some nice evidence so you can either carry on or quit using that channel.

In Summary

Although this adds a bit more work to your marketing campaigns you’ll be able to ensure that any work you’re doing is showing a return in sales or just visits. As you get more familiar with the URL builder and the parameters you can add to the link you’ll be able to build up a good picture of what type of post work best and where’s the best place to insert your links within a newsletter.

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