Tracking Referals From a Campaign With Google

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I get this question a lot: “how do I track how many people click through from my newsletter/ad/flux capacitor?” The best way to do it is to use Google’s URL Builder

What it does is tack on extra information to the URL for analytics tools (like Google Analytics and LiveStats) to chew on.

Here’s an example:

Every month the Office of Marketing and Communications sends out the School of Business Gazette in the form of an email. That email contains links to web pages on the school’s site that have the following format: http://www.bus.wisc.edu/gazette/month2007/article_name.asp

To track the number of clicks on a particular story in the email, we need to find a way to differentiate those clicks from other clicks, say from folks stumbling around our site and getting to the Gazette through the administrative resources section.

So, what to do? If we go to the URL Builder we can define specific information about the link. I enter the following information:

Campaign Source: gaz042007 (short for gazette 04/2007, note that I left out the slash since it’s a reserved character for use in URLs) Campaign Medium: email

And the tool spits out the following URL: http://www.bus.wisc.edu/gazette/april2007/article.asp?utm_source=gaz042007&utm_medium=email

Notice the information we added comes after a question mark as follows: ?utm_source=gaz042007&utm_medium=email.

Both URLs load the same page, but the URL-Builder page tags extra information for the analytics tools to consume. That’s the information that we can use to track the campaign. Google Analytics will consume that auto-magically (assuming you’ve got the proper tracking code on your page, (email me with questions on that)) and LiveStats would require some custom report definition.

Please leave questions or comments below. Thanks for reading!

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