Advanced Google Analytics: URL Tagging

One of the great parts of using your website for marketing is all of the data: you can see where visitors are coming from, what is driving traffic and where your investments are paying off. But there is a wrinkle: what about all the things that you do that aren’t online?

campaign tagging

Allow me to introduce: custom tagging. If you have spent any time in Google Analytics you are probably familiar with (or at least aware of) source and medium as ways to group visitors to your site. While the default groups are pretty web centric, with a little planning, these can start to shed light on all sorts of efforts. By adding some variables to your URL you can define the source, medium and campaign (along with a couple of other variables) that Google Analytics associates with the visit. This might look like this: http://tkgenius.wpengine.com?utm_source=kyle&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=education

But how would this work? Let’s start with a pretty straightforward example: you are mailing a postcard to recipients of your print newsletter to encourage them to sign up for your email list. How can you tell how many people got the postcard and signed up? You could look at your data and find people that signed up for the newsletter on your site, but how do you know if these people came from the postcard? You could use URL tagging, but who is going to type in http://tkgenius.wpengine.com?utm_source=postcard&utm_medium=mail&utm_campaign=newsletter – not to spoil the surprise, but it will be exactly 0 people.

But what will work is to setup a much simpler URL: tkgenius.com/postcard – this URL can be setup to send people to an existing page with a signup form and in the process add the tracking code to the end of the URL. Boom: now you can look at your email signups and see how many had a source of “postcard”.

And that is just the beginning. The same signup page could be used with separate URLs for the postcard, a letter and sign in your store. By planning this ahead you can see which approach led to the most sign ups. Compare this to the cost of each method and you are in a good position to make a better choice for your next campaign.

If you are curious about how to get started adding your own tags, the Google URL builder can help to get you started. And if that is a bit overwhelming, get in touch and we will see how we can help you out.

Want to learn more about Google Analytics? Stay tuned to our blog. I’ll be bringing you more advanced tips on Google Analytics or join us in person at TKG’s Google Analytics Advanced Breakfast Bootcamp on September 18 . Click here to register for this FREE session! I look forward to meeting you!

While Kyle’s resume includes “former model,” our clients tend to appreciate his years of digital strategy experience. We love Kyle’s sense of curiosity, and that’s displayed here as he talks digital marketing, SEO, and more.

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One thought on “Advanced Google Analytics: URL Tagging

  1. Pingback: Advanced Google Analytics: Virtual Pageviews and Event Tracking | The Karcher Group Blog

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