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13

Apr 2014

How to use Google’s URL Builder with a Tracking Document

Posted by / in Analytics, Conversion Optimization, SEM Blog / Link

Why is tagging so important?

Tagging your on- and offline campaigns is extremely important. Campaign tagging allows you to accurately track the visitors from your marketing and advertising campaigns and see as to what extent they contribute to leads, sales and other KPI’s. With this information you know which campaigns perform well and which don’t. It also enables you to continuously tweak and test your advertising, increasing performance as you go.

So how do I tag my media?

In Google AdWords, it’s easy. All you need is link your AdWords account to your Analytics account and make sure that they allow data sharing. That’s it. Now all your AdWords campaign data (e.g. campaign name, ad group, keyword, cost, ad version, etc.) are automatically imported into Analytics. On the other hand AdWords can now use the remarketing opportunities and conversion data from Analytics. Indispensable for bid management and campaign optimization.

Using Google’s URL builder

Campaigns from other sources have to be tagged manually. This is easier than it sounds. Google offers the URL Builder, a hand tool that creates a custom URL which contains all the campaign info you’ll need.

How do I use Google’s URL builder?

First, go to Google’s URL Builder. You can find it here. Follow the steps and insert the data for:

  1. Campaign Source (e.g. yahoo.ca, newsletter, LinkedIn)
  2. Campaign Medium (e.g. CPC, email, advertorial, billboard, affiliate)
  3. Campaign Term (e.g. a keyword in a search-campaign; optional)
  4. Campaign Content (e.g. BannerA, USP1, Flash, UnderFold, unsubscribe; optional)
  5. Campaign Name (e.g. branding, ProductLaunch, HR)

Click ‘Submit’, and the URL Builder will give you a new URL that contains all the campaign info. Copy/paste this into your ads and all their info will automatically be imported in Analytics.

Why you need a tagging document

To make the most of ad tagging, just adding tags is not enough. It is important that tags are uniform and documented. That’s why you need a tagging document. This usually is a list in Excel, where all the tags are listed. This has the following advantages:

I. Uniformity

Tags need to be concise. For Google Analytics, the tags “email”, “e-mail”, and “EMAIL” are all different. Differently spelled versions of a tag makes it a lot harder to gain insights into the results. A tracking document can show you which tags have been used previously, so you can keep new tracks consistent with the ones already in use.

II. Content and traffic

Suppose you’re sending out a monthly newsletter by email. You’d like to add different tags to each link in the email, so you can measure the results from each link separately. The results will provide you with valuable data regarding the interest of your readers. In order to know what each link was about, you’ll need a tagging document to list what each piece of content was about. After 6 months, you won’t know remember what the promotion with the tag “discount01” was all about. The same goes for AB-tests, banner versions, advertorials in separate media, etc.

III. Measuring effectiveness

Advertising needs to be profitable, so you want to track all the media you’re paying for. Tracking each link individually will give you a powerful tool to measure traffic, conversions, ROI and ROAS from your campaigns. Based on this information you can optimize advertising campaigns, improve your marketing mix, and create your yearly advertising or marketing plan.

Example of a Google Analytics tracking document

Here’s an example of a tracking document in Excel: Google Analytics URL Tracking Document

The first page contains instructions. The second page can be used to track your URLs. The third page shows some examples. Feel free to download and share!

Some tracking tips

  1. Under ‘website name’ fill in the whole website, including “http://” and “www.” (if applicable).
  2. Don’t use spaces in the data entered in the URL builder. This will break the URL.
  3. Don’t use special characters either. For example, if your URL contains a string like: “topic=1234&rd=1“, you need to escape the ampersand, and enter that portion of the URL like this: “topic=1234&rd=1“.

More on Google’s URL Builder

For more information regarding Google’s URL builder, click here.

Need help with Google Analytics? Make sure that you spend your advertising budget as effectively as possible? We’re here to help!

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