Dynadot Tool Tip: How to Use Google's URL Builder to Track Your Campaigns

Dynadot
Nov 21, 2012

If you have a website - and if you’re a Dynadot customer there's a good chance you do (and if you don't: find one now) - you probably use Google Analytics to track your website's traffic. If you don't, you should be, so learn how to set up Google Analytics for your website from our earlier blog post. There are a lot of great tools in Google Analytics, but we want to highlight one today – campaigns.

If you are promoting a page on your website such as your blog, you can track the traffic that comes in by creating special links with Google's URL Builder tool. The link that is created consists of 5 variables that allow Google Analytics to show you which marketing activities are really paying off:

1) Source: the origin of the referral. For example, you can put Facebook, if you're posting the link on your Facebook page.
2) Medium: helps qualify the source. Together the source and medium give you specific information about the origin of the referral. In the case of Facebook as your source, you can use social media as your medium.
3) Term: word or phrase a user types into a search engine. Paid keywords.
4) Content: the version of the advertisement on which a visitor clicked. Use this to differentiate ads.
5) Campaign Name: product, promo code, or slogan. How you will differentiate this campaign from others in Google Analytics, for example, this campaign is "URL Builder blog."

Now even though there are 5 variables, you really only need to fill out the 3 that are required: source, medium, and campaign name. The other two are used more for ad campaigns (and if you use AdWords you can link Google AdWords to your Google Analytics account, so you won't need to set up campaigns for each ad). We use Google's URL Builder to promote our blog posts on our social media. So for example, we fill out "facebook" as our source, "social media" as our medium and "blog post title" as our campaign name. Then we can track the traffic we get to our blog from our social media promotions via Google Analytics.

Once you've successfully set up your campaign, you can check up on them by logging in to your Google Analytics account. From there you go to "Traffic Sources" on the left hand panel, then "Sources" and "Campaigns." Here you can find your campaign based on the campaign name you used in Google's URL Builder to see how much traffic you received from that campaign and where it came from.

Now one thing to be aware of when you use Google's URL Builder is that it makes very long URLs, which are ugly, such as this one: http://www.dynadot.com/community/blog/blah-blah-blah?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social+media&utm_campaign=example. We recommend you "beautify" your links (and let's face it they'll never fit on Twitter anyway) by using a short link service such as bit.ly or tinyurl. You can even customize your short link to help brand your website, which is why all of our short links start with "dyna.me." Using a custom link creates trust because customers will know the link is from your company, while shortening your link makes for a much cleaner post, whether you are posting on Facebook, Google+, or wherever.

We hope you've enjoyed our "tool tip!" Check back with us right here on our blog for more tips to come! And if you have any suggestions for information you'd like to see, let us know in the comments!

*Google has recently been changing their URL Builder link. If the link above does not work or if it comes up but does not have a place for you to submit information, we recommend just searching for "url builder" on Google. You can also make your own tracking links by following the example above. You just need to add ?utm_source=keyword&utm_medium=keyword+keyword&utm_campaign=keyword+keyword+keyword to the end of your link, making sure you put a + sign between keywords.

Post by Robyn Norgan

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