The reason you’ve created several marketing strategies like your landing page, membership and sales funnel is to get a substantial return on investment. Your ROI determines how successful your campaign was during its life cycle. You might have already found ways to track the ROI of your email, social media marketing, and google campaign ads and this may be the tool you’re conversant with during previous campaigns.

One of the biggest analytical tools for marketing is Google Analytics. With its many features, it takes a lot of practice and data for it to give you the tailored results you seek. This means carefully integrating the tool, especially during custom campaigns.

So if you’re looking for a way to reevaluate your strategy when it’s underperforming, reallocating resources to the alternative plan, or generally make informed decisions, this is where Google Analytics comes in.

What is Campaign Tracking?

Campaign tracking means finding out which of your organic or/and paid ads are driving more traffic to your website. This means tracking each of your advertising campaigns, figuring the number of traffic each of them is driving a website, and how these visitors go through the conversion process. 

The major reason for tracking these metrics is to give you an insight into what each referral channel is doing. With Google Analytics, you’ll identify what is working and what isn’t. The data will help create informed decisions for subsequent campaigns.

This is why we’ve created this guide to help you understand Google Analytics Campaign Tracking. The most essential factors to consider are your Campaign Tags and the goals you set. We’ll be seeing how these two come together to build the bridge between analytics tracking and your campaign.

Understanding the Importance of Campaign Tags

So Google analytics offers views into conversion metrics, goals along with all the engagements you’ve gotten on your site. However, when you’re running a campaign and you activate campaign tracking, it offers you a report separate from the conventional ones you’d get. This tracking will report every engagement gotten from all aspects of your marketing campaign. That’s why your campaign tag is important.

Campaign Tags Popularly referred to as UTM tags (Urchin Tracking Modules) are the parameters added to the end of your link to help the analytics software determine what campaign it’s created for, how many people engaged with it and where it was found. With a UTM tag, you’d be able to pinpoint which aspects of your campaigns are getting hits.

This is an example of a link with a UTM tag

Now this is an example of a link without a UTM tag

You’d see that in the first link, there are three extra variables that indicate the source, medium, and campaigns. So your UTM tags are like a label attached to your links. If your campaign isn’t properly tagged, they’d be hard to read and this will disrupt the entire data you plan on getting. In the long run, they can ruin the credibility of your report. That’s why your UTM tags are very important when you’re tracking your campaign using Google Analytics.

Components of a UTM Tag and What They Mean

In our earlier example, you’d see that there are some variables attached at the end of the link with a UTM tag. Essentially everything that comes after the question mark is the UTM variables. Let’s see what these variables mean.

Utm_source: What this variable tells you is where your website visitors came from. where the link is currently dwelling which loosely translates to where they saw your campaign. Usually, they could come in form email campaigns, social media, or even other websites with backlinks to yours. However, the direct source will be available in the link. In our example above, we discovered that the source was Instagram which falls under the social media category.

Utm_medium: This describes the path your visitors took to find your site. It tells the type of ad campaign that is hosting the link. These paths are usually ads like google ads, social ads, email, PPC’s, or direct (which means a direct web search for your site).

Utm_campaign: Campaign describes the comprehensive marketing campaign. So, in this case, you’re naming it in a very catch descriptive tag that’ll easily ring a bell. In our example above, the marketing campaign is described using ‘Instagram%30ads’.

Utm_term and utm_content: These two variables highlight the CPC keywords and headlines. These two are actually optional and so you won’t be seeing a lot of them since they aren’t also offered by Google. So unless absolutely necessary, you won’t need them in tracking your campaign with google analytics.

The reports for each of the above-listed UTM variables are made available in Google Analytics. Subsequently, we’ll see where each of these reports is located and how you can access them.

How to Add UTM Tags to URL’s

There are various ways to add campaign tags to your URL. However, we’ll be highlighting the easy ways to do that.

Automatic URL Tagging

There are several tools that come with a feature that automatically adds campaign tags to a URL. This feature is usually available for premium accounts. Some of the tools that offer this option include Mailchimp, Hootsuite and even Google Ads. If you have a google ads account, simply check your Settings>Account Settings>Auto-tagging. Select ‘Yes’ if you want this feature turned on.

Manual URL Tagging

For specific UTM tags, using an automatic tag won’t be suitable because these tools only generate tags. You’d have to use the automatically generated tags to find the variables in your link. This is where the manual tagging proves efficient. Especially if you’re focused on creating organic traffic and getting organic results. Now by manually generating UTM tags, we don’t mean writing them out every single time. There are also efficient tools in place to make this as seamless as possible. These tools are referred to as UTM Generators.

Our recommended UTM generator is Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder. This generator works like a form where you can see alternative suggestions before filling out what name you’d choose for each of your UTM tags. You’d also see what the end result of your choice will look like as a full link. You can then choose to make adjustments where necessary before sending it live.

Google analytics campaign tracking

Asides from the Google Analytics Campaign URL builder, there are other generators you can try out. We have the Excel URL Builder and Effin’s Amazing chrome extension. Keep in mind that there’s no perfect way to add tags to a URL so just create whatever you feel will work for your campaign.

An important thing to note is that your campaign tags are strictly for inbound links to your website. Using them within will seriously hurt your sessions and metrics. Please don’t apply them in links within.

Setting Goals for your Campaign Tracking in Google Analytics.

Let’s start by understanding that goals in this context aren’t just a list of things you hope to achieve with your campaign. Here, they are a tracking feature. Goals in collaboration with your UTM tags show you who your leads are and what steps they are taking on your campaign.

As a feature in Google Analytics, goals help you analyze your lead generation strategies by showing which of your leads take the action required. It could be something as simple as knowing when a lead successfully subscribes to a weekly newsletter by analyzing if they got to the “Thank You” landing page. Let’s see how to set your goals with Google Analytics

1. Go to ‘Admin’ on your Google Analytics drop-down menu

2. Select ‘Goals’ under ‘All Web Site Data’

3. Create a new goal

4. Select the type of goal you’d prefer. You can create custom types however since our earlier example is subscribing to a newsletter, ‘Sign Up’ is the ideal type for our campaign.

5. Give your goal a name and then select the type of goal you want it to be. Would you want it to be a directional type, a goal focused on time, number of sessions or pages viewed, or even a smart goal? For our example, we want to see them on the landing page. So our type here will be ‘Direction’.

6. Choose the details of your goal. In the details section, you’d be able to make certain choices. The first is the ‘Begins with’ option. Here, you can get all your subscribers duly recorded. Beside it, there’s a space to insert your landing page URL. In our case, we’d be adding our thank you page URL because that’s the destination we want the subscribers to end up at. And what we want to track is people who actually landed there from the subscribe button.

It’s advisable to turn on your ‘Funnel’ option but it’s optional if you don’t want to.

Name the Subscribe page and add the URL that the lead will be on before being transported to the Thank You Page.

Turn on ‘Required

7.       Verify your goal to be sure that it’s configured to what you actually need and that there were no mistakes in the setup page. Click on ‘Save’ and that’s it!

How to View the Results of your Campaign Tracking in Google Analytics

Once your Custom UTM tags and goals are in motion, you’d want to have insights into how your campaign is faring. After all, what’s the point of tracking a campaign if you can’t see it’s live results?

  • Go to your Google Analytics profile. If you don’t have a newer version, it’ll be named as ‘Traffic Sources
  • For campaign tags, the utm_medium and utm_source will be in ‘Source/Medium Reports’. Then the utm_campaign will also be under ‘Campaign Reports’.
  • Asides from this, by default, they’ll be located under ‘All Campaigns’.
  • Simply check for ‘Acquisition Reports’ and then ‘Channel Groupings’ to find them.
  • To track your goals, simply check Reporting > Conversions > Goals > Overview
  • Or alternatively, search for ‘Goal Sets’ under ‘All Campaigns’.

Tips for Effectively Measuring your Reports on Analytics

The first tip is consistency. In creating UTM tags, your variables have to be consistent so you get the exact report on Google Analytics. If you change your social media variable all the time or change the variables you use, you cannot get a correct report on the year’s campaigns. Also, it is as fragile as using the right case. For instance, if ‘Email’ changes to ’email’, it will still affect the insights you get on your email campaign. Because it’ll recognize them as two completely different variables as opposed to the same thing which they are.

Another is to start as soon as you can. You don’t have to wait for that big campaign before tracking. In fact, starting small is great because it’s easy to discover what is failing and what you should take into consideration when you’re ready to launch your big campaign. Real-time data also helps in the long-run. Your ROI will be easier to read.

Plus, if you’re seeing weird tags or names in your reports, don’t panic. Someone else on your team or organization has probably had to use that for their campaign.

Now that you’ve learnt how to track your campaigns using Google Analytics, we can’t wait to see the impact it makes on your entire campaign.