While you can easily see common traffic sources in Google Analytics for Facebook, Twitter, or other referral domains, you might find that you want more details. Using Google Analytics campaign tracking with UTM parameters, you can find out things like which ad on Facebook, which tweet on Twitter, or which link in your newsletter actually led to a conversion.
Setting Up UTM Parameters for Google Analytics Campaigns
UTM parameters for a URL are tags that help Google Analytics identify things about a link that led visitors to your websites. The following is an example of a URL using UTM parameters.
In this example URL, you can see the following UTM parameters:
- utm_source=Newsletter – The Campaign Source tells Google Analytics the traffic source where clicks for this link would originate, in this case my Newsletter.
- utm_medium=Email – The Campaign Medium tells Google Analytics the medium in which this link was shared, in this case Email.
- utm_campaign=Blogpost – The Campaign Name tells Google Analytics the campaign for which this link was shared, in this case Blogpost
Since you can customize UTM parameters for any URL, you can track any link you share as detailed as you want.
For example, if you created three different banner ads to share the above mentioned post. You could have a URL with UTM parameters as follows.
Making Data Driven Decisions That Increase Conversion
Then, for each different banner, change the utm_medium to Banner1, Banner2, and Banner3. This way, if you get any conversions that start with a visitor clicking on a banner, you will know specifically that they click on a banner on your site as well as which banner style they clicked on.
This same usage of UTM parameters can help you identify which advertising banners on other websites lead to the most conversions and are thus, most valuable.
Once you know the banner that converts best, remove the others or replace them with new designs to test.
The easiest way to build URLs using UTM parameters for tracking in Google Analytics is to use Google’s own URL builder which allows you to enter the URL and your campaign specific parameters. This tool also includes a brief description of each parameter to you will know how to use them.
How To View the Results of Your Campaigns in Google Analytics
Once you have started using URLs with custom UTM parameters, you will want to start seeing the results of your campaigns. To do so, go to your website’s Google Analytics profile. In the old version of Google Analytics, the data can be found under Traffic Sources > Campaigns. In the new version of Google Analytics, the data can be found under Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns.
Here, you will see your different campaigns designated by the utm_campaign parameters you specify as shown in the example above. From here, you can click on your Goal Sets to see how each campaign has led to conversions based on goals you have set up in Google Analytics. You can also drill down into each campaign to see the specific traffic sources and mediums for each campaign by clicking on its name. You can also click on a Goal Set to see which traffic source and medium led to conversions as shown below.
As you can see, Google Analytics campaigns can show you some powerful information that will help you be able to choose which advertising, banners, and online marketing strategies lead to the best results in conversions.
A Small Disclaimer
One thing to note is that not all traffic can be tracked by Google Analytics for a variety of reasons. Clicks from applications in mobile devices instead of a mobile web browser, for example, will probably be lumped into direct traffic sources. Also, users who enable privacy browsing using settings in Firefox are specifically not allowing the cookies that Google Analytics uses to identify their behaviors when navigating to and through your website.
Although not all traffic can be traced, the traffic that can be will provide a lot of useful information, therefore it is definitely worth your time to use campaigns in Google Analytics to find out what you can from traceable sources.