How To Track Conversions Using Google Analytics Campaigns

by 9 12/02/2011

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.

http://blog.crazyegg.com/2011/10/11/website-changes-increase-conversion/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Blogpost

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.

http://blog.crazyegg.com/2011/10/11/website-changes-increase-conversion/?utm_source=CrazyEggBlog&utm_medium=Banner1&utm_campaign=Blogpost

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.

UTM Parameters Google Analytics

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.

Google Analytics Campaign Goals

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.

Google Analytics Campaign Source Goals

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.

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About 

Kristi Hines is a freelance blogger, ghostwriter, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani covers blog marketing and blogging tips for personal, professional, and business bloggers.

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9 COMMENTS

Peter

Very useful article, but for many people URL Builder is too complicated. And this is the reason, why we did a simple tool for tagging: Simple Tag

You don’t need to decide what to add as medium or source. And it’s free, of course :-)

December 5, 2011 Reply

Martin Armstrong

Thanks for sharing this technique. Actually, I am really finding great techniques in using Google Analytics. I want to experience more the benefits of this tracking tool aside from traffic tracking.

http://www.digitalsynergy.com

January 23, 2012 Reply

Chris

Has anyone figured out how to add campaign information to their links when on a mobile phone? Using the Google URL builder is easy on a regular browser, but if I want to share something when I am using a smart phone or an APP, there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to add that campaign info. Any ideas?

May 15, 2012 Reply

Lyena Solomon

Kristi,
KissMetrics warn against using utm parameters in a campaign URL for internal links because it inflates visits.

“Every time someone clicks a campaign URL, Google Analytics starts them off on a new visit.”

They recommend using event tracking instead for the internal banner campaigns. I also think event tracking is a better way.
http://blog.kissmetrics.com/avoid-corrupting-analytics-data/

July 21, 2012 Reply

Marcos

Thank you.
Good information. Does anyone know how to compare conversions from Google Analytics and conversions from DoubleClick?
Thanks a lot.

December 6, 2012 Reply


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