One minute please...
Posted on November 24, 2016
Take 15 minutes out of your day to tag all your digital marketing campaigns. Ask your paid search agency to ensure Auto-Tagging is working. It’s one of those tasks many marketers forget or even neglect to do. It is, however, one of the most important.
An effective digital marketing campaign begins with a plan. Without a plan, we don’t know what we are trying to achieve or how we are going to do it. Once you have designed your plan you need an effective way to measure the performance of that plan.
An effective measurements plan will;
1. Save you time - You won't waste your time on things that don’t work. It will be easy to measure the results in your web analytics tools. You can spot trends, move budget and identify anything that’s not working.
2. Save you money - You won't waste budget on things that don’t work. You can move the budget to the things that do work. You'll spend less money chasing leads.
We’re going to add Google Tracking parameters to the URL links in your campaigns using the Google URL Builder. Campaign tagging tells Google Analytics where a customer has come from.
When visitors arrive on your website Google Analytics tries to identify where that customer has come from. Google Analytics uses a a number of different identifiers including campaign tracking.
When traffic comes to your site via a campaign tagged link, the data will automatically be added to the right reports.
It’s important to understand the structure of a URL. Google Tracking Tags are made of parameters and these parameters are part of the query string.
The query string is made of pairs of data, each pair is separated by an equals sign ‘=’ and each pair is separated by an ampersand.
Tagging your campaigns correctly seems basic, but it’s important to think about your reporting needs as that will affect your tagging strategy.
- If your campaigns are not properly tagged Paid Search traffic could be attributed to organic and social clicks could be tracked as referrals.
- Clicks from un-tagged emails opened in Outlook will have the campaign source "direct / (none)" because no referrer data gets passed.
- Visits from webmail providers like Gmail and Hotmail default to a secure server so won’t pass referrer data.
- A visit from mobile will often show up as direct / (none) because of issues with referrer data getting passed.
So without proper tagging, you will not be able to track the return on investment. You will be wasting time and wasting money.
Setting up campaign tagging is very simple. If you’re using Google AdWords, link your account with Google Analytics. Open the settings and switch on ‘Auto Linking’ in Google AdWords. You’re AdWords Marketing Agency should do this for you by default. For your non-Google campaigns use the Google URL Builder.
You will need to start with your landing page URL: www.example.com, then add the tracking parameters to the end of it;
Google Analytics is case sensitive so I keep everything lowercase. If the rest of your data is separated by dashes, spaces or underscores follow that same pattern.
You will need to tag each of your links with a Campaign Source, Campaign Medium, and Campaign Name. You may also want to include additional parameters like the keyword that was clicked or the creative name for campaign optimization.
The mediums that Google Analytics automatically identifies are organic, (none) and referral. They usually describe the method in which a visitor found their way to your site. Be careful not to confuse the medium with source, doing so can cause a number of problems. If you publish a link on;
Facebook set utm_medium social
Email set utm_medium email
Bing set utm_medium cpc
Doubleclick Bid Manager set utm_medium display
Vouchercloud set utm_medium affiliate
Youtube set utm_medium video
Twitter set utm_source to twitter
Facebook set utm_source to facebook
The Gazette and Herald newspaper website set utm_source to gazetteandherald
Emails are the exception because you probably don’t know the source. It could be any one of the many email platforms. If you’re using an email management platform manage your email campaigns I recommend tagging them like this.
MailChimp set utm_source to mailchimp
dotmailer set utm_source to dotmailer
Campaign Monitor set utm_source to campaign monitor
Try not to use cryptic or auto-generated names that make no sense. Neither would I recommend putting the source or medium in your campaign name.
If you have a new campaign you’re launching on Facebook, there’s no need to include Facebook in the campaign name. You’ll have it in the source and adding it to the name makes it difficult to segment a campaign that has runs across multiple channels.
If you run campaigns across Twitter, Facebook, and email you will want to compare their performance across channels. Using a consistent Campaign name they will be automatically grouped together.
A 15-minute job at the beginning of a campaign will save you hours of work un-picking data in months to come. You will easily spot what's working and what's not. Campaign tracking is a no brainer. We’re a specialist digital marketing agency based in Vancouver. If you need any help managing your AdWords account or setting up Google Analytics give us a call or email us. We're always happy to help out where we can.
Authored by Michael King
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