You can’t growth hack if you can’t track.

Campaigns cost time and money, and ineffective campaigns are a waste of both.

Building a campaign URL to track engagement on Google Analytics is an essential part of growth hacking because it enables marketers to determine the success of any campaign.

In this guide, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide to building a campaign URL to checking performance on the Analytics platform.

Table of Contents

Why Tracking is Essential to Hacking

Proper campaign tracking enables growth hackers to have a proper feedback system for the material that they put online. It allows teams to discover which campaigns work and which don’t, enabling them to reallocate resources effectively.

Here’s what.

Unless you create custom tracking URLs, Google Analytics is going to combine all these statistics into the direct traffic category on its platform.

If you’re trying to measure the best medium to put your campaign in or the best type of copy that’s working well for your conversions, then assigning different campaign URLs is the only way to go for you.

You can even track the performance of multiple links in an email by building campaign URLs. This allows you to properly tweak even individual elements on a piece of media.

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Running an ad campaign, allowing a non-performing post to stay on your profile, or keeping a non-converting landing page is costly to your marketing budget. It does nothing to bring in sales, nor does it resonate with your audience.

You can track a lot of things using Google Analytics and its campaign URL builder.

  • Landing pages
  • Blog pages
  • Any other web properties
  • Different types of links on an email – if they are linking to a website that you are actively managing.

A/B tests or split-testing is also dependent on proper tracking to determine which of two – or more – pieces of content are getting more traction. For many growth hackers, it’s an opportunity to tweak and/or remove campaigns in real-time. This ability has led to more marketing campaigns to be leaner, flexible, and efficient in their use of resources.

What is the Campaign URL Builder

The Campaign URL Builder allows you to build custom URLs for all of your marketing campaigns. It attaches UTM parameters to the end of your URLs so that you can track using the Google Analytics platform.

This means that every time a user clicks on the custom URL, you can automatically track their interaction and engagement with it, just as you would track a normal page on Google Analytics.

You can check out important details such as where the traffic is coming from i.e., social, organic, direct, etc.

Understanding the data being generated every time someone clicks on your custom URL does require a short background in Google Analytics, but given Google Analytics has a friendly GUI, you can easily grab the statistics that you need.

Google also provides two other types of campaign URL builders. They have one for apps on the Google Play Store and separate on for the Apple App Store. These two require using their two other URL builders.

This option is pretty neat if you’re also tracking marketing being done on your apps, either on iOS or Android.

Creating a Campaign URL

So say you have a swanky new landing page that you want to market using your organization’s Facebook fan page, you can easily track how much time people are spending on it by following these quick and easy steps.  

Make your way to the Google Analytics Demos & Tools dashboard and choose Campaign URL Builder.

It will now take you to a page where you can create your custom URL by filling out four required and two optional fields.

  • Website URL – this is the website URL that you will be using.
  • Campaign Source – the campaign source identifies what is sending traffic to the web property, e.g., Google. It’s considered to be the referrer.
  • Campaign Medium – is the medium on which the media is on, e.g., banner.
  • Campaign Name – the name that you have assigned to the campaign.
  • Campaign Term (Optional Field) – this is useful if you’re using paid keywords; it keeps track of what keywords each campaign is tracking. However, you don’t necessarily have to fill this up if you’re not too iffy about it.
  • Campaign Content (Optional Field) – this is used to identify similar pieces of content and links in a campaign that you want to track. If you’re doing split testing, this is a quick way to determine which link you’re trying to track. Two different links or elements can be differentiated once you fill this field out.

Once you fill out these fields, the application will automatically general the custom URL that you can use, and you can now start tracking!

As usual, there are important notes to consider:

  • You can manually set up a tracking link, just put in the parameters after a question mark after the website URL.
  • These parameters are case sensitive, so if you’re going to go about this manually, make sure you’re typing the URL tracking parameters right, or the link won’t work properly. If you change the case on just one letter, it will mean something else entirely. To make things easier, when in doubt, you should always use lowercase characters.
  • You don’t have to fill out the optional fields, and there’s a reason why they are optional. Even Google’s own documentation advises against filling stuff up for the sake of filling out fields.
  • If you are using Google Ads, there is no need for you to tag if you have the auto-tagging option enabled. However, running paid ads on other search engines that are not Google will require that you tag the URLs.
  • CPC is just for CPC, don’t use for anything else, or you run the risk of skewing your data.

Shortening the campaign URL

There is an option to convert the URL to a short link – we suggest that you do that, but this will require authorization from your end, so go ahead and click on that.

Growth hackers love short links because they are easier on the eyes and don’t look as apprehensive as longer URLs.

If you’re into other URL shorteners such as bit.ly, you can use those as well.

You can now use your shortened campaign URL and track statistics from your Google Analytics.

Alternatives to Google Analytics Demos & Tools

There are other analytics platforms that you can use to build custom tracking URLs, and you can even log into these ones in order to find out how many clicks your URL is doing – just like bit.ly.

They come from a variety of providers, and you can use them, too. For this guide, we’re using Google Analytics because it is the standard.

And, there’s more you can do with third-party tools.

There are also handy extensions that you can use to create custom campaign URLs right from the comfort of the page of your website that you’re on. These are helpful if you suddenly feel the urge to start tracking a particular page or if you want a quicker way to create a campaign URL.

Accessing Custom Campaigns on Google Analytics

Access your Google Analytics account and make your way to the type of view – usually “All Website Data.”

On the left-hand side under “Reports,” click on “Acquisition” and then “Campaigns.”

You’ll find all of your custom campaigns and their customized URLs here. Just go ahead and click on any one of the campaigns that you have decided to track.

This is where the fun analytical part starts.

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Analyzing the Data

Once you’re got the tracking parameters in, you can start analyzing the data that you have. The first step to data analysis is to set a specific time parameter.

There are different data ranges that you can use, and you can even use those ranges to compare your data with different time periods.

This means that you can even check out a long term experiment or A/B test.

A marketer can easily check out statistics on specific campaigns such as the number of new users, bounce rates, session durations, and if you have goals in place, you can check out how far you’ve gone in achieving those goals.

  • New users – are a measure of how many new eyeballs (or IPs) are checking out your link.
  • Bounce rates – are an indicator of how effective your page is at keeping people on the website. It’s a good measure to check if you’ve created enough buzz on a page to keep people looking around on your website. If they leave the page, that’s considered a bounce.
  • Session duration – is one great way to determine if people find your page interesting enough that they would spend time on it. Say you have two pages that you’re A/B testing, and one page has a longer session duration, it would make sense that you just focus your links on the page with a longer session duration. If you want to know if you’ve accidentally lead users into a boring landing page, then session duration is your guide.

However, a growth hacker shouldn’t get too bogged down with just one particular statistic because it is the combination of all of these statistics that determine the success or failure of a campaign.

Here’s why.

You still need a firm background on Google Analytics to make the most of the data that you are generating with the custom campaign URL builder.

There are also options for you to export the data that you have on the campaign or share it via email to other members of your team. Exporting data allows you to keep records of data and run it through different statistical treatments on your worksheets.

This makes split testing so much easier and allows any marketer to be more flexible in switching out campaigns and tactics as the engagement data pours into Google Analytics.

You should always check the data that you regularly have to ensure that your goals are on track. Set specific intervals for you to check on your data, especially if you are running split tests on multiple campaigns.

For campaigns that require you to be more agile with your actions, it’s advised that you check more frequently.

Here’s why it helps.

If you find out a campaign is not working properly, you can easily get rid of it and assign the resources to another one. If you’re running an experiment, you can also use this time to tweak it.

You can also determine customer behaviors from the way they interact with the landing page that you are tracking.

Takeaways

There is no substitute for tracking your campaigns.

You may be able to gather some data on Google Analytics, but it won’t be as accurate as the data you’d get if you’d spent some time creating a custom URL. Custom URLs allows you to track links on your website, no matter what medium you put them on. It allows you to be more flexible with the way you monitor your campaigns, and this is great if you want to make sure that you are doing the right thing.

Growth hackers depend on proper monitoring and tracking systems to test the effectiveness of their campaigns. It allows us to learn about customer behavior and helps us quickly deploy fixes.

This saves us a lot of time, money, and effort.

The best campaigns are built with a little creativity and a lot of tweaking.

If you haven’t started using custom campaign URLs to track your campaigns yet, then you’re missing out.

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