Why should you tag your campaigns for Google Analytics?

Set up campaign tagging in Google Analytics

Google Analytics custom campaign tracking is essential for measuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Let’s say you were promoting your new ebook across social media and emails, how would you know which social post or email blast was the most effective?

That’s where Google campaign parameters come in (also referred to as UTM). You simply add them to your URLs, which are then used in your web-based, email or ad promotions. When someone clicks on them, the custom information linked to these URLs via parameters is sent to your Google Analytics reports.

If you don’t tell Google the specifics of your campaigns, then they will be rolled into existing buckets without the ability to identify them. This most commonly happens with emails and social posts that by default get classified as referrals.

why you should tag your campaigns in google analytics

But once you start tagging your campaigns, you will see those social initiatives and email newsletters separated by campaign names and other information you provided.

Tagged up links can also be used in email signatures, listings on other sites and social media profiles.

By using campaign tagging you will understand better which URLs have been most effective in attracting users to your site or content, for example you’ll see which:

  • Email newsletter brought you the most traffic
  • Ad was best at bringing you converting visitors
  • Facebook post engaged the most users

If you have goals set up, then you will also see how visitors from individual campaigns convert on your website.

Using custom campaign data in reports

You can access custom campaign data in Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns report, where you will see your various campaigns based on the parameters used in URLs.

You can also switch between viewing your campaigns by source and medium tags that you’ve used.

Another report you can use is the Assisted Conversions (under Conversion > Multi-Channel Funnels) that summarises how your channels, or campaigns, contribute to your conversions.

To see the campaigns, you need to click on ‘Other’, find ‘Campaign’ and select it.

access campaigns data in assisted conversions report

Now you will see data related to your campaigns only.

campaigns data in assisted conversions report in google analytics

Check Google’s guidance on understanding the Assisted Conversions report.

Be consistent

Consistency is very important in campaign tagging so make sure that the parameters you use in your campaigns are exact.

For example, if you use email, Email and E-mail, Google Analytics will record them as three different mediums in your reports.

So, set your naming conventions and if you have a bigger team, then agree on what they are and make sure everyone is aware of them.

What tags can you use in your campaigns?

There are five types of information you can pass on with the tags/URLs.

Three of them should always be used:

Campaign source (utm_source) – identifies where the traffic comes from, eg newsletter, google.

Campaign medium (utm_medium) – advertising or marketing medium, eg cpc, email.

Campaign name (utm_campaign) – what the campaign is called whether it’s a promo code or specific promotion, eg winter sale.

The other two, whilst not required by Google, are useful for tracking additional information:

Campaign term (utm_term) – identifies paid search keywords if you’re manually tagging your paid keyword campaigns, eg red shoes.

Campaign content (utm_content) – helps differentiate between same type of content or links, useful when doing AB testing or using multiple calls to action, eg logo or text link.

How to tag your campaigns?

It’s easier than you might think. You can do it manually if you know how, but the available URL builder tools online make it super simple to tag your links correctly.

But if you’re using Adwords or Bing then you can enable auto-tagging so you don’t have to worry about tagging them.

For websites use the Google URL builder tool to append URL parameters.

google url builder tool for custom campaign tracking

For Android, use the Google Play URL builder tool to append URL parameters. You also must have Google Play Campaign Attribution set up in your Android SDK.

For iOS, use the iOS Campaign Tracking URL Builder to append URL parameters. You must use Google Analytics iOS SDK v3 or higher for this to work.

For manual tagging, you need to enter a question mark after the URL and before adding your parameters. Then pair up the parameters with their values, eg utm_source=newsletter, and separate campaign parameters with an ampersand. After the question mark, parameters can be placed in any order.

You’ll end up with a link that’ll look something like this: http://www.littledata.io/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=welcome, which is ready for use in your promo activities.

Auto-tag your campaigns

To make campaign tracking and tagging simpler, we have created a tool in Google Sheets that automatically creates a tagged up link. You’ll need to fill the values for parameters and the formula will do the rest for you. To use it, you’ll need to make a copy to store in your own Drive (via File option).

Get campaign tracking sheet with URL builder


Got questions? Comment below or get in touch!

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