As visitor tracking tools go Google Analytics is fantastic.
As Website owners and admins we can use it to find out almost everything about how our visitors interact with our Websites. With it we can see which pages and links our visitors click on the most, how many new and returning visitors we are getting as time goes on, and we can see how these visitors are finding the Website such as through search engines and referral Websites. This tool is also completely free (which is a big bonus to everyone!).
However we can’t differentiate what specific things people are clicking on to find our Website.
Google Analytics by default groups all click-throughs from one medium into one category. For example if I have a Twitter account for my business and I post links to my Website from that account, I cannot discover which posts were more successful at bringing visitors to my Website than others.
Knowing what posts and mediums generate higher click-through ratings means that we can focus our attention on recreating or improving our shared links to attract more visitors to our Websites, and for businesses’, hopefully, achieving a higher conversion rate.
This is why we use Google’s URL Builder.
The URL builder is a tool that adds code to the end of existing URLs that can be used by Analytics to attain more information about the click-through.
To use this tool just Google “URL builder” and click the first link.
Or click https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033867?hl=en
The main part of this page that should draw your attention is the form. This form uses the information we give in the fields to extend the initial URL giving you a final URL to use in your marketing.
This may look slightly worrying at first so here is a break-down of what these fields do:
This is the initial page URL that you want visitors to land on. For example the home page of your Website.
An example could be: http://www.example.com/
You will inevitably put the link somewhere that you want potential visitors to see it. We therefore put in this field the name of the Website or platform where you are putting the link e.g. Twitter, Facebook or newsletter.
An example could be: twitter
To promote the link you may be using a tool, such as hootsuite, tweetdeck, email, or you may be using Social Media as a platform natively such as through Facebook and Twitter. When using a native Social Media Website I would put the type of media I am using for the link, such as directly in a status or as a link when a photo or video is clicked, etc., in this field. It is best practice to use lowercase when filling in this field.
An example could be: status
This is not important unless you are using paid keywords, in which case this is where you would put those terms.
This is where you can differentiate between various paid ads. I would not use this unless I am using paid banner advertisements on a Website.
This field should be used to include unique information such as date and key terms to associate the URL with a particular campaign. In this case I have sorted the date in terms of year, month and date, this will make it much easier to sort when using Google analytics to review the click-through rate.
An example could be: 2014.11.12-test-post
When you have filled in the required fields click the “Submit” button.
This will generate the URL for you to use for your click-throughs below the button.
Using our example we get this:
Optional: Shortening the new link
The newly generated link may now be too long to use, this can be a problem when you want to display the link directly in a Social Media post. To shorten the link we can use a free URL shortener.
To shorten a link firstly go to https://bitly.com/
You can also google “bitly” and click the first link.
There will be a field to enter the URL, do so and then click the appropriate button to shorten the URL.
From our example I got:
The new URL will function exactly like the old URL; it is simply shorter and is ready for use.
How to use Google Analytics to check the Data
Go to http://www.google.com/analytics/
You can also google “google Analytics” and click the first link.
Click the “Access Google Analytics” button and log in with the account you use to track your analytics on your Website.
If you have multiple Websites using Google Analytics, select the correct site and click “All Web Site Data”.
The next steps can vary depending how Google have updated their interface.
At the top make sure “Reporting” is selected from the top navigation.
On the navigation on the left click “Acquisition” and then “Campaigns”.
This screen will by default display a line graph of your campaign success as well as listing the “Campaign Name” as well as various data corresponding to each campaign. Having the year at the front of the name now allows us to sort easily by date through re-arrangement of the name of the campaign.
Things to keep in Mind
When entering the fields please keep the following in mind:
- Keep everything in Lowercase, (Google Analytics does treat entries such as Facebook and facebook differently)
- If spaces must be used use “-“ instead
- Be consistent in your naming across different campaigns so they fit well in the Google Analytics dashboard