Measuring the effectiveness of your off-site campaigns in Google Analytics

This article is about a common question I get asked by clients.

Let’s say as part of your SEO efforts you have planned an off-site optimisation campaign, you are either placing advertising banners across different websites; you are guest blogging for some other sites; sending a monthly newsletter; posting daily on social media.

But how do you know how much traffic your site is obtaining from these efforts and how many conversions are these leading to?

You might notice the difference your campaigns are making to your traffic, you can see in your analytics how the number of visits is having a boost but you want to know in detail what the source is of this traffic.

If you are using Google Analytics, there is a simple way to do it and it is by using campaign parameters on your links.

Unless you tag your links with campaign parameters, the traffic generated from your off-site campaigns will be recorded by Google Analytics as ‘Direct’ or ‘Referral’ traffic.

What are campaign parameters?

These are a set of ‘labels’ added on the links placed in third party websites that will allow Google Analytics track the number of clicks generated from these links.

They are

  • Campaign Source (utm_source)
  • Campaign Medium (utm_medium)
  • Campaign Term (utm_term)
  • Campaign Content (utm_content)
  • Campaign Name (utm_campaign)

 

An example of campaign parameters

Here is an example of an URL with campaign parameters, which you have included in a blog written for a website called WXYZ.com (using utm_source=blogWXYZ), to gain referrals (utm_medium=referral) and you are naming your campaign Season 1 (utm_campaign=season1).

So this is how your link would look:

www.examplewebsite.com/?utm_source=blog1&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=season1&

As you can see in the example, in this case we are not using all the parameters listed above. The only parameters that are mandatory are Source, Medium and Name. Term and Content are optional.

In your analytics reports you will be able to see the traffic generated by each campaign in Traffic Sources/Sources/Campaigns, as in the screengrab here:

fig1

It’s not as complicated as it looks. Is it?

It is not. You can easily tag your urls using Google’s URL builder available here, as you can see in the screengrab below:

sandra image 2

You just enter the name of your own website and the names of the various medium and source of the medium and it created the URL for you.

Once you have generated your tagged URLs you can just copy and paste them.

Or you could shorten your links

As an alternative option you can shorten your links, using tools such as

Bit.ly

goo.gl

image3 (2)

This option comes in handy especially for social media where you might have a limited number of characters for your posts or just to make your URLs look simpler and cleaner.

Written by

Sandra is an senior SEO consultant. She started her career in digital media in 2002 working in the development of web, multimedia and e-learning projects with one of the pioneer agencies in this field in South America. With a background in copywriting, usability, design and management of online marketing campaigns, Sandra has focused her career in SEO and is a Google Analytics Qualified individual.

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