Get more data in your Google GA4 Analytics by harnessing the use of tracking links
Also known as Google Campaign URLs, these can be used anywhere and will tell you if your marketing strategy is working, and where your website visitors are coming from.
Watch the video tutorial
Learn more by watching the tutorial below or read the full transcript, underneath.
Welcome. Today I’m going to talk to you about harnessing tracking links to unleash the power of data.
Firstly. Who am I? I’m Suzi Brown, web developer and owner of the Smart Bear.
The Smart Bear is in fact ten years old as of this month. I do web design, web development and maintenance, search engine optimisation, and I also do small business mentoring and training.
So I have some questions for you before we begin.
Who has a website here?
Hopefully some of you will be putting your hands up.
Who has a Google Analytics account?
I’m suspecting not as many people will be putting their hands up for those who do have an account
Who actually looks at the data?
..and I think probably very few people will be putting their hands up at this point.
Who uses social media?
I’m expecting quite a few of you to be using social media whether you’ve got a website or not.
And do you send traffic back to your website via social media?
So that could be blog post links, it could be contact page links, or it could be via links using something like Link Tree.
Today I’m going to show you a not so secret technique to get more useful data in your Google Analytics account.
What are tracking links?
So you’ve probably seen these before, you might have seen them on Facebook. When you’re clicking a link and it takes you somewhere or you’re copying a link, it will add question marks, FB and then a load of gobbledigoup afterwards.
You might have seen them on newsletters. They usually start with the link and then have a question mark followed by UTM.
You may have seen it on anything really.
And these are what traffic tracking links are.
They’re essentially a custom link that tracks whatever you want it to track in your analytics.
So it’s really useful for social media newsletter links, but you can also use it on printed items as well.
If you want to know that you’ve done a leaflet drop and you want to know how many people from that leaflet drop are coming to your website following the drop.
So it helps you to know which is working for you in your marketing.
Here’s an example of some tracking links.
This is an FB short link so that would track through.
And this is also a tracking link here that I’ve created.
You can see the UTM source there in the link itself.
And here it is in my analytics.
It’s under Report Snapshot on the new version of Google Analytics and a then by session campaign.
And there is Biolinks, and I’ve also got blog links in there as well.
And this is a link I’ve created on the Biolinks page.
So what I should have done is put Biolinks underscore blog links and then I would know that they was from that page.
Let’s have a go at creating one together.
So if you want to find this link, just put campaign URL builder into Google and it will come up for you and this is what you’re looking for, something like this.
It has got other things in here as well and you can choose where you put in your campaign.
So if you haven’t switched over to the new Google Analytics yet, which is GA4, then I would suggest firstly doing that because the old system, UA Universal Analytics will be stopping on the 1 July so it’s not far now before it stops.
If you are still on that, you can just swap to UA but like I say, I personally would do it on the, on the GA4 because it’s going to stop working.
Let’s just grab a link that we want to share out.
I want to track who’s coming to this link.
You can put something in here if you want.
So if this is your first one, you might just want to put zero zero one.
And you might want to create a spreadsheet with all the links and the campaign IDs and all this information in, so you can keep track of where they are and not forget which one refers to which link.
The next thing you want to put in is where is it going, is it going on a Google ad, is it going on to a newsletter, is it going on to social media posts or is it onto that biolinks page that I said? So I will put biolinks page.
I don’t know if you have to put spaces in but I would say most of the time you don’t want spaces in so either don’t put spaces in or you can put underscore in instead of a space.
The next box is campaign medium so this is where it’s going. So if it was a social media post, you’d put post, if it was a newsletter you’d put email.
So just some reference as to what kind of medium that you’re sending this link out on.
So it could be that you’ve put it as a leaflet or an ad and you could put that in there.
I am just going to put I’m just going to put link in there because it is just a link that I’m doing.
Then campaign name.
You can call this whatever you want to call it, but it has to be something that’s relevant to you.
And as I said with that other one, I’m going to call it – you don’t need to put capitals in there, biolinks – I should have done that on the other link.
Now campaign term, if you are doing it for ads and you want to associate the keywords to
it that you’re using in the ads, you could put them in here, but you don’t need to.
You can leave these two boxes blank if you want.
The campaign content would be to differentiate the ads if you were using ads but again, we don’t need to fill that in because we’re not doing ads on this occasion.
So here is the link that it’s given us.
So you can just copy that, you can shorten it if you want to.
If you do this you have to use bitly, so you have to have a Bitly account it’s useful to have and I would suggest doing it because then not only can you use a shortened link, so it doesn’t look quite as long bulky, but you can also provide some kind of analytics as well- then you’ve got additional analytics in Bitly.
So if I was going to use that link, this is my links page that I use my Bio.
This is my links page that I use in my bio links.
So I can create a button and put the link that I’ve just copied this one onto this page. I think some of them have them on, but I can’t remember which ones that one has one on.
If you look down at the bottom of the screen, you’ll be able to see the tracking bit at the end and that one has it on as well.
And that is the one that’s appearing in my analytics.
So that’s the one I should change to this new one that I’ve just created that gives me a bit more specific information as to where that link is coming from.
And that is as easy as it takes to set up a campaign URL link.
And you could use these all over the place, you could have a different one.
So for example, if you were doing a social media post on all your platforms to tell everybody that it was a seasonal sale, you could make a tracking link for every single social media link, put those different links on your social media posts, and then in your analytics you can see which is working best. And it will also tell you if any of those convert into a set into a sale or someone gets in touch with you, it will tell you that information.
So it’s a really useful tool that’s offered for free from Google.
If you do need some help with anything, these are the things I can help with.
I can install the new GA4 analytics on your website and I can also help you set that up if you’re struggling with that.
I can help you set custom events.
If you don’t know what custom events are, get in touch if you think you need them.
Basically it’s a way of tracking activity on your website. So it could be that you want to track how many views a certain video has, or something to do with lead magnets or even just how many contact form submissions you have and you want to be able to track it from where it’s coming from, things like that.
These are called custom events and I can set those up for you.
I can help you set up those custom links if you want me to.
I can explain your analytics data to you on a Power hour training/mentoring call.
And I can also help you set up, remarketing and integrate any other Google tools that you want to use on there, like Google Ads, for example.
And if you don’t already know, here’s my website, my Instagram link, and my Facebook link. I’m more active on LinkedIn and Instagram, but I am still available on Facebook if that’s the preferred platform for you.
Great. I hope you start using those tracking links and find it useful.