Tracking the results of your marketing campaigns is incomplete without link tagging. Link tagging lets Google Analytics associate web traffic and conversions with the correct traffic sources and marketing campaigns. In this blog post we’ll cover when and how to tag links to more effectively measure returns on your marketing campaigns.
So, what is a tagged link? Even if you haven’t tagged a link before, you’ve seen one. It looks something like this:
Each portion of the link above passes information to Google Analytics about the specifics of where your visitors are coming from. Let’s dig into it further.
There are five parameters of a tagged link:
The medium is the marketing channel used for each specific campaign.
Examples of channels include: email, banner ads, paid search, affiliate and online ads.
The source differentiates the specific sites within your marketing channel.
For example, if you are using Yahoo! for your PPC ads, you would list “Yahoo” as the source. Likewise, with an affiliate link, you would separately list all the various sites where your affiliate link is located.
Term is used specifically for paid search campaigns outside of Google AdWords and identifies the keywords associated with the marketing campaign.
For example, an ad that appears for the keyword ‘social media Boston’ would have the associated term ‘social-media-Boston’, while ‘social media packages’ would have the term ‘social-media-packages’, and so on.
If you use both Google AdWords for PPC campaigns and Google Analytics for web analytics, there is no need to tag links; the tools communicate all this information to each other automatically.
Content is used to differentiate incoming traffic that shares the same medium, source and possibly term.
For example, while testing two Yahoo! paid search ads for the same keyword, you might list one content parameter as “A” and the other as “B”. Or, if you have identical links placed in two separate locations in your e-mail newsletter, you might name one content parameter “top-link” and the other “left-side-link”.
Campaign is used to tag all incoming traffic that revolves around the same campaign, even when it’s coming from varied sources and channels.
For example, if a company is running a July 4th campaign and has sent out email newsletters, initiated paid search and placed banners ads all to promote their limited edition star-spangled t-shirts, they would tag all this incoming traffic with the campaign parameter “4July2012″, or something similar.
Upon viewing Google Analytics data, campaign data from various sources and channels will be viewable in one place – this way you are able to compare campaign performance data as a whole and versus other campaigns.
For a fool-proof way to generate a tagged link, use this URL Builder from Google Analytics. Here is a screenshot of the 3-step process:
To create usable data, make sure to establish a naming convention for all the various parameters. If you follow a consistent set of rules, you will be able to group and view your traffic in a meaningful way.
Where should you use tagged links?
Use tagged links in these places:
- e-mail newsletters
- paid search
- affiliate links
- banner ads
- embedded links in press releases
You either can’t or don’t need to use tagged links here:
- organic search
- Google AdWords (while using Google Analytics)
- social media
Using tagged links with your marketing campaigns gives Google Analytics correctly classified, usable data. With meaningful data, you’ll be able to match traffic sources to results and continuously improve your marketing campaigns.
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