Tracking via URLs has been done for a long while now. Google has been utilising UTM for as long as I have been in the industry and just recently they updated this tracking to have the option of auto tagging to make things easier for the user. Auto tagging is awesome and is normally my go to way of tracking Google campaigns, but sometimes you need a little bit of extra information that you just can’t use Google Analytics for.
A great example is when you want to tack a campaign or keyword to a conversion/lead that is being submitted to a database. There are all sorts of reasons for this. Here are two example from clients I’m currently working over:
Go Switch –
Go Switch run many marketing campaigns with traffic being delivered from a number of different providers. To be able to efficiently track on our end where a lead has come from we need to use UTM code to allocate traffic as coming from a particular campaign (and thus allowing us to gauge the profitability). If we left Google to do this with Auto Tagging we would only be able to track the data as it is setup in Google Adwords, and we wouldn’t be able to track external publishers such as Adconion, Microsoft etc. So the solution for this was to have a specific campaign ID for each campaign so that we could better manage what they had delivered. And to back up the hard data we wanted to avoid using Analytics Goals, as Google Analytics isn’t ever perfectly accurate. So instead what we did was setup a hidden field within the enquiry form that allowed us to pull the campaign ID out of the URL (if it is allocated within it), which in turn submitted the campaign ID with the lead into the database. Presto the database has all the information about the lead, along with where it was from and what campaign specifically.
Healthscope Australia –
Healthscope Australia has been a really interesting client to manage. One of the core issues is that the leads they receive are of varying quality. Therefore what we wanted to do is identify what was driving these leads. Having previously pulled the Campaign ID in the Go Switch campaign we looked at ways of tracking the keyword that was sending traffic. This would have been a rather arduous process to manually tag each keyword with it’s own individual URL, so instead we sought out a dynamic function that pulled the keyword from within the Adwords account. This provided us with a greater idea of what keywords were driving relevant and irrelevant keywords so that we were then able to either pause them or negative terms surrounding the irrelevant lead.
Rather than outlining what we did specifically in the above individual cases with the URL tracking I’m instead going to outline the methods we can use to track it.
1) Static IDs
Google provides a great UTM builder at the following: http://support.google.com/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1033867 but this is a rather manual process, especially if you want to track parameters down to a very specific level i.e. creative or keyword. S
2) Dynamic IDs
Whist static IDs work well, they are also very arduous to implement, and any changes to the account mean you also need to update the UTM. Therefore dynamic IDs might be the go. Dynamic parameters will automatically insert the relevant information into the ID; all of these dynamic parameters for Google and their uses can be found at: http://support.google.com/adwords/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2375447.
But what if you are also running a campaign on Yahoo and Baidu? Don’t worry they also have you covered.
Yahoo campaigns use OVKEY and OVRAW parameters to dynamically pull the information. The following is a great guide to Yahoo tracking. http://www.web1marketing.com/blog/index.php/archives/using-yahoo-tracking-parameters-ovkey-and-ovraw/.
Baidu also has a similar set of parameters and that can be found here: http://apihome.baidu.com/index.php?module=front&controller=news&action=newsdetail&nid=3&ntype=news&lang=en&castk=LTE%3D.
Think carefully about how any why you need to track a campaign before you start playing around with all of this. For the average user auto tagging and top level UTM will cover all your needs. But if you need more advanced levels of tracking try out the above methods. Don’t forget if you get stuck you can always ask for help!