You have probably already run online campaigns such as banner ads on another website, newsletters or even Facebook, AdWords, Bing or Yandex ads. But offline campaigns that you place on radio, TV or print can also be tracked and evaluated with analytics. Whatever you want to track, in many cases campaign tracking is pretty easy to set up. You can then evaluate how many users the individual campaigns brought to your website, how interested they are in your content and whether orders or other conversions have been achieved.

Ideally, you can even calculate the return on investment (ROI) of your campaigns by comparing the cost of the ads against the income. For AdWords campaigns, Analytics kindly does this job for you if maths wasn’t your favorite subject. With this knowledge, you can better plan future campaigns and eliminate campaigns with insufficient ROI from your marketing plan.

The campaign parameters and how you use them to track your campaigns

Unfortunately – with the exception of AdWords campaigns – campaigns are not tracked automatically. You need to make a few minor adjustments to make them appear in the campaign report. But don’t worry, so-called campaign tagging is easier than it looks at first glance.

Using URL parameters, you can tell Google Analytics which campaign, which source and which medium the call was made about. The way it works is that you give the target URL certain parameters that contain the campaign information. What you hand over to Google Analytics is up to you. However, it is advisable to invest a certain amount of planning in a consistent tracking concept. In this way you can name all campaigns in a comprehensible and consistent manner and distinguish them from one another.

How to use the campaign parameters

Campaign name (utm_campaign)

You can use this parameter to transfer the name of the campaign. Example: utm_campaign = action or also utm_campaign = newsletter_kw23

Campaign source (utm_source)

With this parameter you can give the source of the campaign, for example a newsletter or another website on which you place the advertisement. Example: utm_source = newsletter or utm_source = websiteA. This is the only required parameter, all others are optional.

Campaign medium (utm_medium)

With this parameter you can transmit the medium. In the case of a newsletter, for example, it can be the medium EMAIL, in the case of image ads it can be banners or leadboards. Example: utm_medium = eMail or utm_medium = banner.

Campaign term (utm_term)

If you place paid search ads and want to tag the campaigns manually, you can enter the keywords that triggered the ad at this point. With AdWords, however, you should definitely use the automatic tagging. Example: utm_term = ski boot

Campaign content (utm_content)

With the help of this parameter you can differentiate between different ads that have the same target link. For example, if you refer to the same URL in several places within a newsletter, you can

Use the Campaign URL Builder

With the Campaign URL Builder, you can make tagging your campaigns much easier.

Here you simply enter the respective parameters and the tool creates the corresponding link for you.

Important: If you’re promoting an Android app, use the URL creation tool for Google Play, for an iOS app, use the URL creation tool for campaign tracking on iOS, and in all other cases, use the URL creation for campaigns by Google Analytics.

Always remember to create your campaigns according to a uniform system and to document them well. This is the only way to quickly and easily analyze the campaigns later.

Campaign tagging tips and tricks

There are a few things to keep in mind when tagging campaigns. If you take these into account, nothing stands in the way of meaningful campaign tracking.

Campaign Tagging Concept

Campaign tracking always works particularly well when it is based on a good concept. So think in advance what you want to evaluate later. Which questions would you like to be able to answer? Which campaigns with which sources, names and media will you start? It makes sense to summarize certain elements and, for example, to name campaigns that have the same goal in the same way. It also makes sense to include the dispatch date of newsletters in the form of calendar week information in order to find out later which newsletter campaign has been particularly successful.

No unnecessary tracking

As a good online marketer, you need to keep track of your campaigns. Therefore, you should avoid unnecessary data. So only track what really helps you. If the newsletter and banner belong to the same campaign, make sure that they have the same campaign name. It doesn’t always make sense to fill all parameters. The content parameters are only useful in some cases and therefore do not always have to be used.

Consistent naming of elements

Make sure that you use upper and lower case letters and that you do not change the name in between. “Email” should not become “E-Mail”, “email”, “Email” or “eMail”. .

No tagging of Google Ads or search engine placements

You should only use campaign tagging if it is really necessary. If you use AdWords, activate the automatic tagging in AdWords. In this way, you automatically mark the campaigns and have all the information about the campaign available in AdWords. Also, there is no point in tagging search results or links from external websites in any way. Google Analytics automatically detects where the traffic is coming from and assigns it to the appropriate source.

No tagging of internal links

If you want to track internal links, such as navigation elements, banners or text links, do not use campaign tracking. The events in Analytics are a far better choice here. If you tag the internal links with campaign parameters, these will overwrite the original referrer. Let’s assume you are promoting a sales campaign via AdWords and tag the individual internal links that refer to the landing pages of the campaign with campaign parameters. In this case, this new campaign data will overwrite the original AdWords data. A meaningful evaluation is therefore no longer possible.

Create a campaign plan

Due to the various possibilities of campaign tagging, it is practically impossible to keep all parameters in mind. So create a written plan so that you can create systematic and consistent tracking. For example, you can create an Excel spreadsheet in which you can automatically link the parameters to the target URL. This makes the workload much easier and helps you both to name the campaigns sensibly and to keep track of them.

Evaluation of the campaign tracking

With the evaluation options in Google Analytics, you can answer a wide variety of questions about your campaigns. For example:

  • Which campaign is generating the most sales?
  • Which campaign media work better?
  • Which actions brought the most traffic (the best length of stay, the best conversion rate, etc.) and in which type of campaign should you continue to invest?
  • Which newsletter was the most successful? Which links in it got the most clicks?
  • Which social media posts generated the most traffic (most pages per session, best conversion rates)?
  • Which ads are the most successful?

Campaign tracking is only successful if you can then carry out meaningful evaluations that help you to make better business decisions. Campaign evaluations show you which campaigns have generated a particularly high turnover and which campaigns have not brought qualified traffic. In this way you can avoid investing your budget and resources in campaigns that do not have a positive enough impact on the company’s success.

You can use the “Campaigns” report to check and possibly reallocate budgets, to prioritize the campaigns that are running successfully and also to bring interested visitors to your site who may even tend to complete orders.

The campaign overview provides you with information about the number of visits, the proportion of new visits, bounce rates, pages per visit and conversions of all campaigns, including AdWords campaigns. This way you can quickly classify which campaigns work particularly well and which don’t. With the filter function of the report, you can of course search for specific campaigns as usual.

If you are dealing with this report for the first time, take your time and sort it according to the various aspects. Which campaign brings the most conversions, which the most visits, and which campaign sends the most interested visits to the page? Work as intensively as possible with the “campaign” report. You will find the answers you are looking for faster and faster.

How can I track offline campaigns with Analytics?

In contrast to the online campaigns mentioned so far, you cannot use detailed tagged links in offline media such as print, TV or radio. Who would remember a URL like meineite.de/?utm _source = Offline & utm _medium = TV & utm_content = Spot1 & utm_campaign = TV_ Flight_Q3_2017 during a TV commercial and then enter it in the browser? Of course nobody. Therefore, with offline campaigns, you have to dig a little deeper into your bag of tricks to be able to track the campaigns.

Specific destination urls

Let’s say you want to measure how well your print ads are performing. Understandably, however, you don’t want to add long campaign parameters to the target links, as users won’t enter them anyway. In order to be able to measure the success of the campaign as well as possible, it is advisable to create a short URL that is only used for this purpose. This way you can be sure that the users who visit this URL directly have very likely seen your ad. example.de/print would be a possible target URL. Unless the page is otherwise linked within the website, the probability that only users who have seen the ad will access this URL is very high.

The URL is also easy to remember. The user knows your domain and can probably remember the newspaper’s abbreviation well. However, make sure that the URL is communicated for this purpose only, is not spread across other channels or is linked within the website. This would significantly impair the informative value of the evaluation.

Domain forwarding

Another way to evaluate the reach of offline campaigns is with domains that forward. To do this, you communicate a domain name in your campaign that belongs to you, but which does not correspond to your regular domain. When users visit this page, they are automatically redirected to the actual landing page. If you now add campaign parameters to the target of the redirects, you can evaluate very precisely how many people have accessed your website after the advertisement. It is important that the domains used cannot be reached in any other way, for example via search engines. So here you should use the “noindex” function. With the entry “noindex” in the meta tags, a search engine robot is informed that the visited page should not be included in the index.

Redirects

The URL redirect variant is a little less time-consuming, as you do not have to own or maintain any other domains. All you need is a URL that you do not otherwise use and that redirects to a URL with campaign parameters. This alternative is similar to the Specific Destination URLs, but here the URLs are forwarded to the normal product pages or special landing pages to which campaign parameters are added.

Discount codes

Another way to track offline campaigns is to use certain discount codes. Although you cannot use direct campaign analysis in this way, Google Analytics offers you other options for meaningful analysis of this data.

The “Order Voucher” report in the Advanced E-Commerce Tracking enables you to record sales, transactions and the average order value in relation to partner websites that direct customers to your website.

QR codes

Offline campaigns can also be tracked using QR codes. For QR codes you simply enter a campaign URL. Anyone who calls the code will be automatically redirected to this landing page.

Abbreviated URLs

URL shortening services like bitly or goo.gl are particularly good for social media. If you don’t want to post long URLs on Facebook, shortened URLs are a very good alternative. To do this, you add the appropriate campaign parameters to your target page and then shorten the URL.

Bonus tip: real-time tracking

If you have no way or simply forgot to track your offline campaigns, you still have the real-time report in Google Analytics. This is especially helpful if you are doing TV commercials and know exactly when these spots will be running.

Use real-time tracking to see whether direct hits or hits via organic search or AdWords are increasing at the time the TV spot is broadcast. If many users see your spot and then call up the website – via whatever channel – it shows that your advertising has reached the users.

You can also use the hourly evaluation in the overview to check at a later point in time whether there was an increase in visitors at the time of broadcast. Of course, the method is not 100% accurate, but you still get at least an insight into the reach of your campaigns.

So you can see that offline campaigns can also be tracked without much effort. Always try to keep track of the ongoing campaigns and to name them meaningfully so that the subsequent evaluations in Google Analytics can be designed as easily as possible.

But before you use your campaign links, you should remember to test them beforehand. A campaign that is well set up but where the campaign parameters or landing pages don’t work is just very annoying.

Conclusion

Sensible and systematic campaign tracking is one of the characteristics of professional and successful online marketers. So use the possibilities that analytics offers you and take your marketing to the next level.