Digipropolis Blog: Marketing Pros & Their Cons

Social Media Tracking with Google URL Builder

How to Track Social Media Campaigns through Google Analytics

This week I spent some time thinking about Social Media Analytics outside of social media monitoring tools such as Social Mention and HootSuite. For marketing communications staffs, there’s no doubt that the number of Re-Tweets, Followers, and comments are critically important metrics to measure social media campaigns. But for upper management, these metrics may seem like empty calories. What may be more interesting to these people is the notion that social media campaigns have the capacity to drive direct website visits, where visitors can be exposed to the brand’s full advertising message, make a purchase, request more information, watch a video, and view the product line.

Where's-the-BeefAfter an inspiring presentation about social media success, the next question might be: “So, how many website inquiries are we getting from all this? How many people are going to our web store?” 

For upper management, and for those of us who want to know, Google has a tool developed especially for tracking individual campaigns through Google Analytics: Google URL Builder.

 What is Google URL Builder?

Google URL Builder is a free tool that allows you to track highly specific traffic to your website. The primary use of tracking visitors to a website with URL Builder is to follow visitors to your website from a promotional campaign that uses a URL hyperlink such as an emailing, Facebook note or discussion post, or Twitter tweet. When a recipient clicks on the URL, they are being tracked by virtue of a tiny piece of Javascript code that is appended to the end of the URL.  

 How Do You Use Google URL Builder?

It is embarrassingly easy to use. For a quick start, you can simply fill in the blanks in this form at the Google Analytics Help web site. Below is a screen shot of a form I filled in using this blog post as my Website URL. I came up with a pretend scenario in which I am conducting an ongoing Campaign to promote my blog as a resource for people interested in Social Media.

URL_Builder_ScreenFor this pretend campaign event, I would be tweeting out a message to get people to visit my blog. So, I used Twitter as my Campaign Source, a tweet as my medium , the words “social media” as my campaign term, the term “URL Builder” to differentiate this message from any other message I might be running, and finally I give my entire campaign a nickname “Blog URL Builder.”

Visibility in Google Analytics

The results of your Google URL tracked campaign will now be available as a unique “Traffic Source” in your Google Analytics website report. This is a great advantage because, while “Twitter” or “Facebook” might already be Traffic Sources for you, your trackable campaign will give you insight into the particular Twitter or Facebook campaign you’re running.

google-analyticsFor example, you might want to track clicks on a particular hyperlink you shared on Twitter (in the scenario above, I am tracking a particular blog post that I’m promoting on Twitter). A URL builder with trackable code will segregate visits from my specific blog post campaign from total visits from Twitter.

Try Google URL Builder, and enjoy tracking your social media campaigns AND reporting on your measurable success to upper management!

Read More About Google URL Builder:

George, T. (November 19, 2010). Google URL Builder – Deeper Tracking for Your Analytics. [Technology in the Arts Blog]. Retrieved February 12, 2011, from http://www.technologyinthearts.com/?p=1576

Ran. (July 10, 2009) 4 Tips for Using Google URL Builder with Google Analytics. [Conversion Counts Blog]. Retrieved February 12, 2011, from http://www.conversioncounts.com/blog/analytics/4-tips-for-using-google-url-builder-with-google-analytics/


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