As marketers, you know analytics are vital to measuring your success, as they help to identify where things may be going well, and not so well, and can ultimately steer you in the right direction to enhance your customer experience. But when measuring traffic to your website from various marketing activities like email, are you accurately and efficiently using the resources available to you?
I’m sure you’re either using or have heard of Google Analytics (now a part of Google Marketing Platform) – a popular tool, if not the most popular analytics tool for marketers to track traffic to and on their websites. Unfortunately, many marketers who are using Google Analytics lack a deep understanding of how it works and just how powerful a tool it can be. Incorporating correct UTM tracking parameters into your Google Analytics setup is vital to having an accurate tracking program in place.
In this post I outline what UTM tracking parameters are, what it means to have a taxonomy in place to track website traffic across multiple platforms, and how to best use it in your email marketing campaigns, such as those sent through StoneShot.
What is Google UTM tracking
Marketers spend a lot of time perfecting their company website, as it is essentially the digital face of their brand.
To understand your users better, it is crucial to know how they land on your site, and that is where parameters come in.
Google’s UTM tracking parameters are text strings that can be added to the end of a URL to allow you to keep tabs on what’s generating traffic to your website – is it that latest Linkedin post? Or perhaps a link in a webinar you recently hosted… or maybe it was the email campaign you recently sent out to prospects.
How Google Analytics Tracks Where Visitors Are Coming From
You can set up these parameters either directly in StoneShot (if you’re tracking email) or via Google’s Campaign URL Builder. Depending on how granular you would like to get with your tracking, you will have the option to add 5 categories, which include: campaign source, medium, name, term, and content. These will vary depending on what the content is you would like to track, and where it is posted. The campaign parameters group the various activities from different channels together so that you can easily view them in Google Analytics. By having a consistent naming convention in place, you will be able to compare different campaigns against each other, e.g. the performance of blog posts, or the promotion of funds of a specific asset class.
Here’s a guideline for filling in the parameters:
- Campaign Source – the source tracks exactly where the traffic came from, for example a specific website (google) or social channel such (Twitter).
- Campaign Medium – the medium refers to how the traffic gets to your site – is it through an email, a referral link, social media, a display ad, or a QR code? It’s important to know which of your channels is most successful in generating traffic and the information entered will be most crucial.
- Campaign Name – this tracks which campaign generated the traffic. This comes in handy if you for example have two fund promotions running at the same time and want to see how they compare against each other.
- Campaign Term and Campaign Content – The aforementioned values are required, however GA supports two additional ones: campaign term and campaign content. These are handy tools to differentiate further between links. The former is mostly meant to be used for paid keywords for PPC campaigns while the latter can be used to keep track of two versions of a display ad, or when split testing. The ad would have the same source, medium and campaign parameters, but the additional parameter will make the difference.
By adding parameters to your URLs linking from emails, ads or any other user facing communications such as paid social media, you can track and view exactly where traffic to your website, microsite, or online property, comes from. This enables you to measure which campaigns perform well, and which might need improvement.
UTM for Email
As mentioned, UTM tracking is great for tracking the links you place within an email – especially if you have multiple calls to action. You can track which link generated the most clicks, depending on how you set up your parameters.
If you are currently a StoneShot user, you can use UTM tracking for your email campaigns, directly from the app – instead of externally setting up the tracking links via Google’s campaign builder, and then placing them in your emails. The default is set to ‘source=stoneshot’ and ‘medium=email’ so that you can attribute your email campaigns sent through StoneShot easily in your Google Analytics campaign overview. The default options can of course be changed, if you prefer to add different parameters based on your own taxonomy.
If you don’t currently use an email marketing platform that directly integrates with Google Analytics, as mentioned before, you can use Google’s own url builder to add your parameters to URLs.
How to Optimise Your Tracking
You will get the most out of using UTM parameters when they are consistent across campaigns and communications. Using a pre-defined parameter taxonomy is advisable so that traffic can be easily attributed and grouped. This allows for easier and more accurate reporting.
A helpful tip for keeping everything consistent is to list the different channels and mediums you use to generate traffic, along with the different types of content you share. This will help in forming a matrix that you can use as a rule of thumb.
Creating a matrix to keep an overview is key, there are no set rules from Google for what to name the parameters – use what works best for your company, and note that UTM parameters are case sensitive, so each time they are entered, they’ll need to be entered the same way.
Tip: Keep everything lower case to make setting them up easier.
You now have an overview how to generate UTM parameters and how to create a tagging structure. Once you have one implemented, Google Analytics will show you the generated traffic in your ‘Campaign Overview,’ allowing you to analyse every single visit to your site. For full effect, choose ‘All Campaigns’ in the Acquisition tab and add ‘Source/Medium’ as your secondary dimension.
By adding your parameters right within the StoneShot platform before launching emails you can ensure your links are tracked for use in Google Analytics. There isn’t any need to visit a third-party website to manually create your urls – StoneShot adds the parameters automatically to any links within your email, saving you time and ensuring full visibility in Google Analytics.
Should you have any questions about how to create your naming and tagging convention please do not hesitate to contact us. Our Client Services team is happy to advise on the best strategy for your campaigns, no matter whether they’re related to email, or your holistic digital marketing strategy.