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Manually tagging your digital marketing campaigns is essential if you want to be able to capture and report on the value of your email, display or other digital campaigns in Google Analytics. Using campaign tagging can help you identify the most effective ways to drive more visitors to, and more conversions on, your site.
To accompany our campaign tagging for Google Anlaytics cheatsheet, we've created this blog post to help you get to grips with the whats, whens, whys and hows of campaign tagging.
Without the use of campaign tagging, campaign traffic to your website can be attributed to ‘organic’, ‘direct’ or ‘referral’ and make it very difficult to report on the success of the campaign. Tagging your campaigns allows Google Analytics to correctly attribute all of your campaign traffic to the correct source and medium, which in turn allows you to see which campaigns drive traffic and more importantly which campaigns drive conversions.
All of your marketing campaigns, such as non-Google paid search ads, banners, email, affiliate and social media campaigns require manual campaign tagging. The only exception is Google AdWords – if your AdWords and Analytics accounts are connected, you just need to activate the ‘auto tagging’ feature in AdWords. This will automatically append the tracking parameters to your campaign URLs.
It is worth pointing out at this stage that campaign tagging is not designed to be used on content on your own site. Do not use campaign tagging to track clicks on onsite promotional banners, navigation bars or homepage sliders etc. This will not only overwrite the original source of the visit but will also inflate your visit data, as it will start a new session each time a tagged item is clicked.
Essentially, campaign tagging is the process of appending tags (also known as ‘utm_ parameters’) to the end of a URL. The parameters clearly identify campaign information, which in turn allows you to see in Google Analytics which sources and, more precisely, which campaigns are driving visitors to your site.
Tagging URLs in each of your campaigns will allow you to analyse and report on the value of those campaigns.
When adding campaign parameters to a URL for a marketing campaign, you must ensure that the URL and the parameters are separated with the use of a question mark. Each set of parameters that you add must then be separated with an ampersand. It doesn’t matter which order you add your parameters to the URL, as long as you use the correct syntax.
Here is an example of a URL with UTM parameters attached:
In this example, you can see each of the parameters and their values as used in an Easter campaign via an email newsletter.
When you look in Google Analytics, you would expect to see visitors that came to your site via this link by looking in Acquisition > Campaigns.
Campaigns menu in GA
Once you have found the campaign ‘easter’, you will be able to view important metrics such as visits, bounce rate, and conversions. You can also analyse campaign performance by source or medium.
There are five campaign parameters in total, and of these only three are compulsory: utm_source, utm_medium and utm_campaign.
But don’t worry; you won’t have to do this manually. Fresh Egg recommends you use the easy-to-use Google URL builder in order to generate URLs with campaign parameters attached.
Screenshot of Google URL builder
There are a few common issues that you should be aware of when using campaign tagging parameters:
While using UTM parameters to capture information and send it to your Google Analytics account, you must ensure that you do not send any personally identifiable information (PII)) in any campaign tracking parameter. PII includes any data that can be used by Google to identify an individual. This includes names, email addresses, billing information etc.
Collecting PII in Google Analytics is a violation of Google’s terms of service, which can lead to account deletion and loss of all data.
For more help, Fresh Egg has created a campaign tagging cheat sheet as a reference to help you with all your campaign tagging requirements.
Download our FREE Google Analytics campaign tagging cheat sheet from the Fresh Egg resources section.