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Google Analytics campaign tracking and 301s

Monday, February 7th, 2011 by Emily Mace tagged , ,

RedirectOver the last few months I’ve blogged a couple of times about Google Analytics campaign tracking code which can be useful when reporting on both the success of your various marketing campaigns and separating this traffic from your other traffic sources to better track what marketing activities are driving traffic to your site and when.

One area where this Campaign tracking code can be useful is to help you track the number of people who are following a redirect 301 link to your website.

There are a number of instances where a 301 might be needed and that it would be useful to be able to track the traffic which is coming to your site from that redirect.

TV or Newspaper marketing campaigns with a promoted URL which goes through to a sub page of your website.  Obviously when you do this you wouldn’t expect your customers to remember the URL www.yoursite.co.uk/products/productID=1234 so you could consider having a shorter, more memorable URL for your advertising which is more likely to be remembered by people who have seen your advert, such as www.yoursite.co.uk/tv or www.yoursite.co.uk/offer.  Using the Google URL builder to create a tracking code for Google Analytics in this case will allow you to track how many people have visited your site from this offline advertising.

This could also be used if you have a long URL and want to promote a shorter URL to your visitors – so that instead of your business cards having www.your-site-with-a-long-domain.co.uk as the URL you could promote www.yoursite.co.uk and set the domain redirect for this to include campaign tracking so that you can track how many people are visiting the shortened version of your website.

How to set up the tracking URL

To do this go to the URL builder and create a URL for the final page which users will hit once the redirect has processed.  Add the campaign medium and source to the form, such as the name of the TV ad, and create the final URL.  Once you have this final URL create a redirect from the advertised URL (www.yoursite.co.uk/tv) to the final URL with the campaign tracking code on it (www.yoursite.co.uk/products/productID=1234?utm_source=tv-advert&utm_medium=Feb-2011&utm_campaign=Feb-Special-TV-Offer). This will then redirect your short advert friendly URL to the page you want to promote and record in your Analytics that your TV advert has generated a visit to your website. This helps you to monitor how successful specific advertising campaigns are AND allows you to promote user-friendly URLs in your adverts to encourage people to remember and visit you.

Another instance where this could be useful is where your company runs more than one website.  If content from one site moves to another within your company, a 301 redirect would be a useful way of redirecting your visitors from the old page to the new page.  Again being able to track the people who have come through to the new page from the old page on a different site would be a useful metric, so using the campaign tracking here will allow you to monitor the levels of visitors from this source.

The benefits of campaign tracking in terms of what you are able to report in Google Analytics are great, and I’m finding myself using this more and more.

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About the author

Emily Mace

Emily Mace

Emily joined Vertical Leap in 2008 and is now the Senior SEO Campaign Delivery Manager. Emily previously worked in training, IT Support, Website development as well as SEO and worked for local Government departments and Tourism South East. Emily gained Google Analytics Individual Qualification in 2011, and regularly blogs on the technical aspects of SEO, sharing her expertise with our readers. Follow on Google+