Let’s face it, Google Analytics (GA) can be daunting. Luckily there is a good Analytics help center from Google about getting started and digging in to your analytics.
After you have the basic tracking in place you can see how many visitors you have to your site, where they come from and their behavior.
The next logical step is to look at how your social sites are doing for you. Are they driving traffic to your site? Which posts or campaigns worked the best? Which social media activity didn’t work out so well? That’s where Campaign Tracking comes in. Google Analytics offers the ability to add tracking code to your URL and when used in a social post, you can measure the traffic.
Recently I ran across a great blog by Kristi Hines on KISSMetrics about how to setup campaign metrics with UTM parameters. Kristi Hines breaks down the coding for social sites including Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, and Pinterest. In her post, Hines mentions Bitly for shortening URLs — a must for Twitter. I use Bitly but also do a lot of posting through Hootsuite which has it’s own shortener.
While Hines offers various syntax for tracking code, she also touts the URL Builder; that’s the route I recommend.
Let’s say I’m going to post on Facebook about my Website Design offering and I want people to click on a link to get more information. Here’s what I would do. Visit Google’s URL Builder and go through the steps.
- Enter my website URL, like “http://keenerdigitalmarketing.com/website-design/” (without the quotes)
- Enter my Campaign Source, I’ll enter “Facebook”
- Enter my Campaign Medium, “social-post”
- Enter my Campaign Name, “Design March 2015”
- Click Submit
This is the resulting URL: http://keenerdigitalmarketing.com/website-design/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=social-post&utm_campaign=Design%20March%202015. Nothing top secret there — you can hand-build these once you get the hang of it. When I use this URL in a clickable post link on Facebook, I can check my GA account and see how many clicks I’ve gotten to my design page and learn more about the effectiveness of my Facebook “campaign”.
Shortening the URL is easy too. Just jump over to bit.ly and paste the long URL into the box provided, then click Shorten. You’ll get something like this: http://bit.ly/1Oz1IS5. You can copy the link and paste it in your post or your profile description or… If you sign up for a free account with Bit.ly, you have the opportuntity to create a custom link out of the short link. So instead of …bit.ly/O1Z1IS5 I could have …bit.ly/keenerwebdesign.
So give it a try. You’ll be surprised how much information you can get from one shortened UTM link!
Tell me how you’re using Google Analytics and Social Media in the comments below.