Measuring Custom Campaigns With UTM Codes

Custom Campaigns give you the ability to add campaign parameters to the destination URLs of your blog posts, online marketing ads, social media content, etc. That way, you’re able to collect data about those campaigns and understand where the campaigns are performing the best.

Google Analytics logoWhat are Custom Campaigns?

Custom Campaigns give you the ability to add campaign parameters to the destination URLs of your blog posts, online marketing ads, social media content, etc. That way, you’re able to collect data about those campaigns and understand where the campaigns are performing the best.

In this post, I’ll walk through how to build URL parameters to measure the effectiveness of Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics.

Kia blog post main image

Best Practices for Building URLs

What are URL Parameters?

Parameters are snippets that you can add to the end of your URLs. There are five main parameters that must be paired with a value that you assign. Each parameter-value pair is what contains the information you want to track that’s related to your campaign.

The table below outlines the name and definition of each parameter you’ll find within common URL builder tools such as the Campaign URL Builder by Google.

Kia's blog post chart

How to Identify URL Parameters

For example, let’s take a recent blog post of mine, “Hacking the New Google Drive Features,” and add URL parameters to it. In order to measure the traffic to the post that comes from our branded Twitter account, we identify the following parameters:

  • utm_source: twitter
  • utm_medium: social
  • utm_campaign: branded
  • utm_term: n/a
  • utm_content: n/a

Our destination URL is now https://st-tech.blog/new-google-drive-features-2017/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=branded. You’ll notice we didn’t include utm_term or utm_content. That’s because we reserve utilizing those snippets for PPC campaigns.

Why Use URL Parameters?

These parameters will allow us to effectively measure the traffic received from the specified criteria. When a user clicks on a custom URL, the parameters are sent to Google Analytics, and the data made available in the Campaigns report under the Acquisition tab.

Kia's blog post example

This gives us tons of more freedom in terms of our analysis. We’ll be able to drill down in Google Analytics and pivot this data to tell our user’s journey to the post. This type of data is actionable and can have a significant impact on the bottom line: ROI.

When NOT to Tag URLs …

Remember, though, as tempting as it may be to try and measure everything about where your traffic comes from, remember to tag only what you need for effective analysis.

Why? Because the more parameters you add to URLs, the more complicated you can make it in the end. Google Analytics automatically tracks the majority of these parameters and spending time on tagging for the sake of tagging isn’t the point.

The goal of tagging destination URLs is to differentiate traffic with more specificity than Google Analytics already does.

Do you use Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics? How has tagging helped you measure your campaigns more effectively? If not, give the Campaign URL Builder a try and follow my tips for more detailed analysis of traffic sources to your site or blog.

What Donald Trump’s Win Means for Promotional Products

Donald Trump shocked the world last Tuesday when he won the 2016 presidential election. While political campaigns are usually won on the issues, there’s another element that I think is worth looking into: promotional products.

(Image via CNN)
(Image via CNN)

[Target Marketing’s take: This piece notes “branded merchandise sales can predict an election.” So, too, can core product sales be related to the success of associated goods. For instance, Nike sells shoes. And yet, sales of “Just Do It” shirts and co-founder Phil Knight’s book “Shoe Dog” also soar. So this Promo article has plenty of import for TM readers.]

Donald Trump shocked the world last Tuesday when he won the 2016 presidential election. While political campaigns are usually won on the issues, there’s another element that I think is worth looking into: promotional products.

It may be a leap, but I believe promotional products played a huge part in this presidential election. With that in mind, here are a few key takeaways you can apply to your next promotional campaign.

1. Promotional Products Matter – Big Time

We told you that Trump spent more on hats than polling, and it sure seems that budget allocation paid off for his campaign. The “Make America Great Again” hats became a symbol for his campaign, and effectively communicated his message throughout the election.

(Image via Trump's online store)
(Image via Trump’s online store)

For future promotional success, political leaders need to place more weight on one solidified campaign slogan that extends across all merchandise. While Hillary bet hard on her “I’m With Her” slogan, there were multiple official Hillary phrases that permeated the campaign. Instead, she might have found more success strengthening one campaign slogan.

2. The End-users Have Merchandising Power, Too

While each political nominee obviously released branded political merchandise, they were far from the only ones. Voters everywhere capitalized on election micro-moments and created their own merchandise based on viral memes. From the “Nasty Women” T-shirts to “Proud to be a Deplorable” apparel, the campaign was rampant with end-user impact.

(Image via PopSugar)
(Image via PopSugar)

For the future, political candidates can encourage their constituents to submit their own political designs, in order to give the people what they want. That way, when potential voters go to purchase this political merchandise, the political campaign will actually be getting the money, instead of places like CafePress and TeeSpring.

3. Branded Merchandise Sales Can Predict an Election

It’s a pretty bold statement, but one that proved the be true, according to Louisville Business First. CafePress has accurately predicted the presidential winner since 1999, and it correctly predicted Trump this year. But, how did the company get it right? Well, via the merchandise sales.

(Image via Bloomberg)
(Image via Bloomberg)

As of September, pro-Trump merchandise was outselling pro-Hillary merchandise by 20 percent. And, Philly.com pointed out that Trump sold more lawn signs.

Now that you know the weight of promotional apparel, you understand how important it is to dedicate time and resources to a great promotional campaign. The more people who see it on the streets, the more likely they are to keep a candidate top-of-mind.