Google URL Builder: How to Track Links Shared

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Google URL builderHow do you track how many people click on links you share out on social channels such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn?

What happens when you share the same link out on e-mail?  Are you tracking which link got the best results?

When you look at Google analytics you can see the different channels that generated the traffic (e.g. Facebook, Twitter etc) but you can’t drill it down to specific links shared.

At times you want to really figure out what traffic is generated and where it comes from.

The Google URL builder was developed to support this problem.

When you create a link using the URL builder you can tag on additional information to the link that describes what the link is about, where the traffic came from when it lands on your site and much more.

So let’s take a look.

1.  Where do you access the Google URL Builder? –   You access it here.

2.  What is the process for using the Google URL Builder?  You decide on the link you want to share and then you go to the Google URL builder and fill out a form related to this link.

This will then produce a much longer link that will have additional information in it.

This is known as link tagging where you tag additional information onto the link.

3.   Will you share out that link?

The link will be quite long so you probably won’t want to share the full link out.  Instead use a URL shortener service such as bit.ly that will shorten the link for you.

You just go to bit.ly and copy in your link to get a shortened link.

3.  When I share out the link what happens?

When someone clicks on the link you can view details about this within Google analytics under the campaigns section.

 

Google analytics campaign

Select the campaign section to track the links shared

 

From there you can see how many people clicked on the link and what were the results. If you create separate links for social channels, email etc you can drill down and see which was the most successful.

4.   How do I  configure it

The configuration involves filling out a form for each link you want to create. You go to the Google URL builder form and complete the following details:

Campaign Source

This is the source of where you are putting the link.  For example, if you were sharing this link on Facebook this could be the source you configured.

If you configure Facebook you will see the following added on to the website address:

‘utm_source=Facebook’

Campaign Medium

The medium is what marketing method brought people to the site.  For example, if your source is Facebook the medium for delivery of this link could be ‘Facebook advertising’.   You might want to track multiple mediums for the same platform/source.

  • Campaign Medium – Facebook Page Post – You are posting the content directly on your Facebook page
  • Campaign Medium – Facebook Personal Post – A post on your personal page.
  • Campaign Medium – Facebook Advertising this is a link shared through an advertising campaign.

Now you can view Google analytics and figure out which generated you the revenue, the advertising or the Facebook post.

If you configure ‘Facebook Advertising’ you will see the following added to the link:

‘utm_medium=Facebook advertising’

Campaign Term

This is an optional field and is used to mention the keywords you are using as part of your advertising campaigns.

Imagine if you were running Google advertisement and you were targeting two different keyword sets.  You could create multiple URL’s with different campaign terms:

Campaign term 1 = Hotel booking

Campaign term 1 = Accommodation Dublin

If you configure ‘Hotel booking’ you will see the following added to your website address:

‘utm_term’ = Hotel+booking’

Campaign Content

The best example of using campaign content is in an e-mail.

a). If you have different versions of your e-mail which has slightly different offers you could have the exact same links but just have campaign content different

Campaign Content = Free Shipping

Campaign Content = 10% off

Or you could use different content parameters in the same e-mail for the same URL and just track which link is clicked in what location e.g.

Campaign Content = Top Bar

Campaign Content = Footer link

If you configure ‘Hotel booking’ you will see the following added to your website address:

‘utm_content’ = top bar’

Campaign name

Give your campaign a unique name to easily identify it in Google analytics.

If you configure ‘Facebook_offer’ you will see the following added to your website address:

‘utm_term’ = Facebook_offer’

5.  What does a link look like when it’s created:

www.razorsocial.com/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Facebook%20ads&utm_campaign=Facebook%20Offer

You can see all the additional parameters added.

6.  How do I view this in Google analytics?

In the acquisition section if you select ‘campaigns’ you should see the campaign name listed.  In the example below we set up a campaign called ‘Marketing tools infographic’

 

Google analytics campaign

Track the URL under the campaign section

 

If I click on this then I can see further details.    We see the source and medium.  As this was a link shared out on Twitter we set the sources as ‘Twitter’.  We set the medium as a ‘Tweet’.  If were doing something like advertising with this link on twitter we could have a medium of ‘Twitter advertising’.

 

Google analytics medium

This displays the source and medium

 

 

Summary

You may not use this facility for every link your share but if you’re running a particular campaign and want to assess the value you get from the platforms you use this URL builder can be helpful.

Have you used this before?  What were you results?  or

Would you use it?

Note:  We just found an application that makes it easy to create these tracking URL’s.  Check it out.




 

About the author

Ian Cleary

Author: Ian Cleary is a technology guy with extensive experience in Social Media. He is a writer for Social Media Examiner and other high profile blogs and is very passionate about Social Media Tools. Ian is the CEO of RazorSocial and also RazorCoast which is a Digital Marketing Agency.

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  • Andy

    Ian, thanks for the helpful post. I’ve been trying to figure out if it’s possible to add custom URL parameters within Google Analytics and have it track in a similar fashion. So instead of “utm_campaign” or “utm_source”, I would like to create a parameter for, say, “utm_date”. Obviously I can append such a parameter onto the end of any URL, but what I can’t figure out (if it’s even possible) is how to program into Analytics that I want it to track this as its own variable. Any chance you can shed light on this? Thanks much!

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Andy, I don’t believe it’s possible to add custom parameters to the Google URL builder, nice idea though!

  • http://term.li/1eFEesN Puru Choudhary

    One of the problems I come across is coming up with a good naming convention for UTM parameters. e.g I try to use and recommend lower case names so that we don’t have “Facebook” and “facebook”.

    Do you have any recommendations that have worked for you?

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Puru, you’re right about the name convention. I think Google should ignore case so ‘Facebook’ and ‘facebook’ are exactly the same. There’s not a lot you can do other than ensuring that you use lowercase for everything and try to come up with a policy if multiple people are creating the parameters.

  • bestofshayari.blogspot.in

    Nice guide for google analytics. But there are two nonsense way are also present to know how many shares you got. First is using share it widget at the bottom of the post and second is using TYNT. which also gives you detailed report about sharing.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hi, the idea of the builder is being able to track when people click on the links and come back to your site. You can then track where they came from. It doesn’t track shares. Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.polepositionmarketing.com/emp Kathy Gray

    Great post, Ian. I’ve been doing this for awhile and to make it even quicker, there’s an extension you can get for Chrome where you can save your settings for Facebook page post, LinkedIn page post, etc. You pick your saved tracking codes from a dropdown and can even connect your bit.ly account for quick link shortening. And, no, I have received no compensation for this review, just love the tool!! https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-analytics-url-buil/gaidpiakchgkapdgbnoglpnbccdepnpk

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Kathy, thank you so much. I’m definitely checking this out!!! I may even add it to the post if that’s ok, I can link to you if you want?

      • http://www.polepositionmarketing.com/emp Kathy Gray

        You’re welcome! Hope you find it useful.

        Adding it to the post would be awesome! Could help other busy marketers. And I wouldn’t turn down a link. ;)

  • suresh

    I hate Social media, because of various reasons specially for facebook and loves to use Twitter. I never built a good profile except on Digg, Propeller and Facebook too. I deleted my Facebook account for some personal reason.
    Coming to the point of your post Ive read the twitter paragraph and you had only few hits from twitter, but in earlier days I got in a day more than 100 hits with a 2000 followers only.
    Can you mention some answers for me if you have some time to comment here?
    Does linkedin brings any traffic?
    How get a Facebook post link? I mean for the article on Facebook share.
    How to remove Google plus unfollowers?

  • https://twitter.com/Savin1987 Peter Savin

    Use cutyfox URL shortener with Firefox. Add your bit.ly account to it and you will have a nice and fast way to generate short links. See the picture. Just press the scissors and it’s ready.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks for the tip Peter.

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