Tracking campaign effectiveness in Google Analytics

Tracking campaign effectiveness in Google Analytics

You send out a Tweet or a newsletter and you may know the number of clickthroughs to your website.

But what do those visitors do when they got there?  Did they read the blog article and then bounce straight off, or did they explore further and, if you’re lucky, actually fulfil one of the goals that you should have set up in Google Analytics (e.g. sign up for the newsletter or email you)?

To understand which campaigns work, you should be using Google Analytics to track each one.  You can do this by tweaking the URL that you direct people to and add “campaign parameters” on the end so that it looks like:

We will then be able to see not just how many people click through, but also what they did when they got there.

Furthermore, we will be able to see

  • whether emails are performing better than social media
  • which month’s newsletter had the best engagement
  • which topics are people most interested in
Google's URL builder screenshot showing campaign parameters

A screen shot of Google’s URL builder showing the campaign parameters required

UTM parameters

There are five parameters that can be used and reported on and the easiest way to generate the URL is to use Google’s URL generator at

N.B.  You need to be consistent about what you are going to do using the different parameters, otherwise your reports are going to look very strange!  Examples are:

  • Campaign Source: google, bing, newsletter, twitter, facebook
  • Campaign Medium: cpc, email, social-media
  • Campaign Term: {keywords}
  • Campaign Content: link1, link2, campaign-tracking
  • Campaign Name: analytics, ebook, free-shipping

Note that only the bold parameters are required.

Tip: although you can use this URL, it is very long, so pop it first into your favourite shortener e.g. or to get something that you can tweet!
The above URL comes down to:

To see the effectiveness of your campaign look at the reports in Google Analytics under Acquisition > Campaigns where you can choose which of the parameters you report on.

John Wood