If you’re running an email marketing campaign or ecommerce website, then surely you have goals and objectives laid out. The best way to reach them is constantly tracking your metrics and optimizing based on what you see.
CartStack already provides you with detailed statistics on your email deliveries, including open rate and clicks, but if you want to delve deeper into who’s following which links, Google’s URL Builder is a great tool to get the specifics.
Google Analytics can be a window to a wealth of information about your pages and campaigns. It can tell you how much traffic your pages are receiving from various sources, when people are visiting. But if you’re linking to the same URL multiple times in the same email message or ecommerce page, you might struggle to find out which links are attracting the most clicks. That’s where the URL Builder comes in.
This tool allows you to add long-tail tags to the end of a link, enabling you to drastically improve your campaign tracking. These unique tags include information on the campaign, the medium (Twitter, Facebook, email, etc.) and the specific source. In other words, you can customize a URL in order to reflect campaign parameters, so that Google Analytics can track each link as a distinct traffic source. The means you’ll be able to tell whether more users are clicking on the sidebar link in your email, or the call-to-action in the first paragraph.
This might all sound a little confusing, but fortunately Google makes it easy with a slick form that basically walks you through the steps.
Once you’ve set up a link using this feature, Google will tag each visit with a campaign tracking cookie that provides deeper insight, helping you decipher the best approach for ROI and improved results. One important thing to remember is that this strategy should only be used for external inbound links that point back to your site. Don’t take these steps with inline texts on your internal blog, call-to-actions on your home page or banner ads on your sidebar. Tagging links is most useful with external marketing communications and ads, including the following:
- Abandoned cart reminder emails (of course)
- Banner ads
- Third-party blog posts
- Social media
Let’s explore that last one a little more. Obviously, social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook are great avenues to reach potential visitors and customers. But since there are numerous apps and clients that people use to access social media (especially on mobile devices), oftentimes it can be challenging to get accurate referral traffic readings because usually visitors from these sources are categorized by Google Analytics as direct traffic.
We recommend building a custom URL and then running it through a link shortener such as bit.ly — this way the user sees and clicks a nice, short, clean link but you capture all the information recorded through the parameters you’ve set.
Implementing this methodology with every important link you use won’t take a ton of time (especially once you’ve got a consistent process in place for naming your parameters), but it will strengthen your analytics considerably, allowing you to gain new levels of information that will help you optimize strategy and boost conversions.
As the old saying goes: if you build it, they will come.