One of the things that Google Analytics does well is give site owners the ability to track visitors to their site from start to finish during a session. However, if a visit is initiated with a click from a enewsletter or email without some special link tagging, it’s difficult if not impossible to pin point what advertising campaign brought this visitor to your site. To solve this problem you will need to add a few extra variables to the link that’s going to drive traffic to your site. This way when the visitor clicks on your link and arrives at your site Google Analytics will see these variables and create a “campaign folder”. Without these variables your visitors will be placed in one of the three default folders, referral, organic or direct. Visitors coming from a paid campaign get tossed into on of these and it’s impossible to tell who’s who.
Normally your link would look something like this http://www.designworldonline.com/
Adding some Google Analytics friendly variables changes your link to looks something like this
Adding tags is NOT DONE using the Google Analytics administration page. So not to worry if you’re not the person who controls the account for your company and sends out links. Everything you need to do can be done manually or with the Google URL Builder Tool located at
There are three steps to the Google URL Builder.
Step #1 is to enter the link you want to direct people to. In my example above I used the Design World home page so I’ll put in http://www.designworldonline.com Simple enough.
Step #2 is to fill in the text boxes for Campaign Source, Campaign Medium & Campaign Name. These are required by the Google URL Builder and if you leave one of them out things could get ugly in your reports. Here I’ll give some quick definitions on each on of the boxes, but be sure to check out Google’s “How do I tag my links” help page located here.
Source is the source of the link thats clicked on. In this case I’ll put BLOG since it’s on our DW blog. If you’re running the campaign with different publishers here you should add in a pubcode or something to indicate which publisher sent over the visitor.
Medium is what the link is connected to. Typically these would be newsletters, banners, emails or paid links. Here I will use post since my link is in a post on the blog.
Campaign Name is the name of this whole campaign and will eventually show up as the folder in Google Analytics. Here I’m going to call it Marketing2009.
Use Campaign Content if you are running a campaign where there is more than one link pointing to your site from any given source. For example… you send out a corporate newsletter with links pointing to your homepage, a white paper, an article & your companies contact us page. This is also great for A/B split testing. Here I’ll use LINK1.
Finally if you running this as a paid link or CPC you can use the Campaign Term box and enter in the keyword which brought the user to the site. Since this isn’t a CPC campaign and not coming from a search engine I’ll leave this blank.
Step #3 is to generate the URL. Click the button and in the text box below you will be given the final URL. My example link now looks like
Once you create a link and send it out and visitors start pouring in it will take about 24 hours for your campaign to show up in Google Analytics. In part two of this I’ll explain where to find these reports and how you can segment out users to then see what else they did when they got to your site.