Tracking your links

Do you send out email newsletters?  Or post you latest special offer on Facebook?  Do you know how many people have clicked on your link?

This simple information can help you model future newsletters for maximum effect, or it lets you see which channel is driving more people to your website from the links you posted; newsletter, Facebook, Twitter or Google+

You have many options available to help you track links.   There are many link shortener sites that not only create a nice short link but also then give you stats on how many clicks and sometimes even more interesting information like location.   Though you are often limited to shortening a link once, so the resulting URL would not allow you to differentiate where the click comes from if you place the same short link in a newsletter and on social media.

I have used the following extensively:

1. Goo.gl  – Google service, so simple for anyone with a Google account to use and see metrics, also comes with great browser plugins that mean you can create on the fly and even produce QR code for URL.

2.Bit.ly –  My current favourite, simple and easy interface and clear information.

You can find a whole load more on this list of URL shorners

Want to get more advanced?

URL shortners do have their limitations, and for any of you using Google Analytics (GA) then I have a very handy tool for you.   Google URL Builder this handy little tool allows you to add custom tracking to each link.

Say I wanted to post this link in both my newsletter and on Facebook and Google+

http://www.padi.com/blog/2013/11/28/three-historical-dive-sites-you-shouldnt-miss/

I would also want to be able to see on my GA account which of these produced the most click throughs, this is where Google URL builder helps me create individual tracking URLs.

As you can see there are 4 required fields, and once you have used this a few times you will see they are pretty straightforward.

  1. Website URL –   The link you wish to track
  2. Campaign Source – Where you are placing the link, Facebook, Twitter, DecemberNewsletter etc
  3. Campaign Medium – What platform is it, email, socialmedia, adwords etc
  4. Campaign Name – Promotion, sales, review etc.

The most important thing to remember is that you need to be consistant in your responses, so make a note of them on a spreadsheet or txt file.  As Facebook and facebook will result in two different entries in GA, meaning you may have to go through and collate results.  So consistancy really wins here.

So lets step through this for the link I posted above and that I now wish to place on Facebook:

  1. Website URL –   http://www.padi.com/blog/2013/11/28/three-historical-dive-sites-you-shouldnt-miss/
  2. Campaign Source – Facebook
  3. Campaign Medium – SocialMedia
  4. Campaign Name – DestinationPromo

After I click Submit the URL Builder creates the following link

http://www.padi.com/blog/2013/11/28/three-historical-dive-sites-you-shouldnt-miss/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMedia&utm_campaign=DestinationPromo

Now if I wanted to also add this link to Twitter and a Newsletter I could use the builder again or you can simply copy the following part of the URL

?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMedia&utm_campaign=DestinationPromo

and amend the correct parts.

So then the full links will look like this

Twitter

http://www.padi.com/blog/2013/11/28/three-historical-dive-sites-you-shouldnt-miss/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMedia&utm_campaign=DestinationPromo

Newsletter

http://www.padi.com/blog/2013/11/28/three-historical-dive-sites-you-shouldnt-miss/?utm_source=NewsletterDec&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=DestinationPromo

You would now be able to see on the GA for that page a nice split of traffic coming from the various different placed links.

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