Multi-URL Campaign Parameters Tool for Facebook Advertising
Published: September 26, 2013
Author: Dan Wilkerson
When running Facebook ads, it’s important to measure their impact beyond simple clicks. Although Facebook has introduced a conversion tracking pixel that can give you some insight into what visitors from Facebook ads do, Google Analytics offers much more robust tracking, including multi-channel reporting & multi-touch reporting, visitor site visit history, and more.
Although you can simply check out the visitors to your specified landing page from Source ‘Facebook.com’, you’d still not be getting the entire picture; for example, you wouldn’t be able to segment out visits from your ad, from visits from by users who shared a link to your landing page on Facebook. You’d also be missing data from key visit sources as the Facebook mobile app doesn’t properly pass referrer information, meaning those visits get incorrectly bucketed into the ‘Direct’ source in your reports. All of this adds up to an extremely limited view of the impact that Facebook advertising might be having on your bottom line.
Fortunately, Google Analytics has a tool that marketers can use to help circumvent these hazards. This tool is called ‘Campaign Parameters’ and allows you to essentially tell Google Analytics to attribute visits to a particular page to a source, medium, and campaign of your own choosing. You’ve probably seen these before: they appear as a list of query parameters appended to a given url.
However, adding these parameters can be a bit tedious, if done by hand, and hand-appending them to URLs invites typos and mistakes to ruin your data. Google has graciously provided a URL builder tool to make things a little easier, but if you’ve got a list of URLs (think holiday product lists), it can still be a cumbersome process.
Before I hand you the keys to the tool, lets cover the fields for each parameter and what they do, along with why they are important.
This field dictates the name of the campaign inside Google Analytics, and is useful for connected otherwise unconnected ads into unified campaigns. For example, as part of promoting our Google Analytics & Google AdWords Trainings, I post links to our site on popular tech calendars, social media sites, and run AdWords ads. By using a unified campaign within all those ads, like ‘Chicago-Training’, I’m able to go into Analytics and see how effective my overall campaign has been.
The source is the most important campaign parameter in a tagged URL; without a source, Google Analytics will not decode any other parameters, meaning the visit will be tagged as it normally would have had the visitor came through on an untagged link. This field is meant to represent the ‘source’ or point of origination of the visit. For example, if I were to share a link on Facebook, I would set the source equal to ‘facebook’. It’s pretty straightforward, but hugely important: never forget your source.
The media through which the link is shared or the visitor would have traveled. For social networks, we use ‘social’, although you might prefer something different. The default setting for medium is referral.
The term parameter is usually used by Google when the visitor is coming from a search engine. The term is set to whatever keyword the visitor used, or, as is going to soon become the case for every visit from Google, ‘(not provided)’. You can repurpose this field, but beware: visits with a utm_term= value will appear inside the ‘Keywords’ report, which can lead to some data poisoning.
The content parameter is a parameter for marketers to add additional information about a visit from a tagged link. Use this parameter to indicate other necessary information about a link not covered by the other fields; for example, if you have two links on the same guest blog post leading to the same page on your site, you would specify which location the link visit was coming from with this parameter, e.g. ‘top’ & ‘sidebar’.
Important Final Note
Campaign parameters are only necessary for links from other domains leading to your own properties. Do not, for example, add campaign parameters to links within your own domain, e.g. between example.com/home/ and example.com/home/about-us/. This will confuse Analytics, and is a very bad thing to do. Likewise, adding campaign parameters to links to sites you don’t own is unnecessary, and won’t help you in your own data collection. Chances are, you’ll just be dirtying someone else’s Analytics. Now, the tool:
Multi-URL Campaign Parameter Generator
Enter in your campaign, source, medium, term, and content below as needed. Any fields that you leave empty will not be appended.