Custom Campaign Tagging in Google Analytics

Reading Time: 2 minutes
28 Jun 2015

Why use Custom Campaign Tags?

If used correctly you will be able to calculate CPA (Cost-per-Acquisition) and ROMI (Return-on-Marketing-Investment) and put some very powerful insights in the effectiveness of the channels you are using…
Purpose of tagging is to standardise the data coming into Google Analytics so that we can view data by channel and source/medium. It is important that we follow this process as it means our analytics is kept clean and accurate.

What is a custom campaign tag?

It’s a link/URL with data added to the end after a /? that passes additional information into Google Analytics so we can track campaigns, e.g.
https://www.targeturl.com/?utm_source=source&utm_medium=medium&utm_campaign=campaign
The green part is the custom campaign code (and does not change) and the blue parts are the data that’s sent to Google Analytics (we change this for each link).

Example

I am running a set of display ads on rte.ie which is part of a campaign for widgets. The banners will send customers to the www.mywebsite/widgets/ page. I want to create a custom campaign tag which tells Google Analytics where this data is coming from (as it is not automatically labelled this way). In this example, the labels we need are as follows:
source: rte.ie medium: display_affiliate campaign: widget_campaign_apr2015
Remember to keep everything lowercase as Google Analytics is case sensitive. The custom campaign tag will look like this:
https://www.mywebsite.ie/widgets/?utm_source=rte.ie&utm_medium=display_affiliate&
utm_campaign=widget_campaign_apr2015

There is a handy tool for creating custom campaign tags; this is found here: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033867″

How do I create custom campaign tags?

1. Identify the source. The source is typically the website where the banner / link is placed e.g. youtube.com, independent.ie, daft.ie, rte.com, facebook.com, twitter.com etc. For email campaigns, the source can be the company that manages the newsletter e.g constantcontact.com or internal_edm if you are managing internally.
2. Identify the medium. The medium is the channel that the traffic comes from. Use a standard set of channels. The most common medium’s are as follows (you can use your own naming convention alternatively):
display_network – network display such as GDN, AMNET etc. Ads on a display network
display_affiliate – affiliate display ads such as placements on websites we use as affiliates e.g. rte.ie, entertainment.ie, independent.ie, pigsback.com, eumom.com etc.
social_paid – Paid placements on social networks, e.g. promoted tweets, sponsored posts on facebook
social – non-paid posts / links on social networks
email – links in email campaigns / newsletters
referral – links within non-paid articles on websites or links from our own content e.g. wider groups, associations
referral_paid – referrals from paid sources, such as a link in an advertorial piece, a paid article or directory.
organic, cpc and (none) are the other standard channels and these are automatically tagged, so no need to worry about them.
3. Identify the campaign. The campaign is the data we use to distinguish between different campaigns. Generally this is just the name of your campaign, e.g. widget_campaign_mar2015. Replace spaces with underscores as URL’s are easier to QA.
Eamonn O Raghallaigh

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