URL Tagging Strategy Implementation

In my first post, Web Analytics Strategy Part 1, I talked about why it’s so important to perform URL tagging when implementing a web analytics strategy.  In this post I will show you how to properly create a URL tag and how to implement a consistent and effective URL tagging strategy that all team members can use.
Step 1: Creating the Tags
To gather the basic information such as specific campaign performance and conversion metrics you will need to use three parameters: Campaign Source, Campaign Medium and Campaign Name.  Below is an example of a tagged URL that EverEffect could use to effectively track the performance of a Marketing Campaign on Twitter for PPC Services.
Non tagged URL: www.evereffect.com
Tagged URL for Twitter PPC Campaign: www.evereffect.com/?utm_source=social-media&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=ppc-05-06-20111
As seen in the example  the new URL directly relates to the marketing initiative by calling out the type of marketing method “Social Media”, the avenue for marketing “Twitter” and the campaign focus “PPC” which then allows us to track this marketing initiative’s performance within Google Analytics at a more granular level.  If you have trouble remembering the proper formatting of a URL Tag, Google provides a free URL Builder which can help you create custom URL tags.
Step 2: Establishing a Convention
URL tagging is neither hard nor expensive; however, getting everyone in a company on the same page can be a challenge.  Your URL Tagging Strategy requires uniform tagging which is why establishing a set method is very important. At EverEffect we follow simple rules; always use lower case, never use spaces, always use hyphens to separate keywords i.e. social-media. We recommend putting the campaign start date at the end of the Campaign name so for example: www.evereffect.com/?utm_source=social-media&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=ppc-05-06-2011.  Once you have decided on a convention do not forget to share it with everyone in your organization.  Everything you send out should be tagged properly and consistently.  This includes email logos, marketing emails, advertising on third party websites, tweets, Facebook posts, PR and everything else.
Step 3: Tracking
While additional performance metrics are tracked automatically after a URL has been tagged by your analytics software, it is important to create a shared document within your company that tracks overall performance and information about the URLs that you create.  Keeping information about dates the campaigns ran and ended, as well as the goal of each URL, helps determine long term strategies.
As mentioned earlier, this type of URL Tagging and Web Analytic Strategy is completely free but does require communication and time.  The value this type of strategy brings can not be overstated as the granularities in terms of campaign performance metrics will allow you to better determine the effectiveness and ROI of your Advertising, Branding and Marketing efforts.

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