Chapter 9. Marketing Campaign Tracking

Another important part of setting up Google Analytics correctly is configuring online marketing campaign tracking. Unlike other configuration steps, you don’t perform marketing campaign tracking in the Google Analytics administrative interface or on your website. Marketing campaign tracking involves changing the links used in your marketing activities. I’ll discuss this more in a moment.

The reason marketing campaign tracking is so important is that, by default, Google Analytics places your visitors in three basic referral segments:

Search Engines

Visitors who access your site by clicking on a search engine result (both organic search and paid search)


Visitors who access your site by clicking on a link on some other website


Visitors who go directly to your website by typing the URL in their browsers

While these segments are useful, they do not identify paid marketing activities. You want to measure paid marketing activities so you can better understand if they’re successful, and you can only do this via marketing campaign tracking. Using marketing campaign tracking adds a fourth segment to the list above: campaigns.

How It Works

Marketing campaign tracking is based on the process of link tagging, which is adding extra information to the destination URLs used in your online ads. The extra information is actually a number of query-string parameters that describes a marketing activity. Figure 9-1 illustrates how link tagging identifies your ...

Get Google Analytics now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.