Tagging Links to Track Your Various Social Efforts

- July 7, 2015

Many clients ask why they should bother tagging their social media marketing links when Google Analytics “buckets” traffic from the social source. The answer is: you likely have a lot of different sources of traffic coming to you via the social channels – it’s helpful to segment to see which of your traffic is a result of your paid and social efforts, and which is the result of an “organic” share.

Here’s a breakdown of these different traffic sources:

  • “Organic” Social Traffic – When we talk about organic SEO traffic, we’re talking about traffic that reached your site through the search engines, i.e. unpaid efforts. Organic social traffic is much the same. This is traffic that comes to your site when your website content is shared by a 3rd party, i.e., a user who found your content interesting and wanted to share it.
  • Traffic from Your Social Media Marketing Efforts – This is traffic that is being driven in by the content that your social team creates and publishes on your branded pages. It’s very likely that a majority of your social traffic comes in to you from your own social media marketing efforts.
  • Traffic from Your Social Media Advertising Efforts – If you are doing any advertising on the social networks, you will want to create further buckets in order to properly identify the campaign and targeting methodology that this traffic was driven through.

Properly Tagging Your Links to Identify Your Efforts

You can tag your links by adding UTM parameters that identify things like the traffic source, medium and campaign. You can have as many parameters as you like, but these are the most important:

  • Traffic Source – This would be the social network, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Traffic Medium – The medium might be “social” or “paid,” depending on whether your traffic resulted from paid or social efforts. This parameter will help you to see how much traffic is a result of your paid advertising vs. more passive page curation efforts.
  • Campaign – The campaign parameter helps you to perform deeper tracking, determining which campaign drove in what traffic. When you use this parameter, you can get a better sense of the creative, messaging and topics your audience is most responsive to. For example, if you run a campaign for your annual sale, you might use the tag “annual-sale.” Whereas, if you run a campaign for a specific category, you might use a more categorically descriptive tag, such as “sandals.”
  • Targeting – This tagging parameter is for the advertisers making use of social media’s myriad of targeting options. If for example, you targeted your audience based on demographics, you might describe your tags by the demographics targeted. For example “women-35-60.” Or, if you created your own audience, you would want to include that in your tag. For example, “custom-audience-email” or “custom-audience-remarketing.”

The more descriptive you can get in your tags, the better your tracking will ultimately be.

The only caveat is that you will need to come up with a universal standard for tagging that’s used by everyone on your marketing team. That way, your traffic sources can be properly “bucketed” in Google Analytics, or the web analytics tool of your choice.

How to Add Tags

To add your tags, you can simply take your original link, for example:

www.shoes.com/sandals/flats

and append the tracking to the end of the link by adding a question mark, the letters “UTM” and an underscore – ?utm_

www.shoes.com/sandals/flats?utm_source=facebook

After this first parameter, all of your other parameters will be added with an ampersand – &

www.shoes.com/sandals/flats?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=paid&utm_campaign=flat-sandals&utm_targeting=women-35-60

If all of this seems a bit tedious, we’ve got you covered. MoreVisibility created a URL tagging tool that helps you easily add your UTM tracking codes.

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