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Google Analytics Campaign Tracking made Easy

The ever-popular website statistics solution, Google Analytics, allows webmasters to create and identify campaigns that are referring traffic to their website.  All you have to do is add the right parameters.  Sounds simple enough, right? Well, sort of.

As Google explains in their Analytics help file:

By adding campaign parameters to your URLs, you can identify the campaigns that send traffic to your site. When a user clicks a referral link, these parameters are sent to Analytics, so you can see the effectiveness of each campaign in your reports.

Now, that all sounds easy enough, but you have to add those parameter manually unless your system is already generating them for you. Looking into building exactly just such a solution for a client, I dug pretty deep into how one might actually do this. I started with their URL builder tool.

That makes it much easier to understand, but it turns something pretty like http://jdmdigital.co/landing-page/ into a monstrosity like  http://jdmdigital.co/landing-page/?utm_source=prweb&utm_medium=press_release&utm_campaign=awesome_news.

That wouldn’t be a big deal, but for an offline medium, like a postcard, that’s a TERRIBLE thing to expect users to type into their browser.  We need to shorten it.

We could use Google’s URL builder tool and its built-in goo.gl shortener, but what if you want to keep it branded using a service like Bitly? I think you see how this quickly gets overly complicated…

cliqued-screenshot

As we wrestled with automating this for a client as part of a much larger system, we couldn’t help ourselves but to turn some of the backend stuff relating to this little problem  into a very small (and over-simplified) web app we nicknamed Cliqued (pronounced “Clicked”).

The web app has just been released on GitHub under the GNU General Public License.  Just another one of those code projects by the friendly nerds at JDM Digital.

Happy campaign tracking!

Justin, 11/04/2016

By the way, we may be adding additional shortening services to CLIQUED as time goes on. It just comes down to if there’s any interest in the web app as a standalone product.

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