How to create trackable URLs?

Social media posts are the lifeline of a modern business as they increase brand awareness and help with the growth of your business. As we saw in the previous blog post, social media is about relationship building and not a direct sale but we do like keeping an eye on things because data is information. Have you ever wondered how many people click on a link in any particular post? What kind of content is creating the most engagement on your site? Sure you can see how many people came to your website from Facebook but wouldn’t you love to know which posts were bringing you the traffic?

I am going to show you how to create trackable URLs so that you can increase the effectiveness of any links you add to your social media posts from now on. You will need the following to complete this exercise:

  • Link you want to add to the post such as the link for this post such as – http://www.xava.ie/facebook-marketing-is-all-about-relationship-building/
  • Google URL Builder Tool
  • Link shortener tool such as bit.ly or goo.gl

Step 1 – Create trackable URLs

In the Google URL Builder Tool, scroll down to the URL Builder Form and start filling out the fields as details below:

  • Website URL – the URL you want your followers to visit
  • Campaign Source – this is a unique identifier defined by you to remember where you had used this link. I suggest using the name of your social media channel eg Facebook as the source. This will instantly tell you that a visit came from Facebook in the analytics reports.
  • Campaign Medium – another unique identifier to help you track what kind of content linked back to your site. I would suggest using something like Post-DATE if you are a frequent poster. Basically use a unique identifier so you can pinpoint the source and the posts that brought the traffic to your website.
  • Campaign Name – Give your campaign a name!
  • Campaign Term (optional) – this is used if you are running Google ads so you can flag the keywords that the ad was targeting.
  • Campaign Content (optional) – this is used to differentiate the different ad types you may have been running in your Google adwords eg visual, text

When you have filled out the required fields, click ‘Generate URL’. A little box with a long URL similar to http://www.xava.ie/facebook-marketing-is-all-about-relationship-building/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social%20Posts&utm_content=Blog&utm_campaign=Blog-Promo-FB will appear in a text box, select the URL text and copy it using Ctrl+C and get ready for some awesomeness! In case you didn’t quite follow the steps above, here is a handy little video of the process.

Step 2 – Beautify the URL

The link that you just built in Step 1 is long and really does not work well on social media platforms especially Twitter. Therefore the next step in building a trackable link is to shorten it using a link shortener such as bit.ly or goo.gl

The link shorteners provide an extra layer of analytics in that they give you information on how many clicks each of your shortened links have had. So you can see how effective your links have been to a very basic level straight away without ever needing Google Analytics.

Step 3 – Use the URL

Go ahead and use the shortened and trackable URLs in your social media posts. In the blog next week, I will show you how to track and monitor these links in your Google Analytics.

Remember to create trackable URLs for every social media platform and to shorten them individually for maximum effectiveness.

Summary

  • Choose the link you want to add to your social media post
  • Use Google URL Builder tool to create a trackable URL
  • Use a link shortener to make it social media platform friendly
  • Post liberally across social media.

 

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One Comment

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  1. Greg

    July 7, 2015 - Reply

    Great and simple explanation

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