The Legend of Link Tracking: How To Set Up Link Tracking

I am a total nerd, which is great because almost everyone else at 2930 Creative is a total nerd, too. I consider myself a video game enthusiast, and one of the best games to come out recently (and ever) is Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I could spend a whole blog post talking about how great that game is, but the one thing that I’m going to focus on is a new feature added to the game, which tracks where Link, the hero of the game, has traveled. This is incredibly useful for finding hidden treasures and areas that you have not yet explored.

In a lot of ways, tracking where Link has gone in the video game is a lot like tracking links online! (Oh no, I already realized how confusing this comparison could get!) Seeing where you’ve come from is a great way to decide where you’re going next. If you’re in marketing, link tracking is where it’s at and will help you uncover a treasure trove of information to make your campaigns even better.

Why Track Links

Tracking links (and not the hero of time, Link) is invaluable for marketers for a number of reasons. First of all, tracking links will help your business. I remember when social media first became a thing. It was very difficult to convince brands that they needed to be on social media. With link tracking, you can identify exactly where your audience is coming from, which will help you identify the value of those channels. Secondly, you can do some cool things with testing what is more effective (A/B testing). Make two different posts, track each link, and see which one your audience responds to best. Finally, link tracking is the main component in deciding what is working and what isn’t. If you’re not tracking links, you’re just guessing.

How Do You Track Links

The first thing I would recommend is to turn on your Nintendo Switch.

Oh right, wrong link. To track links, take a breath and realize that it is not as complicated as it seems. Link tracking using UTM Parameters is a fancy way of saying, “Hey! We’re going to track your links and organize them into campaigns for you to analyze later.” UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module. If you don’t know what an Urchin Tracking Module is, don’t worry. You don’t need to know anything else other than they are freaking awesome.

How To Set Up UTM Link Tracking from 2930 Creative on Vimeo.

We have put together the quick video above that explains exactly how to set up UTM tracking, but just in case you like the written word, here is a quick rundown:

  1. Go create a Campaign in Google Analytics. There are a lot of fields to sort through, and we’ll run through everything. There are three main fields you need to care about: Campaign Source, Medium, and Campaigns.
  2. Your campaign source is the platform you want to track. So, for instance, if you are trying to track through Twitter, you would put Twitter in this field. Wherever you place that link, put that channel in this field.
  3. The medium is the type of traffic that brought your audience. For example, this would be organic traffic, paid, referral, or whatever.
  4. Finally, the campaigns let you name the specific campaign that got your audience to their destination. You can name this whatever you want, as long as you are consistent.
  5. After you’ve filled in these fields, Google will generate a UTM tracking link. Use this when you’re sharing the link you want to track. You can also shorten the link.
  6. Whatever you do, use this link wherever you post it.
  7. No seriously, that’s how you track things effectively. Don’t just use the direct URL anymore.
  8. Got it? Use this UTM link!
  9. Once your link has been circulating a while, go to Google Analytics. Under the Acquisition tab, find Campaigns and All Campaigns.
  10. Scroll down and you’ll find a list for all your campaigns. Start rolling in those sweet, sweet analytics.

Just as a best practice, we recommend storing all of the UTM links you create in a database or Google Doc. This is a great way to keep track of what campaigns you have and allows you to easily post new links as needed.

It’s dangerous to go alone! Take UTM tracking with you wherever you post and start analyzing your audience. If you need any help setting up your UTM tracking campaign, or you’ve gotten to the end of this quest and are still confused, contact 2930 Creative today. We use UTM link tracking in all of our campaigns because we love our clients and want them to understand their customers.

We’re basically the Triforce of Wisdom when it comes to link tracking. If that doesn’t make sense to you, that’s okay. It’s just a nerdy way of saying we know our stuff!

Josh Duke is the director of content at 2930 Creative and loves links almost as much as he loves Link.

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