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Recently I was listening to the Apply Filters podcast. In Episode 45 they discussed Google Analytics tracking for their projects.

It’s something I should do better, but at the moment I’ve not been playing around with it too much. One area that I am looking to optimise is the automatic tweets that I have running on the Winwar Media Twitter account.

I talked about the process of promoting old content here, but one thing I noticed is that all the links were tagged by Buffer. Whilst appreciated, it wasn’t ideal, as I didn’t know how popular they were. As such, I carried out a bit of optimising using my own campaign tracking.

What Is Campaign Tracking?

Campaign tracking involves adding to the end of links data which tells Google Analytics where the user who has visited your site comes from. As time goes on, things like referral data and search metrics will disappear from Google Analytics. And as the web appears to be moving towards more secure protocol, link tagging will give you a way to track meaningful data again.

This is particularly useful for any link you put out in your marketing efforts. Things like tweets, links in plugins, or advertising should have their campaign tracking on them. By tracking these links, that way you can track the effectiveness of them, and then you can segment your audience from when they arrive on your site. You can even found out how well said visitors convert. But how do you do it in IFTTT?

Disabling Automatic Tagging Of Links

First of all, you want to disable the automatic tagging of links in Buffer. Buffer does do this by default, but it’s method isn’t the best. As such, you will want to switch this off.

To switch this off, first go to to Buffer’s setting pages. Under”link shortening” there’s a section called Google Analytics Campaign Tracking. Make sure this is off.


Adding Your Own Rules In

Now to add your own rules in, you need to return to your created recipes in IFTTT. You need to add 3 variables onto the end of the URL. These variables are below:-

  • utm_source: Where the user comes from (i.e. twitter/facebook/buffer/etc.)
  • utm_medium: The medium of said user, this is usually where you differentiate the sources into their usual group. For example, if you run a facebook ad campaign, you would put something like “ppc” or “paid”, rather than “social” if it was just a normal share.
  • utm_campaign: the campaign this comes from. You want this to be something that you can again group. So for this example, as we’re promoting new posts, I’ve called it “newpost”.

Generally for campaigns, I try to keep them simple. So for me, I have the following:-

  • Every plugin is in it’s own campaign.
  • I have “newpost” for posts that I share straight away and “revievedpost” for posts that I share a little later on.
  • If anything doesn’t fit into either of those campaigns (say if I wanted to analyse traffic to my bbPress Complete page), I’d create a new campaign.

That is basically it, but how do you add this data to IFTTT? Add it after the {{EntryURL}} in your recipe. So if I wanted to track the clicks from a new post that went to Buffer, I’d add the following to the end of the URL.

It’s quite straightforward, and within 24 hours or so your links once out there will begin to be tracked. I hope you find this post useful!

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Polite Disclaimer: I am welcome, open and willing for corrections to be shared in the comments (with corrections being added to posts and credited), and the comments field should be used to promote discussion and make this post better. I do not know everything and if anybody finds a better way to do something, then by all means please share it below.

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