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Campaign Tracking: What is it and how does it work?

How do I know where the website visitors for my last marketing campaign come from? Is my newsletter or influencer campaign worth it at all? Campaign tracking provides the answer to these questions.

Campaign Tracking: What is it and how does it work?
Ing. Philipp Doblhofer Ing. Philipp Doblhofer

Ing. Philipp Doblhofer

When a company circulates online articles, landing pages, or the like via a URL, it wants to know where the website visitors come from. Was a paid advertisement clicked? Do they come from a social media post – if so, from which platform? Was the link spread by an influencer as part of an advertising campaign? All of this can be captured with campaign tracking – and so, over the course of a (marketing) campaign, the Return on Investment (ROI) can be estimated.

But how does one proceed? A common method is to attach so-called UTM parameters to the link. This can then be assigned to the source of the visitor in common analysis tools, such as Google Analytics. Specifically, it looks like this for a URL:

This link can now be packaged into a Facebook post, for example. If clicked, the analysis tool will record the source as facebook, the medium as social, and the campaign as spring-sale-2020. Likewise, one can also send a link via newsletter. In this case, the source utm_source could be, for example, newsletter and the medium utm_medium accordingly email:

If one can assign a “value” to individual website visitors via configured conversions, it is possible to assign a Return on Investment to each campaign.

To easily create individual campaign links, there are tools like the Campaign URL Builder, for example. If you do not want the UTM parameters to be directly visible, you can shorten the links using a URL shortener before distribution. Here, one can either use well-known solutions like, or set up a corresponding service on one’s own site.

In the long term, it is sensible to consider a sensible convention for naming the medium, source, and campaign, and to stick to it. If you use email as the medium for a newsletter campaign once, mail the next time, and e-mail later, it only unnecessarily complicates the subsequent evaluation.

If you place advertisements via Google Ads, campaign tracking is automatically done for it (provided that automatic tag labeling is active). Here, a gclid parameter is automatically attached for each link click, which can then be used in Google Analytics to assign the call of an advertising campaign.

However, campaign tracking can take place much further than just in the online world. For example, individual URLs (keyword URL shortener) can easily be printed on flyers, mailshots, brochures, or the like. This also allows for easy evaluation.