Tracking Your Print Ad Performance (part 1)

You’re probably promoting your business in a number of ways and if you want to make sure that you’re getting value from these efforts you need to be able to monitor them.

You’ll be using web stats to measure your websites exposure, but to really investigate your sites visitors you need more advanced analysis features such as those provided by Google Analytics.

This article is the first of two parts discussing how you can use Google Analytics along with a dedicated domain to track how many visitors arrive at your website from your print adverts.

Google Analytics provides options to track your advertising campaigns.

The first step to setting this up is to set up a campaign using Google’s URL Builder. We’ll use Google’s URL Builder to set up a unique URL that will direct visitors to your desired web page whilst also supplying a unique tracking code to Google Analytics so that it can count the campaign responses.

The URL Builder can be found at http://support.google.com/googleanalytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en-GB&answer=55578 and is shown below.

Screenshot of Google's URL Builder

Website URL: Enter the address of the web page that you want the link to direct visitors to e.g. http://www.westraywebdesign.co.uk for my Home Page if desired you can direct visitors to a specific page by entering its full URL Here e.g. http://www.westraywebdesign.co.uk/news .

Campaign Source: They suggest referrer here and this is assuming that the link is web based, it needn’t be so this field is just the name of the source e.g. ‘Visit Scotland’.

Campaign Medium: Again they give online based examples of cpc, banner and email, it needn’t be. In our example this would be ‘Print’

Campaign Term: is optional and we don’t need it here so we’ll ignore it.

Campaign Name: Is just an arbitrary name for this advertising campaign e.g. ‘Visit Scotland Promo 2012’

Once these field have all be filled completed click on the Generate URL button to generate a unique URL that we can use to allow Google Analytics to track this ad/link.

Using the examples above gives us –

http://www.westraywebdesign.co.uk/?utm_source=Visit%2BScotland&utm_medium=Print&utm_campaign=Visit%2BScotland%2BPromo%2B2012

Now this is an awfully long URL to expect anyone to have to enter into a browser!

Keep in mind that this tool is intended to track online advertising where one could use a html anchor link to link shorter text such as ‘visit our site’ to link to this URL.

But we’re talking about tracking print adverts, so how will we use this unwieldy URL to track our print ad in say, the Visit Scotland brochure?

We’ll do it using a dedicated domain name, often referred to as a vanity domain name and I’ll cover how to do this in part 2 of Tracking Your Print Ad Performance.