Tracking Your Print Ad Performance (part 2)

In part 1 of Tracking Your Print Ad Performance we looked at how to use Google URL Builder to generate a unique tracking URL.

In part two of Tracking Your Print Ad Performance we will look at how to get round the horribly long URL provided by the Google URL Builder and make it person friendly by using a vanity URL.

A vanity URL is a domain name registered for the specific purpose of being used a s a redirect to another site. Typically the vanity URL is a more human friendly version of another perhaps longer URL or web address.

You could set up as many Vanity URLs as you wish and set them all to point to the same website or page.

We will be doing this, combined with the URL that we got from the Google URL Builder in part 1, to provide a user friendly URL that we can include in our print advert that will take people responding to the ad to our website whilst allowing to track that fact that they are responding to the print ad.

So we have our URL from part 1 below –

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

Next we need to register a vanity domain.

What should we use for this domain name?

Well, for your business domain you probably chose a domain name that reflected your business, in my case www.westraywebdesign .co.uk. This is a good name for my website as it is search engine optimised (that’s another story) but may not be the best for my print ad as it is a little bit long.

Another reason I don’t want to use this URL in my print ad is that I want to be able to separately track who many people respond to the ad.

My vanity ad doesn’t need to be search engine optimised as Google et al with never see it as it a print advert.

So, I need to choose something that is easy for people to remember from the advert.

Let’s say westweb.co.uk.

That’s an easy URL for people to remember, but let’s just take it a little further. Suppose we might want to run this ad in a few different places and want to track them all individually, also keep in mind the possibility of future ad campaigns.

Do let’s go with westweb2.co.uk.

I’ve chosen 2 instead of 1 as 1 is easy to mistake for uppercase i or lowercase l.

We’ve chosen our domain name (URL) all we have to do now is register the domain name with a registration service such as 123-REG and then using the domain management panel set the domain forwarding to point the domain to the URL we generated with the Google URL builder.

Now when people type westweb2.co.uk (feel free to try it) into their browser they will be directed to my Home Page but importantly Google Analytics will record the hit as a separate entry in the Campaigns section showing that the referral was from Visit Scotland, the medium was print and the campaign name was Visit Scotland Promo 2012 (all this information was entered when building the URL in Google’s URL builder).

So now if I want to place an ad in some other print publication say The Orcadian all I have to do is use Google’s URL Builder again with the new information say,

Campaign Source: The Orcadian

Campaign Medium: Print

Campaign Name: Orcadian Web Design Feature

to generate a new tracking URL.

Next I need to register a new vanity domain say, westweb3.co.uk and redirect that to the URL obtained above and I can start tracking responses to the feature in The Orcadian.

So, that’s about it.

Well, you may want to add a QR code to the ad as well.

If you are using print advertising and would like to track the responses but think that this all sounds too complicated I’d be very happy to be able to help you set it all up. Just send me an enquiry with your requirements and I would be happy to provide advice and cost.