Online marketing can offer a plethora of benefits to your brand recognition, website traffic and even sales. It can attract prospects to your website or specific landing pages where they are encouraged (or enticed) to fill in a form and complete a desired action e.g. fill in a form, register for an event, contact you directly, etc. The efforts laid to generate this traffic can be applied in a multitude of places such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn groups, blog post, emails, print ad, direct mail, etc. So how do you know which channels resulted in the most action and which channels may not be worth your time – next time? You track your efforts.

It’s not difficult, but it can be time consuming. If you are not currently using a CRM or Marketing Automation software that tracks for you, you can set this up manually through Google Analytics. By doing this you can see where your visitors are coming from and what they do while they are there. It’s not foolproof and there are always restrictions on the level of information that you can scrape, but by altering the links that you share on each channel, you can begin to measure behavior more accurately. This can be helpful in budget allocation and ad spending on channels.

There are some pretty amazing articles to how to set-up UTM parameters to track your activities. A few I found helpful are:

But before you start laying down code you really need to do a little planning first. Specifically, you should be answering a few questions. The below questions will help you focus your tracking on what matters:

  1. What are your objectives?
  2. What are your goals?
  3. What are the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)?
  4. What are your targets?

Once you have a clear direction you can begin with naming your campaign and planning out your tracking. Naming should be consistent. Try to think ahead and imagine tracking future campaigns, telling this one apart from others, etc. You’ll want it to be clear and succinct.

Lastly, you should plan on doing a week or so of testing to get the kinks out. Learn how to read the data that comes back and plan on how you are going to report this new information. Any ‘live’ campaign in Google Analytics should be monitored closely.

NOTE: Those tracking URLs can be quite lengthy so you might want to shorted them through bitly or before sharing. And I would recommend keeping a spreadsheet of the campaign URLs with tracking results.

Carolyn Bergshoeff is the founder of WindWater Marketing, a small business marketing firm in Toronto, Canada. Carolyn helps small businesses create, manage, track and measure their campaigns to help make better decisions. Visit or email