How Do I Track Results    


“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” - Winston Churchhill

It’s always been difficult to track effectiveness of some marketing efforts, but now with Google Places and Google Analytics, there are so many new options.  I totally understand that you desire to run your business, but you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t care about your marketing efforts, so why not maximize them!  Tracking marketing efforts are part of the basic tenants of operating a business.  Tracking takes the “gut-feel” out of making a decision and makes decision-making a data-driven process.  With Google Places and Google Analytics, it’s super easy to perform tracking tasks.  As described in chapter 2, there are two types of tracking mechanisms covered in this document:
  • Campaign Tracking / Tags or UTM Tracking (beginner) - Google’s method that integrates with Google Analytics
  • Direct Urls (advanced) - Setting up your tracking code in separate html pages that track and redirect using advance url rewriting.
I’ll review how each of these tracking mechanisms can be used, so you can choose which is best for you to maximize your Google Place efforts.  First, a simple comparison. Both methods use links to drive customers to a landing page. Campaign tags are longer and less attractive and direct urls are shorter and intuitive, and may covert better, but are more complex to enable.

What are campaign tags?  According to Google, “Campaign tags are additional information that you apply to links. Once a link is clicked, the tag information is passed to Google Analytics. Tagged links allow business owners to evaluate the performance of individual links within and campaign.”   Other campaigns might include links but will not be deployed via email, so why limit campaign tagging just for email campaigns.  Facebook, twitter, should also be considered.
Using campaign tags will add some extra variables on the url, but is essential for tracking your campaigns. There are some purists that think decorated urls are less attractive and result in fewer customer clicks. For example, if your url is, it would have three variables added; utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign, and would appear like Having a short url is essential if your marketing advertisement will be in print or on tv since it's clear few would type a long url into a browser address bar.  Purists, step aside. Most people don't care what the link looks like, just what is in the link text.
Jakob Nielson said in 1999 concerning long vs short urls [3] - "The URL will continue to be part of the Web user interface for several more years, so a usable site requires:a domain name that is easy to remember and easy to spell, short URLs, easy-to-type URLs, URLs that visualize the site structure, URLs that are "hackable" to allow users to move to higher levels of the information architecture by hacking off the end of the URL, persistent URLs that don't change"
I'm sorry Jakob. While this was a great thought, I think you failed to see search engines coming into town and making it easy for everyone to find things. Most people use a search engine to find things. They don't memorize the entire hierarchy of their favorite websites. With all due respect, Jakob, maybe it's because everyone didn't know about Alert Box and failed to take your advise.
There are multiple ways to achieve tracking by using a short url; a basic method and an advanced method. The basic method requires the use of a url shortening service. The advanced method requires the knowledge of redirects. The implementation of this can be tricky, but the reason is clear. To obtain a clean url. One, more likely, to be clicked on by your customers.  
There are many urls shortening services on the internet. If you already use one, then continue to use that service, however, if they do not offer tracking please find another service. I recommend the use of Google's url shortening service called Here's a screen shot of the interface.
Just paste in the long, decorated url which includes allow the utm tracking information, and Google will provide a shortened url for your users to consume. Best of all, this link will be short and can be tracked, so you'll know how many times and when people click it. even offers a QR code. See the interface below.

The other, advanced method, of tracking which requires redirects can be implemented many ways depending on the server software you use. There's the http redirect meta tag and mod_write on apache, and other solutions, but some are complicated. For that reason, I'm not going to get into the specifics for this type of tracking. Especially, if the audience for this book is retail store owners.

UTM tracking takes the least amount of steps to setup and provides the best value since its so simple to setup and is directly integrated with Google Analytics.  Even better, if you have Google Analytics transaction tracking installed and running, ROI will be calculated for your compaigns.
To get started tracking with UTM links, use the UTM Builder form to build your links and they will show up in your Google Analytics.
Another way is to learn about new tracking methods. Just sign up for Google Places email updates. When in the Google Places Admin console, click the settings tab and select the email options for emails you wish to receive. Options include performance updates, feature announcements, Google Market research, special offers, and newsletters.
With so many ways to track results there should be no excuse for tracking results, repeating successful marketing initiatives, and trying new ones.

Chapter 5 References -

[1] -
[2] -


What is Campaign Tracking?
Google Analytics accurately tracks visitors from a source, such as a search engine or email link, to a conversion or transaction on your site.


What a tracking URL?
A tracking URL is a special URL or Uniform Resource Locator that is used to track certain elements when a link is clicked on. Tracking URLs are most frequently used in paid advertising, to learn where clicks on links are coming from, conversion rates from visitors to customers, and other aspects of pay per click advertising that can be adjusted to draw and cultivate the desired results of a paid inclusion campaign. A tracking URL is generally a unique or specially designed to track the elements of a paid campaign, and can trace a number of different elements which can include:

1) The search engine where the visitor clicked on the tracked link

2) What keywords were used in the search query that ended with the visitor clicking on the link

3) What match type was triggered by the search query

Source - Brick Marketing