URL Tracking is the process of adding unique parameters to your destination URLs to better measure how effective specific campaigns are with respect to organic vs. paid marketing.
URL Tracking in Sprout Social makes it seamless to append tracking data to the links you post from Sprout so that you can easily identify your social traffic in Google Analytics. Define campaigns upfront and let Sprout automatically generate the relevant URL parameters, instead of requiring your team to use an additional tool like Google’s URL Builder to generate rich destination URLs each time. It is available on our Enterprise plan.
Note: URL Tracking can be configured by Account Owners. A Google Analytics accounts is required to make effective use of this feature. However, it is not necessary to connect the Google Analytics account to Sprout for this feature to function properly.
In Settings -> Business Settings, under URL Tracking, define the:
Domain: defines which URLs to consider for URL tagging. When a URL using the domain entered is identified, the appropriate UTM parameters will automatically be added. This is based on an exact match of the specified domain.
Example: If the domain entered is 'www.mustbepresent.com,' UTM parameters will only be attached when the link 'www.mustbepresent.com' is entered into the compose window. 'mustbepresent.com' without the subdomain 'www' is treated as a separate link and would not have UTM parameters included.
Campaign Name: defines the utm_campaign parameter that will be attached to the URL. This is a required field.
Medium: defines the utm_medium paremeter. The default is 'social' unless otherwise changed.
Source: defines the utm_source parameter. If left unchanged, the default is based on the network(s) selected in the compose window. The format is as follows:
- Twitter only: utm_source=twitter
- Facebook only: utm_source=facebook
- Google+ only: utm_source=googleplus
- LinkedIn personal profile only: utm_source=linkedin
- LinkedIn company page only: utm_source=linkedin_company
- Multiple networks (any combination): utm_source=multiple
Hover over the added domain to see an example of the URL that will be generated with the tracking code.
In this example, Sprout wants to track traffic from their social channels to the site www.mustbepresent.com for the announcement of our Must Be Present engagement campaign.
The tracking code is appended to a URL once it is shortened with bit.ly. The tracking code appended will be in the following format:
utm_source: We decided not to customize the source field, so it will change dynamically based on what social networks we publish to. In this case, the source is 'twitter' because this post will be published to a Twitter profile, so any traffic coming in from this post can be attributed to Twitter as the social source in Google Analytics.
utm_medium: We stuck with the default value of 'social' because the traffic will result from a post to one of your social channels via Sprout.
utm_campaign: Campaign is generated from the Campaign Name setting that the company Owner defines in Settings.
utm_content: The unique Sprout message identifier that is appended to the URL (these can be viewed on hover in Sent Messages)
Within Google Analytics, navigate to Reporting -> Acquisition -> Campaigns to view your URL Tracking data. Sort and analyze campaign data by Campaign, Source, Medium, or Content (Ad Content) parameters to evaluate the performance and ROI of your social campaigns sent from Sprout.
Here are some other common use cases for URL Tracking:
- A company wants to easily roll up all social traffic to their domain from posts made from Sprout within Google Analytics so that they can see it as a single channel.
- A marketing manager asks a community manager to promote the launch of a new product and wants to make it easy to track conversions on the new website without the community manager having to think about it at all.
- A community manager wants to compare the conversions occurring as a result of posting to individual networks at one time, vs. multiple.
- If a customer is running one campaign at a time (seasonal or ongoing), or running multiple campaigns to different microsites, this works great. However if they have multiple campaigns driving back to the same domain at the same time, they will not be able to track all of the campaigns.