Tracking URLs are incredibly useful devices that allow you to determine the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. You should use tracking URLs when you're directing traffic to a landing page from somewhere other than a call-to-action on your own site, like an email blast, PPC campaign, banner ad, and so forth.
*Note: If you are using HubSpot to send your email blasts and/or lead nurturing campaigns, you don't need to create tracking URLs for the links in these emails. It automatically happens for you, like magic. MAGIC.
This article will walk you through how to create and implement tracking URLs.
1. Understand what a Tracking URL is
A tracking URL is a normal URL with a "token" attached to the end of it.
- Normal URL: http://www.hubspot.com/inbound-marketing-assessment-product/
- Tracking URL (token is bolded): http://www.hubspot.com/inbound-marketing-assessment-product/?utm_campaign=examples-assessment
When visitors come from a tracking URL, HubSpot's Sources tool sees the token and separates that traffic out so you can see how well it performed. This is what the tracking token "hscm-facebook-ad-master-facebook-10-days-20121101 " looks like inside Sources once traffic is piping through it:
2. Create a Tracking URL for a landing page
A landing page is the most common page to use a tracking URL for, but you can create a Tracking URL for any page with HubSpot tracking code on it (site page or blog post).
Navigate to the Tracking URL Builder
From the HubSpot Marketing Dashboard, navigate to Reports > Reports Home.
Tracking URL Builder
Scroll down and click Tracking URL Builder in the side menu.
Create a New Tracking URL
You'll then be able to create a tracking URL. Select Create a New Tracking URL.
Landing Page URL
Add the URL of the page that you would like to link to. This can be the URL of any page with HubSpot tracking code on it, but for the purposes of this article, we will use a landing page URL.
If your page is hosted over https, you can click the gray box with "http://" to toggle the protocol of the tracking URL to https.
Next, you'll want to choose the campaign name you want visits to this tracking URL to be bucketed under in the Sources Report. You can select an existing campaign from the dropdown menu, or you can create a new campaign by typing in the name of the new campaign and clicking "Create item" option in the dropdown menu.
Keep in mind that the campaign name will be visible to your website visitors in your URL.
The next step is to choose the source that you want visits to this tracking URL to be attributed to in the Sources Report. In the dropdown menu, you can select any of the default sources buckets, like Email or Paid Search.
Once you select the source, you will have more options to add detail to the tracking URL. Depending on which source you select, you will have different options. For example, if you select "Email Marketing", you have the option to enter the name of the email. Based on the source you select, you'll see where HubSpot will bucket traffic to your tracking URL in the Sources Report. For more information on how HubSpot categorizes visits in the Sources Report, check out this article.
Alternatively, you can create your own custom source which would show up under Other Campaigns in the Sources Report.
By toggling the "advanced view" at the bottom right, you can add additional parameters, like a Medium or Term
- Medium - This is an option field that identifies the type of marketing material you track. For sources bucketed under Other Campaigns, the medium is visible when you drill down into a specific Campaign. This is typically the last visible parameter in your tracking URLs that you build in HubSpot.
- Term - This is an option field that isn't used in HubSpot, but can be used in systems like AdWords and Google Analytics to track the keywords in a pay-per-click ad.
- Marketing Action Information - These are like post-its for your analytics. Scroll down and name your event, then select the date the campaign is launching. It will appear as a Marketing Event within the Sources Report, so you can see why there were spikes in traffic/leads on a certain day. This is completely hidden to your website visitors, so go nuts.
Once you have filled out all required fields and any desired optional fields, click Generate, and HubSpot will then generate a new tracking URL for you.
3. Implement your Tracking URL
Copy the Tracking URL that appears, and use that as the hyperlink in your email, your Google Adwords destination URL, your banner ad, etc. You can choose from the shortened link (perfect for social media) or the full tracking link for other purposes like Google Adwords. You can also generate another URL right from this screen by selecting Generate another.
If you plan to use HubSpot tracking URLs in Google AdWords ads, please be sure to use the Full Tracking URL, and not the Shortened Tracking URL. Due to recent changes in AdWords ads, users will now need to use Upgraded URLs. Also, it is imperative that you insert your HubSpot Full Tracking URL into the Final destination field in AdWords ads, not the Destination field. In addition to this, the Final destination field will need to contain the same domain as the landing page URL. For example, if your ad's landing page is http://offers.yoursite.com/demo your Final destination field will need to contain yoursite.com.
4. Share your Tracking URL
Copy the link from your preferred version of the Tracking URL by clicking into the desired box in the Tracking URL builder page.
For example, if you had built a Tracking URL with the source of "LinkedIn" and medium "social" you could use this link a social media post to a LinkedIn Group.
5. Look at your results
Head over to your Report > Sources > Social Media and click on the LinkedIn to see how your tracking URLs are performing.
Scroll down the page to see how many visits/contacts/customers you're seeing from individual tracking URLs.
6. Manage your Tracking URLs
Once you've created some Tracking URLs, you can easily filter by campaign and campaign source on the main screen.
You can also sort by Create Date and search through your URLs using the search bar.
Delete a Tracking URL
To delete a Tracking URL, select the gear icon and Remove From List.
Next Article: How to A/B test landing pages