Google Analytics Quick Start Guide : Part 3 – Campaign Tracking


Part 1 and Part 2 of the Quick Start Guide showed how to include Google Analytics on your website and how to track internal searches and content links. In the final chapter of the Guide we will look at how to track how users come to your site by the use of Campaign Tracking.  Please note that by default the source that the user comes to your site will be recorded this section explains how to get detailed information about ad tracking.

Understanding the Basics

Google Analytics allows you to tag your urls with 5 parameters for tracking visitors source. The 5 parameters are:

  • Source – The Campaign Source defines where the visitors are coming for these could be email newsletters, websites, etc.
  • Medium – The Campaign Medium defines by what medium they were directed to your site for example, banner ad, email, cpc (cost-per-click)
  • Name – The Campaign Name defines the name of the campaign this link is associated with for example you could be running a Summer Promotion and have various banners and emails in the campaign.
  • Term – The Campaign Term contains the search term the user used to find this link, this is most commonly used for keyword searches
  • Content – The Campaign Content defines information about the content associated with the link. For example if you have 2 different versions of a banner ad that are both part of the same campaign you could have their content set to Version A and Version B to distinguish which banner ad version the visitor clicked on.

How to create the campaign link

To help build your links Google Provides a Link Builder Tool. However to be comprehensive you could create a link manually by replacing -FIELD- with the value for the given field. Also note that you do not need to have all the fields in every link only use what you need.

Please note that the portion before the ? will be swapped with the url of where you would like the user to end up on your site.

Customizing the Campaign Link

In the case that you utilize multiple analytics packages or that you have parameters set up within your website that don’t correlate to the ones above you can modify the parameters associated with the campaign tracking. The API Calls are listed below.

  • Modify Source
    _setCampSourceKey ( “value” )
  • Modify Medium
    _setCampMediumKey ( “value” )
  • Modify Name
    _setCampSourceKey ( “value” )
  • Modify Term
    _setCampTermKey ( “value” )
  • Modify Content
    _setCampContentKey ( “value” )

These calls will have to be made prior to the_trackPageview() call. An example is below.

var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-6713355-1");

The sample url would be”Start Guide”

Understanding Output

To view information obtained from campagin tracking you will need to access the Traffic Sources Reports following the below instructions.

  1. Sign-in to Google Analytics at
  2. Select Account to View
  3. Select View Report for the Profile you want to view
  4. Select Traffic Sources from the left Navigation

Using the sub-reports you will be able to find out details about your campaign. If you select Campaigns you will be able to see how the individual campaigns are doing in relation to each other. Selecting Ad Versions will display information based on the Content parameter.  Last but certainly not last selecting All Traffic Sources will display for you  the Source/Medium combination for your site example / banner.


Be warned that google tracks query urls as seperate pages, this is in the case that your pages contain dynamic content. To filter out query parameters that do not affect content you will need to enter parameters into the Exclude URL Query Parameters in the Edit Profile page by following the below steps.

  1. Return to Analytics Settings Page
  2. Select Edit for the Account Profile
  3. Select Edit for the “Main Website profile Information” section
  4. Enter query info into the “Exclude URL Query Parameters” each parameter separated by a comma, if by example you use a custom source query parameter of “source”, and a custom keyword paramter of “keywords”. you would want to put source, keywords into this
  5. Save Changes
  6. Now pages with different above query parameters will not be saved as separate pages.


That wraps up the Google Analytics Quick Start Guide.  You should now know how to set-up and gather analytics on your site including tracking of content links, site searching, and advertising campaigns.  There are many more features available within Google Analytics so don’t hesitate to explore or simply stay tuned for additional advanced articles.

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