Tag and Shorten Your URLs in Bulk for Better Google Analytics Data
OK, you wrote a killer new article for your company, and you want to share it with the world. So, you tweet it, you post it on Facebook, and you copy it to LinkedIn. Then you email it to everyone else in your company, because you want them to read it and share it with people as well. One week later, you check out your analytics, and you see a spike in traffic. Great, people like your article.
Then you think, “I wonder how many people got to my article via Facebook,” and “I wonder how many people found the link via my Facebook page, and how many found it via my colleagues’.” With proper UTM tagging, you’ll be able to answer these questions.
Unfortunately, tagging is a little cumbersome, especially when you want to tag your article differently for different sources and media. Let’s say you have 10 people on your team that you’ll ask to help get the word out, and you want your posts to go out to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In that case, you have 30 different tagged URLs to create. Not fun. To make matters worse, your URLs all have all the UTM values and parameters in plain sight. Nothing says “I’m watching you” like a tagged URL.
Fortunately, we’ve got a little tool that will make these problems go away. The steps below show you how to create your very own Google Docs spreadsheet for URL tagging and shortening based on a template we created to make it nice and easy. With the template and a Bitly account, you can quickly tag any number of URLs in no time.
Step 1. (Skip if you already have an account with Bitly)
Log in to your Bitly account, and go to your account settings page. Scroll down to where you see “API Key”, and copy the entire string in the text box just below.
Open the URL tagging and shortening spreadsheet template and make a copy (File > Make a Copy).
On the settings sheet of your spreadsheet, enter your Bitly username and the API key you copied in step 2.
Switch to the shortener section of the spreadsheet by clicking on “Shortener” in the bottom left side of the page. Replace the values on row 3, columns B through F, with the values you want to use. You’ll probably want to keep row 2 (which has example values) as is, so you can refer back to it.
Select row 3, columns B through I, and drag the selection down for as many rows as URLs you need (hint: multiply the number of people you want to help you share the article by the number of places you want to encourage them to share it)
Right now, all the rows are exactly the same. Go through the rows and update the Last Name, First Name, and Source columns with the appropriate values. Source should be the sharing method (e.g., Facebook). Last Name and First Name are the names of the people who’ll be sharing the article. You’ll probably want to leave the Campaign and URL values the same for every row.
Send the URLs out to your team and ask them to use the appropriate URL for sharing.
See who’s clicking! Go to your analytics page, click Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns. Once people start clicking your URLs, assuming you left the campaign name as “blog,” you’ll see a blog link and the related statistics for the campaign. You can drill down further into the analytics to see which accounts are getting the best results, by clicking the blog link.
And that’s all…well, except for writing awesome articles. Let us know how it goes.