Mistakes in URL Parameters (Never Internal!)

Mistakes in URL Parameters (Never Internal!)

So I dove into all the facets and tools of Google Analytics. I was really super impressed with the Google URL Builder.

I am thinking of how I can most creatively use Campaign Sources, Mediums, Campaign Names. Oh and whoah lookout, we even have utm_content for differentiating between ads!

Now I’m on to something right? Let’s put these url parameters on our front page and see which internal link or internal banner gets the most clicks. That would be super cool. WRONG! (Here is some data for you.)

Problem 1: The moment a user clicks on your url parameter such as
pr0v.com/?utm_source=mysite&utm_medium=sidebar&utm_content=red&utm_campaign=banner, this immediately removes your true referrer. So if the person came in from Google searching analytics, then we no longer know that. If they came from my email campaign, then I will never know that.

Problem 2: The moment a user clicks on your url parameter then google analytics resets the session of that user. So you have user A landing on your webpage from google. They click your INTERNAL url with parameters and then, low and behold, you have a brand new user coming in from none other than this campaign. This obscures your true traffic source and increments your pageviews! Bad idea.

Question: Why did I do this in the first place?

I did this because I thought I could more easily track my traffic to specific elements on my page.

Question: What is the real solution?

Solution: Use Google Analytics Events to track specific page elements which are important.

Use an Event Category, Event Action, and Event Label on various items. This provides very nice reporting for raw clicks or unique clicks.

Bonus: If you want to track visitors who perform a specific event, then you can assign a custom variable to those users and view their visitor flow, segmented by this custom variable.


So those are my mistakes. What are your mistakes in analytics?


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