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Understanding Campaign Links (from a fortune cookie)

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The other day, our family was having dinner at a Chinese restaurant and for the first time, got a fortune cookie with an ad on the back of it. It was for a sleep company called Purple. I was immediately curious if they were tracking this as some kind of experimental campaign or if it was just something fun and novel that a marketer dreamed up. The url on the cookie insert was but if you know anything about urls, there is often more going on… Hmmm what was Purple up to here? is a tool that we have developed which traces the path of URLs. So I typed in to see what it revealed and realized this is way too hard to follow and study in a typical browser bar.

Looking at the results, it turns out there is an actual campaign that their marketing team is tracking and measuring. The link reveals UTM parameters being used in full force…

UTM parameters are simply tags that live on the end of your URL (typically your campaign landing page). When someone clicks on a URL with UTM parameters, those tags are sent back to your Google Analytics property for tracking and useful reporting

Website URL, Source & Medium parameters are always required and with this example we see:

Website =
Source = of (probably to indicate offline)
Medium = pr (probably to indicate public relations)

Since it’s a campaign they want to know even more about, they also used the other 3 optional UTM parameters:

Content = fc (clearly this is for fortune cookie)
Campaign = 44170 (some internal code that means something to somebody in marketing)
Term = br&c3ch=OOH&c3nid=Fortune (not commonly used outside of search campaigns which  is normally to track keywords, it could also be for an ad set or audience but it’s hard to say here)

The point is that you can build your campaign urls to present as very simple (and easy to remember) links to your target audience whether its on the web or in the real world (radio, tv, posters or mail) and then use Google Analytics friendly parameters to redirect that link to any landing page on your site, carrying with it all the good stuff you want to track and report.

Want to easily generate UTM friendly links? Use this free tool by Google to add parameters to URLs so you can track your campaigns in Google Analytics.

And check out Wheregoes, our link tracer tool to understand what’s really going on with links or to make sure they are working on your own campaigns. It’s free to use!

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