Google custom URLs creation

I have mentioned previously that a great tip we received on our Google Analytics training was the use of the custom URL tool.

This is tool potentially has great power especially if you know how to use it properly. I am not convinced that I have worked out all the wrinkles yet but am slowly getting there.

The whole point is to create a URL via Google which allows you to track what actions take place on that URL once it is in circulation.

The steps are:

  • Cut and paste in your source URL
  • Choose some unique identifiers for the three fields with asterixs.
  • Create the URL

The genius here is to use at least one identifier that can link together different activities in one campaign.

So if you send out an email use this tool and include the word email plus the campaign name. It you post the same link on Facebook include the word Facebook instead of email. So the result should be that across all your channels, for one campaign, you can see at a glance which vistors came from where. 

My tips for the moment are:

  • test tool first with something innocuous. It can take a few tries to decide which combination of terms work well and show up clearly in GA.
  • as part of your trial make sure you know where your results show up in GA – it should be under the campaigns heading
  • as far as I can tell taking the custom URL and then putting it through Bitly corrupts the references
  • keep a spreadsheet to record the terms that you use, the original URL and the custom one.

I am still testing this tool but it certainly looks handy .

This is how the interface looks:


Click here to view full size

The ten new people I spoke to at GovCamp 2012 #UKGC12

Last year I kicked myself after Govcamp because I tended to talk to the people I already knew.

This year I decided that I would make the effort to be sociable and talk to ten new people – my ten new people challenge!

Here is the list:

1) Phil McAllister from Ofqual communications team who I sat next to right at the begining of the first day. We had a quick chat about publishing in education.

2) Layla Davidson from Southwalk Council. We were sitting on the top of a cabinet in a break-out room discussing data visualisation in local government. I took a picture of the mini cake she was eating. She also mentioned that she had a number of ex-NAO staff working with her.

3) Lydia Tar who was pressing one of the buttons to open the doors to let us out into a corridor. Lydia was a temp whose ‘day job’ is as a personal trainer with people in the expensive parts of London. She had just come back from Cuba hence the nice tan.

4) Chris Osborne @osbornec formerly of ITO world now of ESRI UK I had seen Chris talk at the last Opentech about his data visualisations so it was good to hear about what is was now working on.

5) Helen Olsen the managing director at UKAuthority TV. I cannot say I had heard of this company before so it was useful to find out more from Helen.

6) Ross Lyon @ly0nsd3n from the Scottish Government. We had a great chat over lunch about various bits and pieces. I was particularly fascinated by his description of how they used Yammer – extensively

7) Stuart Bruce and independent consultant who had worked in the past on a couple of Sure Start digital projects.

8) Lauren Lucas from the Local Government Unit – a colleague of Rob Dale. Lauren used to work in local government in east London and we spoke about how councillors wanted to control stuff especially social media.

9) Liane Farrer a strategic communications adviser in the Cabinet Office. Liane new people I knew such as Robin Riley who she used to work with at the Mod.

10) Ade Oshineye from Google+. We had a fascinating chat about how Google+ works, some current developments and of course about the fact the NAO had an account.

I was really pleased because at the end of the day (no the real end of the day not the cliche) I had managed to get to know ten new people, some new stuff and felt slightly smug.

It turned out to be a pretty good icebreaker to say to people ‘I said I would talk to ten new people today – tell me about yourself’

So if I can do it pretty well anyone can.