Facebook campaign tracking with Google Analytics

Facebook+ Google Analytics

Fanbooster guest blogger Katrine Skodven Johannessen shares her beginners’ guide to tracking Facebook campaigns with Google Analytics and UTM tags.

Do you run Facebook ads without tracking the campaigns in Google Analytics? You could be missing out on a lot of really helpful information. By tracking an activity/campaign on Facebook you can follow the users’ actions all the way to the conversion, or even analyze the lack of conversion. Campaign tracking is crucial when you optimize your campaign through A/B testing.

You’ll find a lot of data in the basic Facebook Insights, and in systems like Fanbooster – both for ads and for Facebook Pages. The challenge is to know what happened after the user left Facebook and landed on your website. By using Google Analytics you’ll get a far better overview over the user behavior on your website, and thus on why you did, or did not, get business out of the visits.

Let’s say you run a shoe store and have started two campaigns on Facebook. The first (a) focuses on “20% discount on children’s shoes”, and the other (b) on “free shipping”. When you set up these campaigns in Facebook, you include a link directing people into the online store. Without campaign tracking, it will be hard to know which data belongs to which of the two campaigns. Some of the visits to your website may also come from older campaigns, or just organic posts – that have nothing to do with these two (a and b) campaigns. This will get chaotic if you don’t use campaign names and tracking codes.

Google Analytics source/mediumWithout campaign tracking, the campaigns will look like this in Analytics. As you may see, not very precise, and especially not if you have also shared other links on Facebook – which you probably have at some point.

It’s difficult to separate between the different sources when they’re all labeled “referral”. Join me in the second part for my explanation on how to set up a tracking code:)


How to set up a tracking code

To track a Facebook campaign in Analytics you need to make a new URL where you add a UTM code. A UTM code may contain info like: Campaign name, medium (type of ad), and source (i.e. Facebook). For the shoe example above, advertising free shipping, it makes sense to add freeshipping-01.01.2016 as campaign name, cpc as medium, and Facebook as source. The trackable link could then look like this: www.shoes.com/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=frifrak-01.01.2016

When you add the different parameters in the UTM builder, it’s easy to put in the same info on several campaigns. If you do that, Analytics won’t be able to separate between your campaigns, which is why it’s smart to add a date to the campaign name.

Facebook has its own URL builder, which you can use to make a new campaign URL.


Google Analytics URL Builder

You only need to type in the original URL, the source (channel), medium (type of ad), and make a campaign name. And voilà, you’ve got a new URL which you can use in your campaign.

The link might end up very long, but you can fix this with a URL shortener. Copy the tracking code, paste it into the URL shortener, and in seconds, you’ve got a new, shorter, URL that you can share. Bit.ly is a classic link shortener service. Fanbooster’s fb.st also works great. Read more about URL shorteners

Google Analytics has loads of functionality that will help you analyze your campaigns. The next step is to set up more advanced conversion tracking. More on that in a later post.