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Monitoring your Marketing with Unique URLs

by Chris Smith

Using Google Analytics or a similar web stats package you can see how many people are visiting a particular page or downloading a particular document on your website.

When you're creating a new online marketing campaign it's useful for you to be clear on what web traffic has been generated from a specific activity rather than just look at your overall traffic.

For example, if you were promoting a particular event you might place a link on your website's home page, run an ad on Facebook and do an email to your contacts. It would be very useful to know the effectiveness of each of these activities.

The easiest way to monitor this is to use specific URLs, one for each activity or source.

Instead of adding a normal link to your page, e.g. https://www.yourwebsite.com/event.htm, you can create unique URLs by adding additional information on to the end of the URL. These additional bits of information are called parameters and values. Here are some examples:

https://www.yourwebsite.com/event.htm?src=homepage https://www.yourwebsite.com/event.htm?src=facebook https://www.yourwebsite.com/event.htm?src=email

To introduce additional information you add a question mark "?" to the end and then a parameter name. This can be anything you like. Here I've used "src" short for source. You then have an equals sign "=" and set a value against it. Again, this can be anything you like.

If you're website is database driven your URLs may already have one or more sets of parameters and values in the URL (look for a question mark). If this is the case you simply need to add an ampersand "&" on to the end plus your parameter name, an equals sign "=" and a value. The ampersand is used to join pairs of parameters and values.

By adding further sets of parameters and values to the URL you can get more detailed information back. For example, if your contacts database identified people's sex and you wanted to check whether more men or women were visiting your page you could use the URLs:

https://www.yourwebsite.com/event.htm?src=email&sex=male https://www.yourwebsite.com/event.htm?src=email&sex=female

You can use this URL monitoring to see which activities are working for you and which are providing the best value for money and return on investment.