Google Analytics Campaign Tracking Pt. 2: The EpikOne Link Tagging Tool

In Part 1 of this series I explained that Google Analytics campaign tracking is based on a technology called link tagging. Link tagging is the process of adding business information to the URLs that we use in our on-line ads. But how do we actually tag these links? Some marketing campaigns can have hundreds, or thousands, of destination URLs. Google has provided a tool for us called the URL Builder. It’s great if you only have one or two links to tag, but it can’t handle hundreds of links.

To manage our link tagging effort we’ve created a tool in Google Spreadsheets that automatically generates tagged destination URLs. All you need to do is fill in the values for the Google Analytics tracking variables and a built in formula does the rest. Here’s a link to the file. Please help yourself :)

EpikOne Link Tagging Tool

How to Use The Tool

1. Click on the above link to open the Google Spreadsheet. Once open, use the menu in the top left corner (File > Export >xls) to export the file to your hard drive.

2. Once you have the file on your machine, open it using MS Excel.

3. Delete all the demo data in the file EXCEPT the equation in cell G8. Cell G8 contains the equation that does all the work.

4. Enter your campaign information into the corresponding columns. Enter a dash (-) for all variables that you are not using. You should always use the campaign, medium and source variables.

5. Add the destination URL to the destination URL cell. Don’t worry if your destination URL already contains query string variables, the tool is smart enough to handle them.

6. Cell G8 will automatically build your destination URL.

7. Continue entering your campaign data in new rows.

8. Copy the formula in cell G8 to other rows. The tagged destination URL will be created automatically.

After you have your destination URLs you can paste them into your on-line ads.

Let me know if you find this tool useful or a complete pain in the as*. Got a better tool and feel like sharing? Post a comment below!

*** Note: EpikOne assumes no liability for those that choose to use this file. ***

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    1. says

      If the Campaign Term or Name have spaces in them. It seems like yahoo search marketing doesnt accept the url that the link tagging tool generates. I just thought I would let you know.

    2. Marc says

      WOW! Awesome tool guys, I was searching for some good infos about analytics and I think I found the perfect site for that… Thanks again for this tool! It will save me TONS!!!!! of work :D :D :D :D

    3. says

      Hi Justin,

      I just finished your GA book and I wanted to thank you for all your insights. Pretty useful stuff!

      On another note, I wanted your 2 cents on a tracking issue: I always manually tag my links to get better control, but one types of report (The position report for Adwords which seems very useful) isen’t accessible when you tag links manually. Is there a way we can still use that types of report?

      Thank you for your time,


    4. says

      Hi Julien,

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the book.

      Great question. I’m not 100% sure of the answer. I believe that the manually tagging should not break the keyword position report. However, I believe that the values you use in the query string parameters must match the values in AdWords (campaign name, keyword value, etc.).

      Let me know how it works.

    5. says

      Do I need to be a subscriber to access the spreadsheet you have created? I get an access denied error.

      Thanks, Stephen

      BTW, I sure appreciate your articles. I’m just getting into the whole world of GA and am finding it much easier than I expected as a result of helps such as yours.

    6. zsabc says

      Okay, now think I deleted my original post/with question instead of submitting it, so here is my question again. If you already have it, just delete this post.

      My problem is visible when I look at my Analytics reports, specifically when I go into Traffic/Adwords/AdwordsCampaigns, then select a specific adgroup and segment by url. In this adgroup-level report I see urls for all of my ads with revenue and other stats. So far so good. My problem is that I also see urls for other adgroups, sometimes with revenue and other stats too.

      Theoretically, the whole point for these reports is so you can see your ROI for given adgroups. If revenue from other adgroups is included, then the report is inaccurate.

      My adwords account is set on auto tagging. I also have manual tags for most urls (I know you are saying aha – that is the problem, but just hear me out). My query strings are not in the new post-Analytics format (e.g.: utm_campaign=X&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc). They are all in the format I used before Analytics came about (e.g.: source=google&campaign=X&adgroup=Y1). I did not think that retaining these old querystrings would be problematic. I thought that because they are not in the new format, analytics would ignore them/be unable to read them (and I could refer to them in the landing page reports to compare ad performance). Am I completely wrong? Do I have to remove ALL querystrings if I have autotagging on?

      Thanks for your time,

    7. says

      Hi zsabc,

      It sounds like you’ve tried to link an MMC account to your Analytics account. This would result in ALL AdWords campaigns appearing in your AdWords reports. You can only link a single, standard AdWords account to a single Analytics account.

      To fix this issue you need to contact Google Analytics support ad ask them to unlink that account. Then you can relink your GA account to the correct AdWords account.



    1. […] I’ve spent the afternoon playing with Google Docs to make a form-based tool so you can create your own campaign tagged links. My spreadsheet relies very very heavily on the excellent work of Justin Cutroni over at EpikOne. The main changes to his original link tagger are that I modified it for use with Google Forms so it’s slightly more automated. […]

    2. […] Il s’avère qu’il ya un outil gratuit dans la boîte à outils Google, que vous pouvez utiliser pour rendre ces liens spéciaux, appelé : outil de création d’URL. Si vous avez juste un ou deux liens à convertir, il est idéal. Si vous avez plusieurs liens à suivre, utilisez la technique décrite sur ce blog (en anglais) […]

    3. […] Il s’avère qu’il ya un outil gratuit dans la boîte à outils Google, que vous pouvez utiliser pour rendre ces liens spéciaux, appelé : outil de création d’URL. Si vous avez juste un ou deux liens à convertir, il est idéal. Si vous avez plusieurs liens à suivre, utilisez la technique décrite sur ce blog (en anglais) […]

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