How to Create and Track Vanity URLs Using Google Analytics

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Analytics, Digital Marketing, SEO How to Create and Track Vanity URLs Using Google Analytics

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Vanity URL

 

Have you ever wondered how brands track their offline advertising (TV, radio, newspaper) on their website? One way is to create a vanity URL. I’ll explain what is it, how to create it, and how to track it using Google Analytics.

What is a Vanity URL?

A Vanity URL is a custom web address that redirects your visitor to a specific domain. They are usually short and descriptive, and can easily be recognized as part of your business’ branding. They are used for the sole purpose of tracking offline campaigns (TV, radio, print and display ads).  The reason the custom URL is essential is because it allows the marketer to differentiate when someone finds your business online by typing your website directly versus someone who finds it through a TV ad by typing the vanity URL that was in the ad. Vanity URLs also allow you to measure the performance of the offline campaigns which is very important for marketers.

How to Create and Track Vanity URLs

Thanks to Google Analytics, you will be able to get a specific report on your offline campaigns that uses the selected vanity URL. But first, let’s create a URL and make it trackable.

1. Buy Vanity URL

Just as you would buy a domain name for your website, you’ll buy one for your vanity use. Go to GoDaddy or 1&1 or Hover and make sure the domain you want is available and buy it.

2. Create a URL that is Trackable

After buying the vanity URL, you’ll need to make sure that it will trackable, here’s how:

Go to Google’s URL Builder tool and make sure to setup your UTM correctly by:

  • Making sure you fill out these required fields: Website URL, Campaign Source,Campaign Medium. The Campaign Name and Campaign Content fields are optional.
  • Click on Generate URL and you are good to go, you’ve just created your new Destination URL!

For more information on campaign tracking, enjoy the reading here!

3. Redirect or Forward the Trackable URL to the URL to which you are trying to send Visitors

Go to the site where you purchased the vanity URL and log in. In the account settings for that URL, either select the “redirect” or “forward to” option. Paste the campaign tracking URL you created with Google’s URL Builder.

4. Create an Offline Campaign Google Analytics Report 

It is important to get a report with data from your offline marketing campaign. With Google Analytics it is easy to do so, here’s how:

  • Go to Google Analytics
  • Select the website account for which you’re setting up a vanity URL
  • On the left hand column, go to “Dashboards” and Click on “New Dashboard”
  • Select “Starter Dashboard” and name it it something specific, like “Denver TV Ads.” Click “Create Dashboard.”
  • In the “New Users” widget, click the edit pencil to open its settings.
  • To see only new visits from the vanity URL  click “Add a Filter” under “Filter this Data.”
  • Leave “Only Show” as-is. Click the drop-down menu to its right, type in or type “Full Referrer” and click it. Leave “Containing” as-is, and then type “TV” in the empty field beside it. Then click “Save.”
  • Do the same for all your other widgets like “Visits by Location,” goal completions, time on page, bounce rate, and other important metrics you would like to keep track of.

5. Final step before launching the campaign: Test It!

Before you launch your offline campaign make sure to type in your vanity URL, and then check your dashboard’s real-time analytics to make sure everything’s working.

Now, get ready to rock that campaign!

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