Adding Accountability to Offline Marketing with URL Tracking
Vanity URLS (like those used in TV, print, etc) can, and should, be tracked in Google Analytics to add accountability to offline marketing. With that in mind we decided to put together a step-by-step guide to effectively tracking vanity URLs. This is a critical component for online marketers looking to add accountability to marketing efforts for their clients.
There are some good references out there, including this one by Avinash Kaushik but I thought a step-by-step process for tracking vanity URLs was in order for the SEOs out there who are looking for a way to get it done. So here we go.
Vanity URL Tracking: Introduction
First, just to clarify, we’re talking about tracking a URL, typically used in traditional advertising like print, radio, and TV, that points to your main website URL. For this post we’ll say you’re company is Widget Blaster and your main website is WidetBlaster.com. You’ve decided to use a vanity URL, WidgetsXYZ.com for a TV spot that’s about to drop. The WidgetsXYZ.com URL is going to redirect to the main site, WidgetBlaster.com. The issue is, just setting up a 301 redirect or domain forwarder through your hosting company isn’t going to pass on the tracking information you need. You may also want to reuse this URL later for a different marketing effort. This is where vanity URL tracking comes in handy.
Now that we know which URL we want to track and where the vanity URL will point, we can begin the process of setting up vanity URL tracking.