Campaign Tracking with Google Analytics – Banner Ads


The university recently ran an ‘open house’ campaign, where we opened the doors of the university for potential students to have a look around and, hopefully, choose to come and study with us.

We used, among other things, banner adverts to reach out to the students on a bunch of different websites. There were two vendors, one sold us space on a newspaper site and the other sold us space on about a 100 sites focused on our target group (people aged 17-25).

This was the first time this university had tried this, so to measure the success we used the campaign tracking functionality in Google Analytics. This meant using the Google URL builder to add the appropriate tags to the landing page URL. So here’s the first tip – check with your advertising vendor that your URL will not be broken by whatever tracking software they are using.

The results were striking, they showed that the newspaper site (which cost by far the most) sent us the least traffic while the youth focused sites drove over a 1000 new visitors (which, you may say, sounds a little low – but it’s a start). So far, so what, as this kind of information is what we’d usually get from the vendor. However, we can do a few extra things, which we could not have done otherwise:

  • Judge how well the landing page performed for these visitors
  • Track the conversions of these visitors against goals of the website e.g. enrolment, pdf downloads, enquiries
  • Gather additional data, such as geographical location of the visitors and whether they were new to the site

This is all good stuff, as it puts another piece in the puzzle of where our website fits in with all the other marketing stuff we’re doing…