How to Track Links with Google Analytics

Laura Caveney
9th February 2022

Looking to track links with Google Analytics? We walk you through the steps to track specific links in campaigns or on landing pages in Google Analytics so you can understand how users flow through your website. 

Google Analytics is a must-have tool for any marketer. It can help you dig deeper into data on the people landing on your website. You can see how your web pages perform, how users find you and use that insight to optimise your content. In fact, we found that 90% of marketers consider Google Analytics their go-to choice for marketing measurement.

But often users go through quite a long customer journey from their first click on your site to a final sale. 

And as part of that journey, they move through your content from the top of the funnel down to the bottom. 

Related: Read more about customer journey tracking through the funnel 

Understanding how users react to your CTAs, whether that’s on your website or in your campaign content is key to learning what pushes users through the funnel and gets them to convert. 

So, in this blog, we’ll teach you: 

Let’s get started!

What is link tracking and what options are available? 

There are a few options when it comes to tracking links in Google Analytics. First up, let’s explore what it actually means to track your links. 

What is link tracking in Google Analytics? 

Link tracking is where you definitively prove what impact set links in set campaigns or content have driven in terms of: 

Within Google Analytics, you can view the overall performance of a specific piece of content. And, you can even break it down by source ie. see page performance for a blog by organic referrals only. 

But you need to go a step further if you want to see the performance of a piece of content that you linked to within an email or another blog for example. There’s no way of breaking down your link traffic by a specific source, so we’re here to teach you how to get around it. 

🚀 Pro Tip 

What do we mean when we say go one step further? Revenue generation of course. Read more about how you can link Google Analytics to your revenue here.

What options exist for tracking links

There are a range of ways you can track links and link activity in Google Analytics. 

These can generally be split into: 

Choosing the right one for you will allow you to put a system in place to better track the specific performance on call to actions within other pieces of content. 

Tracking links with UTM tagging 

The easiest way to track links in Google Analytics is to set up UTM parameters. It’s easy to set up and easy to monitor. Keep reading to learn how to do both. 

✏️ Note

UTM parameters are add-ons to your link that Google Analytics can monitor and harvest data from. It will allow you to specify certain conditions about that link. 

For every new link in a piece of content, whether that’s a link in another blog, a social post or an email, you should use a URL or link builder to create a trackable link. 

Google has created a URL builder where you can create your own trackable URLs so you can track links.

Step 1: Enter the link you want to track.

google url builder - add url

Step 2: Add the three main parameters that you’ll want to track.

Source: This tells Google where traffic is coming from
Medium: This tells Google what kind of source it’s coming from, so paid, social, or email as examples
Name: This is (obviously) whatever you’re naming your campaign. Try to make it simple but distinct enough that you don’t get campaigns confused.

Google Analytics link tracker

As you type these three data pieces in, you’ll see that a URL being auto-generated.

You can also add in campaign medium or term, which are simply two extra boxes to allow you to differentiate between links and their purpose. This is particularly helpful for A/B testing.

Step 3: Click on “Copy URL” and paste it into your email newsletter (ad, social, etc…) instead of your regular “untagged” link.

Trackable UTM link in Google Analytics


Where to track UTM campaigns in Google Analytics

If you’re looking how to track UTM links in Google Analytics, then this is pretty easy too. You simply need to head to acquisition – campaigns.

Google Analytics acquisition campaigns report

✏️ Note

Ruler Analytics allows you to track UTM link performance too. You can break it down by each field; source, campaign and content. This allows you to group campaign content easier to see how larger content pushes are working, and to get more visibility on how channels and content types are working to drive more leads and revenue.

Learn more about what data you can see in Ruler, here. 

Here, you’re going to see how many visits you received from your campaign, how long they stayed on your website, how many pages on average they visited while they were there, the bounce rate and conversions.

If your website is eCommerce, then you’ll see sales automatically attributed against these links too. This is a great way of proving how bottom of the funnel content, like emails, are working to drive users over the line. 

🚀 Pro Tip 

Don’t have an eCommerce site? Don’t worry. Ruler can join the dots between your offline sales and your online leads. Find out how Ruler Analytics attributes closed sales back to your marketing here. 

Tracking link clicks using Google Tag Manager 

Are you using GA4 yet? 

If yes, here are the instructions for setting up custom link tracking here. 

If you haven’t yet migrated over to GA4, then here’s how to set up Google Tag Manager so you can start tracking links here. 

Once your Google Analytics 4 is set up and running, to set up link tracking, you need to do the following: 

  1. View ‘Data Streams’

    In this view, click on your site and view exactly what you’re tracking on your site. Enhanced measurement should be toggled on automatically.

    If enabled, it will help you to track events like page views, scrolls, file download and more.

  2. Set up custom link clicks

    Link clicking is set up for your site. To track specific links, you’ll need to move to Google Tag Manager. If you don’t already have an account, create one and link it to your website property.

    Once that’s done you’ll wnat to create a trigger to track the custom link.

    You can watch a short video on how to do that, here.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J4feudVguc 

Track more than just link clicks for your campaigns 

Not eCommerce? Linking your sales back to your marketing isn’t easy. In fact, for many marketers, it takes a lot of guesswork. We’ve been there.

Luckily, there’s a way around it.

If you struggle with tracking because of:

Well, we can help. Ruler is a marketing attribution tool.

By integrating your website (using a tool like Ruler), and your preferred marketing apps like GA or ad platforms with Google or Bing, you can start to properly attribute your sales back to the campaigns that influenced them.

Someone visits your website. They clicked on a campaign URL you created. Ruler can scrape and hold onto that data, and pool all of the session data for that person.

When they convert into a lead, whether that’s by phone, live chat or form submission, Ruler will fire the session data over to your CRM (or wherever you’re holding your customer data).

Ruler will continue to track, while you work hard to convert them into a sale.

When that hard work pays off, and you place a revenue against that user, Ruler will scrape it and automatically fire it back into applications like Google Analytics.

track sales leads - closed loop framework - www.ruleranaytics.com

What does that mean?

Well, as well as call tracking, proper monitoring of your form submissions and live chat, you’ll get real data into how your campaigns are impacting your sales.

So say goodbye to guesswork when it comes to reporting!

Find out more about offline conversion tracking by downloading our FREE eBook, or book a demo with us to find out more about how Ruler can help you get true visibility of your leads.

book demo - revenue attribution - www.ruleranalytics.com