How to Track Links with Google Analytics 4

Laura Caveney
9th August 2022

Want to understand who is clicking on what when it comes to marketing collateral? We walk you through how to track link clicks in Google Analytics so you can better determine what content is driving results. 

Google Analytics is a must-have tool for any marketer. 

It helps you better understand the impact of your website and how your marketing channels work to drive footfall to your site. 

Measuring your marketing impact is essential. And 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. 

🚀 Pro Tip 

Not sure how to track, or even understand customer journeys? Read our guide to the customer journey stages plus how to track them

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 click tracking?

As a marketer, you likely use your different channels to drive users to a certain action. 

On social media, it might be driving users to a particular landing page. 

Or you might want to see what people are downloading and viewing on your site. 

No matter what the marketing collateral is, chances are there are links. 

And the issue you have is being able to track those links. 

Google Analytics doesn’t offer visitor-level analytics, which means you can’t pinpoint a user that clicked a social media link and then converted. 

And that means you can’t fully understand their complete customer journey. 

But, with proper link click tracking, you can start to get a better understanding of the impact of your marketing content and piece together what’s working, and what isn’t. 

There are two types of link click tracking: 

🔗 Want to learn more? Follow Laura on LinkedIn to keep up to date with tips and tricks on tracking your marketing analytics

External links

This is where a link is placed on:

It’s a link housed on another source that points to your website. 

For these types of links, you can use UTM tagging to track them in Google Analytics 4. 

Internal links

Think of an internal link as one placed on your website to a pdf. 

Internal links are usually housed on your website and take users to other places on your site. 

For example: 

You need to use Google Tag Manager to track these actions. 

If you used a URL parameter on these links, then you would ultimately wind up duplicating traffic to your site within GA. 

What is link tracking in Google Analytics 4? 

Link tracking is where you isolate a particular link on a particular channel or campaign to understand its impact in terms of: 

In Google Analytics, you can view the overall performance of any given page. 

But, you can’t segment this down by a particular link, whether it’s internal or external. 

However, there are workarounds. 

You can either use: 

How to track internal link clicks 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. 

✏️ Note

UTM parameters are add-ons to your link that GA4 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 view UTM campaigns in Google Analytics 4

If you’re looking how to track UTM links in GA4, 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 

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 want 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 

Link clicks are a great starting point. 

But they only scratch the surface when it comes to understanding how your marketing is driving results for your bottom line. 

In fact, for a lot of marketers, a lot of guesswork is involved to prove their ROI. 

And that’s not how it should be. 

Do 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.

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.