How to Use Google Analytics Campaign Tracking in Buffer - dummies

How to Use Google Analytics Campaign Tracking in Buffer

By James T. Cains

Buffer’s business plans integrate with Google Analytics to provide campaign tracking for the links in your social media posts. How does this work? Say that you’re promoting a new product with an embedded link to a product page on your own website. You can have Buffer automatically attach UTM tracking codes to your links, which pass on certain information to Google Analytics, such as the number of clicks that the link gets. This kind of data can help you measure the success of your promotional campaign. Of course, you need a Google Analytics account for this to work.

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module, which is simply a weird name for the tracking code parameters you attach to a link. When you attach UTM parameters to a URL, it can look something like this:


The tracking codes are added with a question mark at the end of the URL. Here’s what the different codes mean:

  • utm_campaign: This is the name of your campaign. For example, if you’re launching a product, your campaign name might be “product_launch.”

  • utm_source: This is where the click originates from. For example, if the link appears in a Twitter post, you likely want your source to be “twitter.”

  • utm_medium: This specifies the type of post it is. For social media, you might put “social” or “post,” but if you’re running banner ads on other websites, you might use “banner” or some other indicator of what the user clicked.

At the time of this writing, Buffer enables you to specify only these three parameters in the tracking code, because those are the UTM parameters that Google Analytics requires. Google also allows a couple of additional, optional parameters to be added (utm_term and utm_content); however, Buffer doesn’t allow you to include those.

Luckily, when you use Buffer, you don’t have to attach those tracking codes manually. Instead, you modify the settings for each account to automatically append those codes to your links. Here’s how:

  1. Log in to Buffer and view your dashboard.

  2. On the left, choose the account for which you want to set up campaign tracking.

  3. At the top right, click Settings and choose Link Shortening.

  4. Next to Enable Campaign Tracking, click to make sure Yep is chosen on the Yep/Nope toggle.

  5. At the bottom of the screen under Google Analytics Campaign Tracking, click Customize Campaign Tracking. You see the screen in Figure 1.

  6. Type in the customized parameters for your campaign. Campaign, Source, and Medium match up with the URM parameters listed above, so use those guidelines to determine the parameters.

    • Note: URLs can’t contain spaces, so separate words with either underscores ( _ ) or hyphens (-).

  7. Click Update Tracking.

Now, when you look at the Google Analytics dashboard for your campaign, you’ll see click information for your link displayed.

Figure 1: Setting up Google Analytics campaign tracking in Buffer.
Figure 1: Setting up Google Analytics campaign tracking in Buffer.