What is a tracking link?

A tracking link is special kind of link that tracks who clicked, when and from where. Tracking links are essential for measuring the efficacy of marketing campaigns and paid advertising.

You should always use tracking links when directing traffic on the internet.

How tracking links work

When a user clicks a tracking link, the user is first directed to a tracking service (such as Linkly). The service logs all the user’s information, and redirects the user’s browser to the final destination.

This process is instantaneous and invisible. When using a custom domain, users will never even see the tracking service.

Information tracking links record

Tracking links by default log:

  • When a click was made

  • The IP address, which can be traced to reveal where a click was made, and if that user has clicked before

  • What the final destination was for the user

In addition, tracking links can:

  • Set a cookie, allowing conversion tracking pixels to work.

  • Add a user to a retargeting or remarketing list. These are features of ad networks, which allow you to tag a user who has clicked on a link. It means that you can show ads to only people who have clicked on a link.

Tracking Links & Google Analytics

If you have access to the destination’s Google Analytics

For example, if it’s your website, you can use Linkly & Google Analytics together.

Google Analytics has a feature called UTM tags which allows you to track individual traffic or advertising sources in Google Analytics.

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For example, you can specify different campaign names on your links, and these can be segmented separately in Google Analytics, so you can see where users go after they click.

Linkly has Google Analytics UTM Tags built in. You can read more about that here.

If you are directing traffic to a website that is not your own

For example, an affiliate partner, you will need to use Linkly to track clicks.

Any UTM tags you set up will report in the destination’s Google Analytics.

Why use tracking links at all?

It’s vital to measure the efficacy of marketing campaigns.

Reasons why it’s essential use tracking links:

  • Corroborate the cost of traffic with the traffic actually received.

  • See what marketing channels are actually working.

  • You can change the destination of a link once it’s live, if the original destination needs to change.

  • Protect against browsers that contain nasty plugins which scrub affiliate IDs and add their own IDs.

Where you can use tracking links

Linkly’s tracking links can be used anywhere you advertise:

  • Google Search Ads

  • Facebook Ads

  • Email marketing

  • Display advertising

  • Anywhere else you advertise