Congratulations. You've been active in your marketing, posting news stories, press releases, and interesting information on social media, email, and online advertisements. But how well are these efforts working for your overall site goals. It may be a little extra work but tracking these campaigns in Google Analytics is pretty easy.
The easiest way is to use Google's URL Link Builder. You will be presented with this form.
You only need to fill in four of the five fields for the most basic of tracking.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Enter the web address you want to track.
This is how you track which networks your link is coming from. So if you wanted to see if your Google+ efforts are really worth your while, you would mark this field with Google+.
You can also use this for your email newsletters. (note: most professional email marketing systems have this feature build in. You would however use this if you're sending your own marketing emails.)
This explains how you delivered the message. Was it social media, an advertisement, email.
This is a name you give your link. If you're posting to a page about a spring special you may want to use Spring Special. If it's a link to your new tv commercial or product announcement you may use Commercial Announcement or Product Name Press Release.
Where Is This Information In Google Analytics?
Go to your Google Analytics account and view your Traffic Sources. Below that is category called Campaigns. In the data to the right you will see the campaign names of your most recent activity in a list. You can either click on the campaign name to view the sources of incoming traffic to your site or you can see how many visits each source delivered overall by clicking the souce link listed above the data as shown below.
How Is This Information Helpful?
By using special links for each of your campaigns, whether those are banner ads, social media links, or links within email marketing campaigns, you can get a better picture of what kind of information is best suited for each form of marketing.
You can also be sure that your efforts are not being wasted on channels of communication that are producing no results by changing the message or dropping them entirely.