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2 Reasons Not to Use Google’s New Campaign URL Builder

2 Reasons Not to Use Google's New Campaign URL Builder
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Introducing an Alternative to Google’s Ever Popular Campaign URL Builder

Did ya see it?

Maybe you blinked for a second and all of a sudden… Poof!

Google moved their URL builder to a new page. An upgrade, seemingly.

What’s Google’s URL Builder?

If you’re not an advanced marketing nerd like me…

I’m talking about the Google URL builder, which marketers like me used to visit 10 times a day as we created and shared links online.

We used to use this tool because we needed a spot to go to easily append those annoying UTM parameters onto the end of our links for granular campaign and source tracking.

Here’s what the old version used to look like:

How to Use Google UTM Builder

With our website URL, Source, Medium, and Campaign. Then we would create a custom link with built-in tracking, and share it with social media, or brand and shrink it inside Rebrandly.

Here’s the newer version, now called “Campaign URL Builder” which comes with real-time link updating (an unnecessary feature) and built-in goo.gl URL shortening:

Google's Campaign URL Builder

I wouldn’t say there is much of an upside advantage to the new builder except for the fact that you can instantly create a goo.gl link (but that presents its own problems that I will get to in a second).

But what Google is doing with this move is putting their URL builder closer to some of their other features and tools they have in their GA Dev Tool Kit for advanced marketers and developers.

While this isn’t a major change, it may indicate that they will be overhauling some of these antiquated tools in the future.

What is a URL Builder?

A URL builder, or UTM builder, is any tool or code snippet that helps append parameters to the end of a URL in order to prepare that URL for sharing with a certain channel or audience type.

When do I Need to Use a URL Builder?

For example, if you’ve got a new blog post and want to share it to Twitter under your own account, you might want to embed certain parameters into the link. These parameters will indicate to Google Analytics where the traffic is coming from.

Example:

Original URL:

blog.rebrandly.com/utm-parameters-made-simple-guide-for-marketers/

Now in order to track, you’d set your campaign perhaps to “social-media” your source to “twitter” and your medium to “myaccount-post.”

Tracked URL for sharing on my personal Twitter:

https://blog.rebrandly.com/utm-parameters-made-simple-guide-for-marketers/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=derric-post&utm_campaign=social-media

This will now show up in Google Analytics under Campaigns “social-media” and Source/Medium “twitter / derric-post”:

Google Analytics Source Medium under Campaign for UTM Parameters

This can help differentiate which accounts you shared to, how much traffic each account drove, and what audiences are engaging and converting from what content.

This is especially helpful for separating out the traffic you drive from social media, and the traffic other people drive, which can be crucial for reporting and analytics of your digital marketing efforts later, and help influence where you spend your next marketing dollar.

Again, this doesn’t matter if you’re only getting 10 clicks a post, but if you’ve got a medium to large following, and a medium to large digital property, it really is a best practice.

Rebrandly’s Improved URL Builder

Here’s the thing about Google’s URL builder… It sucks.

It requires you to input multiple fields over and over again (if you’re doing the same task day in day out) and doesn’t let you choose the short URL you are creating.

As a URL shortener ourselves, this goes against pretty much all the principles we stand for, which is why we’ve created a tool that is just plain better.

Objectively better, I’m not just saying it. Take a look:

Rebrandly UTM Builder

It allows you to:

  1. Save and load custom presets, so creating custom links for your favorite social platforms takes two clicks instead of two minutes.
  2. Then you can create a short link with a custom domain and custom URL slug within seconds, and be sharing to your social media channels (or other channels) in a few seconds instead of a few minutes.

This is no big deal if you’re only creating one or two short links a day, but for those of us managing large media properties, or multiple clients’ social media accounts, this will save you hours a week.

So if you think this will save you some time, I’d suggest signing up for a Rebrandly account and tinkering away with our URL shortener with built-in URL builder.

If you’ve already got an account, then log into your dashboard and start tinkering.

So… What do you think?

Are you still using Google’s Campaign URL Builder for creating and sharing links online?

Is there something else you’re currently using?

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Originally Posted: 5th October 2016
Last Updated: 31st August 2017

Head of Growth at Rebrandly. Derric is a lifelong entrepreneur and passionate about helping startups and marketers not suck. He speaks, practices, and blogs about growth and digital marketing on Rebrandly and across the universe.
  • Angel Smith

    Derric, thank you for this article. I’m curious but have you used Taglynx for building UTM codes? It is definitely worth a look.

  • Simon Byrne

    We’ve just created a UTM builder of our own. It pulls all of our approved campaign/medium/source options from a Google Sheet (allowing us to easily keep it updated with new campaigns, etc.), and we’ve integrated it into Rebrandly using your excellent API. Thanks for making your product open to developers!