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A hand pointing to a graph of traffc analysis

Ad servers and Google Analytics: who to believe?

Sharing her tips and tricks, Rebecca Buchanan, Digital Marketing Officer, writes about how to analyse Facebook campaigns to achieve the most accurate results. 

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3 simple steps to building customised campaign URLs

Digital Comms Officer, Rebecca McCormick, shares her top tips about building customised campaign URLs and finding them in Google Analytics.

1a. What are customised campaign URLs?

Customised campaign URLs are destination URLs that have campaign tracking (or “parameters”) added onto the end of them. These “parameters” allow you to easily identify the campaigns that send traffic to your site, in Google Analytics.

1b. When do I need to use them?

Customised campaign URLs can be used for all types of online marketing activity that drive traffic to your site – ads, PPC, paid social, organic social, email marketing, etc.

For example, you might not want to just see your incoming traffic from Twitter, but whether that traffic is the result of a particular series of tweets. Or, you might not want to see the influx of traffic from a newsletter, but whether that traffic is the result of a particular banner or link in the email itself.

2. How do I build a customised campaign URL?

To build a customised campaign URL, you will need to use the Campaign URL Builder tool, filling out the fields below. You must fill out the first 4 fields which are shown below:


1. The “Website URL” is the full webpage URL you are directing traffic to.

2. The “Source” is the “referrer” – what specific source brought traffic to the webpage. This could be “google”, “newsletter1”, “twitter”, “exampleblog” etc.

3. The “Medium” is the “marketing medium” – the type of activity that brought traffic to the webpage. This could be “organic”, “email”, “banner”, “cpc”, “referral” etc.

4. The “Name” is how you want to name and identify your specific campaign, promotion, or product. This could be “notalone2017”, “givingtuesday”, “longestdaygolf” etc.

“Term” and “Content” are optional fields, often used when creating customised campaign URLs for paid search or ads. For when to use these fields, please see the definitions below:


For consistency, it’s best to fill in the fields using lowercase with no spaces and no special characters.

As you are filling in the fields, or making any changes to fields, the URL will be automatically updated below. Click “Copy URL” to copy the full URL. Alternatively, click “Convert URL to Short Link” to convert the full URL to a shortened Google one. Shortened URLs are useful when a full URL is difficult for users to remember, or looks confusing or unattractive for users. Another option is to convert your customised campaign URL using a URL shortening site.

3. How can I find data for my customised campaign in Google Analytics?

Log in to Google Analytics.

1. Select your chosen “view” and date range in the top right-hand corner. Navigate to: Acquisition > Campaigns > All campaigns.

2. Type the name of your campaign (that you used when creating the customised campaign URL) into the search function. If you can’t see your campaign, check that you entered it correctly or try typing in just part of the campaign name. You can also click “show rows” in the bottom right-hand corner, to show more rows.  Isolate your campaign from any others by clicking on it (the name, in blue).

3. You’ll then be able to see the data arranged by “source/medium” (based on the naming conventions that you entered when creating the customised URLs). You can isolate one “source/medium” from any others by clicking on it (the name, in blue). If a specific “source/medium” is not showing, try clicking “show rows” in the bottom right-hand corner, to show more rows.

4. If you want, you can then select the box next to your “source/medium” and click “plot rows” (just above it) to plot its performance over time. Or you can click “Export” at the top of the report, to export the data to a csv or pdf.

5. When exporting data, remember to click the “day”, “month” or “year” button, and select the metrics that you would like (using the drop-downs above the graph e.g., “Sessions” and “New Users”) to dictate format and content of your csv data.


Social Media: The Importance of Being Aware

Social Media Officer, Hayley Devlin, discusses the importance of awareness days/weeks/months.

As a cancer charity, we see awareness days a lot. October, famously, is for Breast Cancer Awareness. In January, we have Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and in June it’s Cervical Screening Awareness Week. In November, it’s a triple whammy: Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Mouth Cancer Action Month and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

Here’s an example of a Facebook post we ran for Lung Cancer Awareness Month: 


Our Social content calendar features a whole host of ‘awareness’ days and they’re not always cancer related. There’s Deaf Awareness Week in May, Random Act of Kindness day in February and (our personal favourite) World Emoji Day in July.

But why tie in some of these seemingly frivolous days with our content? Shouldn’t we be posting about different cancer types all the time anyway?

Social media is, essentially, just a big conversation. It’s a loud and busy one, and it’s easy for your voice to get lost in the crowd. Awareness days, weeks and months are great because they usually trend, making the conversations visible to people who might have otherwise missed it. As social gets more saturated, reaching new audiences organically (without any spend) is becoming increasingly difficult. The #AwarenessDays are great, because they’re a conversation that lots of people are already having, and present us with the opportunity to add in our two cents, reaching new people along the way.

Of course, cancer awareness days/weeks/months are particularly important to us. They give us an excellent springboard to create content we know will not only be relevant, but that people are also looking for. One of our top performing posts of the year came from Cervical Cancer Prevention Week in January. It had a staggering organic reach of 362,319, was shared 2,048 times and earned 5,115 likes. To put that into context, our top performing post this year was our tribute to Caroline Aherne. It had an organic reach of 549,909 people and earned 6,554 likes. It was also a video, which we know the Facebook algorithm still favours, so the fact that our cervical cancer awareness post did so well is a testament to how important they are. 

Here’s an example of a Cervical Cancer Prevention Week post:


On top of allowing us to showcase our cancer information and support services, the more ‘fun’ days are a chance for us to think more creatively. They give us the opportunity to showcase Macmillan using an angle we may not normally go for. For #WorldEmojiDay, we created a timeline out of emojis to help show how we’ve grown as an organisation since our beginnings. The World Emoji Day tweet had 38,477 impressions, which is more than double our average (average of about 13,000).

Our World Emoji Day Tweet:


On #WorldKindnessDay, we used a quote from the Not Alone Campaign and a tip from The Source to encourage people to share their own tips on the platform. We used #WorldHelloDay to introduce some of the experts we have on the Online Community. We’re always on the lookout for new awareness days to consider for our content planning.

Mind you, I don’t see us posting about International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day at any point soon!

To find out more about our awareness days/weeks/months, follow our Facebook and Twitter social media channels.


Screen with illustration example of a Google text ad

Say hello to Google’s new expanded text ads

This week, Rebecca Buchanan, Digital Marketing Officer at Macmillan, gives us an overview of the recent changes to Google AdWords and its impact on our search ads, as well as tips for creating expanded text ads.

Have you heard about one of the latest changes to Google AdWords? We only have until January 31st, 2017 to change all Standard Text Ads to the new Expanded Text Ad (ETA) format. So if not, it’s time to find out more.

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Inside UX: An Interview with Bruce Waskett

Curious about UX? Bruce Waskett, former Head of UX and UI at Macmillan explains what it is, and how it fits in at Macmillan.

What is UX and why is it important?

User experience (UX) has become a very over-used and misunderstood term in our industry for a few years now. It has always been a broad-ranging skill and discipline but certain terms are often picked up on and become the ‘must have’ thing for organisations and people.

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Periscope and Facebook Live logos

Live video: Experience the world through someone else’s eyes

In this post, Bernard Muscat, Senior Social Media Officer at Macmillan, aims to demystify live video, identify key live-streaming platforms and provide best practice tips for creating engaging live content.

We are seeing a large increase in live video content on social media.  By tuning in to live video, users can experience the world through someone else’s eyes. For example, you could be at home in the UK and watch live events from the streets of New York City, Bangkok, or Melbourne, if someone is holding up their device and live-steaming.  Users watching the live video are able to follow live, respond and interact with the live content.

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Mailbox with envelopes flying out of it, representing email

Using automation to personalise email campaigns

This week, Bryony Ashcroft, Digital Editor at Macmillan, spoke to our Email Marketing Officer, Fearn Sandison about how she is using automation to personalise our email campaigns.

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Instagram Stories: New feature launched today

In this post, Social Media Officer, Alice Hajek, talks about the introduction of Instagram’s new feature – Instagram Stories and what it means for Macmillan.

Today, Instagram launched a new feature ‘Instagram Stories’, in an attempt to fill the platform with less polished, more real time content. Very similar in name (well, pretty much the same name) to Snapchat’s My Story function, the new feature allows you to share photos of your day that you may not have published to your Instagram profile ordinarily. These photos, just like Snapchat, will disappear within 24 hours. You can also use their drawing tools and emojis to enhance your photos (like Snapchat).

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Icons of graphs and devices to represent google analytics

Google Analytics: An interview with our Digital Analyst

Hattie Biddlecombe, Digital Analyst at Macmillan Cancer Support, uses Google Analytics to provide insight into Macmillan’s online presence. I sat down with Hattie earlier this week to discuss how Google Analytics helps her in her role and the impact that it has on Macmillan.

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Cancer patients steer clear of exercise despite proven health benefits

Charity reveals what puts people off getting active


New findings from Macmillan Cancer Support reveal why some people with cancer struggle to get physically active, despite evidence published earlier this week showing that it can reduce the risk of cancer coming back and of dying from the disease1.


The YouGov research conducted for Macmillan Cancer Support being launched at the Cancer Data and Outcomes Conference in Manchester tomorrow [Monday 13th June] showed that top concerns included:

  • worrying about being able to find a toilet (36%)
  • feeling uncomfortable getting active in public (31%)
  • feeling unable to wear gym kit or a swimming costume (24%)2

The research, based on a survey of 1,011 people living with cancer, also revealed that a quarter of people (25%) living with cancer have not done any physical activity that raised their heart rate in the last seven days3.


Cancer can have an impact on a person’s self-esteem, particularly due to consequences of treatment such as physical scarring, changes to weight, or incontinence. Macmillan Cancer Support is encouraging people affected by the disease to find an activity they feel comfortable and continues to promote the benefits of being physically active.


Fiona, 48, from Shropshire was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and still experiences the long term effects of her treatment. She says getting active was key to her recovery:


“I’d always been a swimmer, but nearly a year after my mastectomy I was still coming to terms with how my body now looked. The idea of getting into a swimming costume horrified me. I worried everyone would be staring at my scars, or even worse that my breast prosthesis would fall out of my swimsuit.  It took an awful lot of courage to overcome my fears about what other people would think or whether I’d be able to swim again like I used to.


“But no-one gave me a second look in the changing rooms and as soon as I got back in the water I felt alive again. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Cancer takes a lot out of you so I started slowly but surely, but gradually, stroke by stroke, my energy and my confidence started to return both in the pool and out of it. Now I want to stay as fit and active as I can be – and I wear my mastectomy swimsuit with pride!”


Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:


“When you’re living with things like surgical scars, need to go to the toilet frequently as a result of your cancer treatment, or simply feel low in energy the idea of getting active can be very daunting and you may feel self conscious about doing so.


“But the benefits of being physically active for someone who has been diagnosed with cancer are too important to ignore. Not only can it reduce the risk of dying from the disease it can also lower the chances of it coming back.


“Being active doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym in lycra or doing anything you’re not comfortable with. We recommend that people start out small and work up to a level that is right for them. Whether it’s walking to the local shop, doing some gardening or yoga in the comfort of your own home – every little helps.”


The charity has provided some top tips to help people affected by cancer to get started and stay motivated:

  1. Set goals you can achieve and celebrate reaching them.
  2. Walk or cycle to the shops and take the stairs instead of the lift.
  3. Listen to your body and only do as much as you can. Something is always better than nothing.
  4. Get a friend or family member to join you.


For more information on keeping active before, during or after cancer treatment, visit




For further information, please contact:

Claire McMahon, Media & PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support

020 7091 2103 (out of hours 07801 307068)


Notes to Editors:


1 Randomized trial of exercise vs. usual care on cancer biomarkers in ovarian cancer survivors: The Women’s Activity and Lifestyle Study in Connecticut (WALC). Brenda Cartmel, Yang Zhou, Linda Gottlieb, et al. Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference 2016.

Impact of weight loss and exercise on VEGF levels in breast cancer survivors. Tara Beth Sanft, Brenda Cartmel, Maura Harrigan, et al. Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference 2016.


2 Source: Macmillan/YouGov online survey of 1,011 adults in the UK aged 18 and over with a previous cancer diagnosis. Fieldwork was conducted between 10th and 17th December 2015.  The figures have been weighted to be representative of people living with cancer.People were asked about seven factors that may make them more likely to be physically active, including: having a friend or family member to do activities with, having more or better information on what activities would be right for them, advice on how to fit physical activity into their daily routine, having access to a cheap or cheaper gym membership, having easier access to group activities, having greater access to public toilets, and having access to group activities for people living with cancer. Percentages were calculated by those who have reported having physical or emotional impacts as a result of their cancer or cancer treatment and responded always, often and sometimes to the following questions: How often have any of your concerns relating specifically to led to you experiencing any of the following? 1. Being worried you wouldn’t be able to find a toilet if needed  when being physically active outside of your home 2. Not feeling able to be active around other people 3. Not feeling able to wear gym kit or a swimming costume.


3 Source: Macmillan/YouGov online survey of 1,011 adults aged 18 and over with a previous cancer diagnosis. Fieldwork conducted between 10th and 17th December 2015.  The figures have been weighted and are representative of the living with cancer population.


About Macmillan Cancer Support

When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life. Whether it’s concerns about who you can talk to, planning for the extra costs or what to do about work, at Macmillan we understand how a cancer diagnosis can take over everything.


That’s why we’re here. We provide support that helps people take back control of their lives. But right now, we can’t reach everyone who needs us. We need your help to make sure that people affected by cancer get the support they need to face the toughest fight of their life. No one should face cancer alone, and with your support no one will.


To get involved, call 0300 1000 200 today. And please remember, we’re here for you too. If you’d like support, information or just to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit

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