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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.


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.

Read more +

Digital trends blog post image

Digital trends in 2016

With January behind us, Hamilton Jones is considering some of the digital trends set to come our way this year.

2016 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for digital, and we in the digital team are always keeping an eye out for new trends, looking at what they mean for Macmillan and how we can respond to them. Here are our top five digital trends to watch out for this year and the work everybody here in the team is doing in-line with them:

1) Unifying the online and offline user experience

As digital continues to work its way into everyone’s day-to-day lives, we are coming to expect seamless integration between online and offline. With many users’ journeys seeing them hit several touch points across both of these mediums, 2016 will bring more technologies that help organisations make their user experiences unified.

Macmillan users could see a great benefit from technologies that allow us to unify how we support people across their journey, and we are already starting to implement them: The My Macmillan area of our website has been designed to help users to feel more supported by giving them easier access to information relevant to their existing journey. When someone logs in they are able to save pages on a dashboard that they can access later, which also displays pages they’ve recently viewed. To further unify the dashboard with other parts of the website, we have developed single sign-on with our be.Macmillan domain and allow users to input their postcode to find out what’s in their area.

2) 24-hour technology that doesn’t sleep

Anytime. Anywhere. That’s the internet, and it doesn’t go to sleep. 2015 saw many organisations respond to the rise in user generated demand of always on services, but in 2016 we’ll see mass adoption of in-house and external social to be the main point of contact for out-of-hours services.

We know that cancer can be a scary place, that’s why we’re trying to make sure that nobody faces it alone. Because of this we are already offering several services for users outside of office hours. Our social media accounts and Online Community are manned on weekday evenings and for several hours over the weekend. Our website has information standard approved content that people can access at all times of the day and night, while the online community also offers peer-to-peer support that is accessed by users around the clock.

3) The year of connected devices

The internet of things is quickly becoming the internet of everything as new connected devices are starting to appear almost daily. With the advent of wearable technology and a rise in healthcare orientated apps, patients and healthcare professionals are being given the chance to diagnose and treat certain illnesses like never before. The scope for how this could impact people’s health is huge – from contact lenses that can read blood glucose levels to games that improve emotional wellbeing.

In the UK however, it might take longer than until the end of 2016 to see these really impact people affected by cancer. Without a data standard in place for apps, healthcare professionals and organisations are unable to fully utilise their potential, but we are excited to be working with organisations like the NHS on the opportunities for standards and accreditation in areas like apps.

4) Personalised data gets more personal

We are already growing used to being connected in every way, and we’re producing huge amounts of data about ourselves. Using this to create personalised experiences isn’t something new, but 2016 will become more dynamic, creating experiences that reflect people’s changing needs and preferences over time.

We want to help everyone affected by cancer to take control of their journey and access the support and information they need at a time they need it. By helping people express preferences, they enable us to provide them with personalised information that’s relevant to them and their location, while also making recommendations on where to go next. This has the potential to empower people to navigate the system, make decisions about treatment and take control over their healthcare journey.

5) Virtual assistance

Most smartphone operating systems now have personal assistants: Siri, Cortana, Google Now (this one’s tragically lacking a space-age name), and they’re starting to learn like humans. A lot of work over the past few years has been put into virtual personal assistance, with the ultimate goal of making them so slick that the user can be completely conversational and still achieve their desired outcome.

Somewhere down the line we could be using technology like this to offer support to people affected by cancer, but where we see the most benefit for this tech in the near future is to enable our healthcare professionals to have even more information at their fingertips, helping them be even more amazing for people affected by cancer.

Questions about this post? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @mac_digital. We’d love to hear from you!

Our journey towards a more personalised experience

Digital Project Manager, Ellie Donithorn, gives me the low down on Macmillan’s ongoing aim to give our users a more personalised website experience.

What’s new?
We have created an exciting new feature allowing users to find their nearest information and support centre. Here’s a quick how-to:

  • Step 1: Enter your postcode into the search box on the right-hand side of the page, or hit the ‘locate me’ arrow to let us find you.

Screenshot of new feature with the 'locate me' arrow circled for emphasis







  •  Step 2: View your nearest information and support centre, information about opening times, and other suggested centres within a 30-mile radius.

Screenshot of feature displaying your nearest information and support centre as well as those further out











  • Step 3: Click on your preferred centre to view its location on a map, opening times, and centre-specific contact details.

Snapshot of support centre page complete with map and additional contact details














And there’s more! If you have a My Macmillan account, you’re logged in and you’ve saved your postcode, our new function will remember this information and pull up that support centre automatically.

What was the problem before?
Our research showed us that a third of people are using their smartphone to access healthcare information. This means it’s more important than ever for us to provide users with an online experience that gives quick and comprehensive results on the go.

We identified that the process of finding your nearest support centre on the Macmillan website was unnecessarily lengthy. It was taking around five clicks for our users to find the information most relevant to them, so we decided this was something that needed to be addressed.

How will we track its success?
We won’t know whether or not this feature is useful to our users straight away. We’ll be tracking the number of people that click on the name of the centre as well as on the link that takes you to any of the suggested support centres. This will give us an indication of engagement with the new feature, so that we can decide whether or not this is the kind of functionality that enhances user experience.

Can we learn from any obstacles that occurred?
Every project has its obstacles. This new feature needed to be low risk in terms of minimum disruption to our existing web templates. Currently this feature sits on very few pages and it would be great if it was visible across a larger number. However, this is very likely once we get a feel for how helpful our users find it.

What inspired this project?
Personalisation is such a hot topic in the wider digital world, so we want to make sure we’re doing as much as possible to address it at Macmillan. We drew inspiration from websites like Amazon and Netflix, for which personalisation is key. Even the ability to log in and revisit your last interactions, or have your last order (of information booklets perhaps) automatically compiled, would be a great future venture. Just Eat is a website that people may be familiar with that does this very well!

What’s next?
We’re working on further enhancements of this feature, which will mean that we can make the information users want from the Macmillan site even more relevant to their needs. For example, displaying support centres that are ‘cancer-type specific’ and thus, most relevant to the user. And in our volunteering section of the website, we plan to show our users the volunteering opportunities that are most local to them.

It’s about creating a bespoke experience that prioritises information according to the user’s needs and interests. And this is step one of greater things to come from Macmillan.


Questions about this post? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @mac_digital. We’d love to hear from you!

Someone uses our new website on a tablet with the words Our website is changing above

Macmillan.org.uk has had a makeover

The new home page and information and support section of the Macmillan website are now live, the latest section of the website redesign project to launch.

It’s been available for the last month alongside the old cancer information and how we can help sections of the site, but last week we switched over to the new version.

You can see all of the new content on smartphones and tablets as well as desktops. And there is a new header across the whole site. This offers people new ways into our information by selecting why they are visiting the site ‘How can we help you today?’ and seeing tailored content as a result.

Audience selector
Alongside this, we’ve updated My Macmillan. My Macmillan is a gateway to be.Macmillan and our Online Community whereby you can access both sites using one log in. It now has a new ‘save page’ functionality, which means users can save their favourite pages on a new ‘listing page’. To access My Macmillan head to the top right of any page of our website.My Macmillan
The website redesign is an ongoing project and we’ll be moving onto the next section shortly (when we’ve caught our breath again!) You’ll notice some differences between some of our web sections, but please know that we’re working on it. If you notice any problems with the website whilst it’s bedding in then please contact us to let us know.

We’d love it if you could have a look and share your feedback with us. Either by emailing websiteredesign@macmillan.org.uk or completing this short survey.

If you’ve got any questions about the changes you might find these FAQs helpful.


Personalisation is the future of Digital

CEO of Flipboard Mike McCue stated in a recent article that personalisation is the future of Digital. Macmillan’s head of Digital Amanda Neylon agrees, but what does it mean and what does it look like for Macmillan? Rebecca Cryan looks at some of the ways we’re personalising user’s experience of the Macmillan website over the next year or so.

We all know that the web is moving away from a blanket approach to marketing, where a universal message is pumped out to everyone. Tracking and data mean that companies can now offer targeted ads based on user preferences, browsing history and personal information. For companies this means that they can get their messages in front of the right people, the people who are likely to act on them. For consumers this means that (in theory) they see more relevant ads and fewer irrelevant ones.

Last year a survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and supported by Lyris suggested that consumers are receptive to this kind of personalisation: ‘48% of respondents said they like to receive product recommendations based on their interests compared to 20% who gave a negative response.’ (From the e-consultancy blog)

Most conversations about personalisation centre on targeted marketing, but what of content? Mike says in his article that ‘We’re moving towards this…world where content can be atomized and reconstructed around interests or topics that someone’s really passionate about.’ There exist thousands of tools and sites for curating content from around the web. Whether it’s creating your own magazine on Flipboard, pinning content from across the web to your virtual pin board on Pinterest or aggregating tweets, photos, videos and posts about an event on Storify, users can curate the web to create completely personalised experiences.

At Macmillan we have thousands of pages of cancer information, currently our site structure allows you to search for the content that’s most relevant to you, and it’s pretty easy and intuitive. But if you’ve got prostate cancer then information about cervical cancer isn’t going to be relevant to you. The impatient web user doesn’t have time to sort the relevant from the irrelevant, so we need to organise relevant content for them.

Currently we do this in a similar way to Flipboard (an app which allows you to create your own online magazines based on your interests) using keyword tagging to group information in search results, and our team of editors who cross-pollinate content from one area of the site to another, adding links to a financial guidance tool to our pages about benefits for example. McCue says: ‘As we thought about how we’d populate this personal magazine…we realized there needed to be a human touch here, and have people who were thoughtful about who were the best sources, and what was the best content.’

Some of our forthcoming Digital projects will go further and allow you to curate the Macmillan website to make it completely relevant to you and your experience.

Whether you’re a fundraiser who wants to collect information about your event in one place, or someone going through chemo who needs to gather relevant information and advice from the community in one place to refer back to, the future Macmillan website will allow you to personalise your experience. Our single-sign-on project which will eventually bring all of Macmillan’s web properties under one sign-on will allow us to ask users their preferences and interests which will let us offer personalised content to each user.

Users will also have a hub or dashboard where they can control their interactions with Macmillan and see this personalised content. The user will be in control of their experience and their preferences for contact levels and frequency.

Effectively, each person accessing the Macmillan website will have a completely different experience of our content. The most important thing is that these experiences are consistent in their quality, and that the user is in control.

I’ll be bringing you more information about these projects over the next year.

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

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