Tracking where our campaign supporters come from

We know, sort of, that our mass mailings generate the vast majority of supporters for any of our campaigns.  And that things like links on websites, Twitter and Facebook are somewhat over-rated in this sense.  But to prove it — and to find out how people really do come to our campaigns and sign up — I’ve just written some code that allows us to track exactly this.

Normally, when we tell people about a campaign we give out this code (for example) — I’ve had to break this into 2 lines to make it readable:


Now we have the option of adding on a parameter — done like this:


This tells our system that the source of this visit to our campaign is from “test“.

It’s very important to do the code exactly like that, with no spaces at all.

You can see an example of how we can track this, starting today, here.  Scroll to the very bottom and look at record 4187 (my name).  See the red text?  That’s because I used the link ending in “&src=test”.

I’m going to try this out today using a few online tools.  You should see results soon by scrolling down to the bottom of this page.  Make sure to refresh the page to see new supporters.  I’ve used the following codes: unionbook, twitter, lsfbpage and lsfbgroup. These should be pretty obvious.  But any codes will do (e.g., blackadder) – but they should be less than 16 characters and include no blank spaces.

I think we should begin doing this in our MailChimp mailings, when we post to Facebook and Twitter, when unions put links on their home pages, in our ActNOW newswire and so on.  I think we’ll learn a lot by doing so.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |


  • Eric,
    Good idea! How’s about unions/orgs that often link to your actions? Would it be useful for you if we kept the same SRC link between actions, so you can track us?
    If so, I’d suggest telling us to use our domains as the tag (eg tuc.org.uk). This would let you at a glance tell the TUC (UK) from the TUC (Ghana), as well as giving you an easy reminder for any union you might not immediately recognise. We’re also more likely to remember it consistently maybe.
    What do you think? Or will dots foul up your URLs?

    Comment | January 19, 2012
  • admin

    I agree – and I don’t think that dots will screw up anything.

    Comment | January 19, 2012
  • Couldn’t resist, posted to UnionBook with echos to FB and Twitter using ‘blackadder’ as the code. 🙂

    Comment | January 19, 2012
  • Pretty nifty and it works. But we need to be clear on what we want to track.
    Question: What will we do with the information once we’ve got it? There are some obvious uses like sending follow-ups without annoying people who have already sent a message or suggesting donations to regular signers who are more likely to consider it. But we’d need the email addresses for that. And we could already do it with Mailchimp (except that the information is clicks and not actual sign-ups).

    Comment | January 19, 2012
  • At the moment I am using the ‘blackadder’ tag to identify folowers on Twitter, FB and UB and, more importantly, how many we get from my accounts on each and so whether my efforts using those platforms are effective. If the numbers on this first campaign justify it on the next I will break it down by platform.

    Comment | January 26, 2012
  • I look over the current results for the Bahrain campaign and it’s good news/bad new for me. Bad: 18 participants from my FB and Twitter accounts isn’t much (thouh better than some of our other venues). Good: everything we’ve ever said about e-mail being the killer app for online campaigning is true.

    Comment | January 30, 2012

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