Track Everything! Tagging Your Campaigns

Do you know which (if any) of your marketing efforts drive traffic and which drive revenue? In my experience, the most common answer to that question is “No.” Most often companies take a look at the bottom line, and as long as things look profitable, business continues as usual. When things don’t look ok, guesses are made about which campaigns to cut and which to keep. There is a better way… campaign tracking.

It’s easy! But you need to have a plan! Make a list of your current online and offline marketing activities. They may include Email, PPC, Banners, Direct Mail or  Link Exchanges. Next, where are the sources of these events? For a Link Exchange, this would be a unique value for each website you post your link on. Now for the special sauce…  My friend, Mark Reid over at Austin Web Design Shop, gave me a great trick that you’ll love.

With your list in hand, you will want to devise a tracking code system. For example, the first letter in your code:

  • Email: E
  • PPC: P
  • Banners: B
  • Direct Mail: D
  • Link Exchange: L

The next three letters can be your source, for example:

  • In-House List: IHL
  • Yahoo: YAH

Each company’s system is unique so don’t hesitate to change it up to fit your needs.

Now, dependent on which web analytics tool you are using some things will differ. But the first step is to get a tracking code added to your URLs whenever the visitor came to your site from a campaign.  For example, where CID stands for Campaign Id, but you can name it anything that works for you. That example could be a tracking code for an Email sent to my In-House List, and it is the July Newsletter. Since I know my system, I can look at this and know what the marketing effort is.

URL Shorteners

So, you may be thinking this is all well and good for online campaigns, but how will I get someone that received a postcard in the mail to type in all those letters? Guess what! You don’t have too… as long as you use something like a TinyURL or my favorite There are lots of them available for free including ones you can install on your server. If you are using PHP, you should check out  YOURLS. When you use this type of tool, you can create a short and easy to remember URL for your customers to type in like and the tool will redirect them to a URL with all your tracking information.

Dependent on which Web Analytics tool you are using, you can expand on your execution of tracking campaigns. The most important part is to start using your data!

Instead of looking at whether PPC is working, check each keyword and ad group. Instead of looking at Direct Mail, look at each list and each campaign. Start to understand what campaigns drive revenue and which drive traffic. Which are profitable and which are not. Push your marketing dollars to the programs that bring the most income and where your cost per visitor and revenue per visitor on that campaign make sense for your business.

Happy Analyzing!

What We Call Web Analytics

There are a lot of opinions out there about what Web Analytics is. Here is how we define it at Interactive Web Solutions:

Web Analytics

Web analytics is the practice of measuring visitor behavior to gain insights for use in increasing conversions. Clickstream behavioral data and conversion funnel analysis, gives us an idea of what customers are doing. To understand why, we must also employ the use of testing, surveys and competitive analysis. Once we understand both what customers are doing and why they are doing it, we can make data driven decision that improve customer experience and ultimately increased ROI. We’ll define each of these items below.


This is a virtual breadcrumb trail a user leaves behind them as they click through a website.

Conversion Funnel Analysis

The conversion funnel is a process a visitor follows to complete a “transaction.” In these terms the transaction doesn’t necessarily involve the exchange of currency. These transactions are defined by business goals and include actions. The funnel analyzes where in this process the visitors drop off vs. completing the transaction. By understanding this data we can optimize to improve the results.


A/B/n testing is the best route to begin testing and find immediate lifts in conversion. With this method, we have a control and one or more test cases with one variation from the control. Inbound traffic will be sent to the control and test pages equally and the page that has the best conversion for the desired action wins.

Voice of Customer (Surveys)

All of the quantitative data we have regarding our users behavior on our site gives us a great idea of what happened. What’s missing is why. That is where surveys step in to provide us with more context on our customer’s attitudinal behaviors. By understanding the why, we can begin to make informed decision based on customer’s needs.

Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis is key in understanding marketplace and competitor information through extensive research.  We will use this analysis to make more informed decisions in areas such as marketing and product development. Insights gained include competitor’s release cycles, product offerings, marketing messages and pricing strategies. Through this careful monitoring of our competitive marketplace, we will be the market leader.

Metrics that Matter

Metrics matter! At least the right metrics do. By continually working to provide an easy to access application containing Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for each function, we can set benchmarks and goals that we can begin to use. A Performance Dashboard can assist in communicating and refining strategy, increased visibility into the success and failure of programs, motivation and coordination. In addition they can help reduce costs, empower users and deliver actionable information.

Tracking Paid Search in Adobe SiteCatalyst

SiteCatalyst is a robust web analytics platform. For some, this is a good thing. However, for many the complexities stand in the way of a successful implementation and day to day use. I hear countless stories of companies who signed up with Omniture and then gave up during the implementation process. Over the next few days I want to share a little tip on how to use SiteCatalyst to track your paid search metrics WITHOUT purchasing SearchCenter.

I am going to make the following assumptions for this tutorial:

  1. You are using SiteCatalyst
  2. You have paid search detection working
  3. You have tracking code data being captured
  4. You have unique tracking codes for each Ad Group

Step 1: Setting up Success Events

Our first step is to prepare SiteCatalyst to receive the metrics. To do this, we will need to set up some success events.

Click on Report Suites in your Admin menu. It’s in the top right corner in v14 of SiteCatalyst.


Next highlight the Report Suite(s) you’d like to add the custom success events to. You can select multiple as long as you have been consistent with your custom variables across report suites.

Click on Edit Settings :: Conversion :: Success Events

Click on the “Add New” link until you come to a Success Event that has not been configured. It will be something like Custom 15. The number will vary based on your current report suite configuration. Now, let’s name these as follows:


Note that Total Cost is set as Currency and the others are Counters. Scroll to the bottom and click Save.

The next step is to identify our key, which is Tracking Codes. Mark the check box next to Tracking Codes and click next. The next step is to Map the Data Dimensions. Select Tracking Code from the SiteCatalyst Attribute drop down. If it’s not there already, don’t select anything and it will be created. Click next and verify the information is correct. If all is well, click Save. You will get a pop up warning. As long as you are not writing over existing information, you should be ok to continue thru this, but be careful!!!


Step 2: Data Sources

Before beginning this, please verify any additional fees that may be incurred for using Data Sources. There may not be any, but as all contracts are different it’s always best to check with your account manager.

Now that SiteCatalyst has a place to store the data, we are going to set up a new Data Source.

Data Sources allow you to share non click stream data with SiteCatalyst. In this case we will use the tracking code as our key to tie the two pieces of data together. First, if you are using multiple report suites, select the one you’d like to work with. Then click on Data Sources in your Admin menu. It’s in the top right corner in v14 of SiteCatalyst.


This should take you to the Create Data Sources tab.


In the “Select Category” menu choose Ad Campaigns. Then select the Generic Pay-Per-Click Service from the Select Type Menu. Click Activate.

A new window should pop up which is the Data Source Wizard. Name your Data Source, read the terms, and if you agree, click next. On the next screen, you will have the option to select the three standard metrics in addition to three custom. The three standard metrics are Impressions, Clicks and Total Cost. This should satisfy most needs, so check those three and click next.

Now SiteCatalyst is asking us to “map” this new data source to the appropriate custom events we created in Step 1. Select the appropriate event from the drop down menus.


This is the last step in creating your Source. There are some key items on this last page:

  1. Download button. Make sure you download the template. You must use the template created for you during this process. If you create multiple data sources, you will have multiple templates. The standard download file name is Generic Pay-Per-Click Service template.txt
  2. FTP Info: Don’t lose this! You’ll need it to upload your data once you are done.

Open the txt file in Excel so you are ready for Step 3.


Coming soon…

Step 3: Export Data

In Step 3 we’ll export data from your PPC account. This works for MSN, Yahoo! and of coarse, Google AdWords. But you aren’t limited to those. As long as you can export something containing your tracking code, impressions, clicks and total cost, you can import them into Omniture for Paid Search ROI tracking.

Step 4: Calculated Metrics

Let’s face it, Impressions, Clicks and Total Cost are interesting, but what are you going to DO with that information? With SiteCatalyst we can add in Revenue… so that’s adds a little more data. But we want to make some decisions here and we don’t want to look at 15 different reports to do so. In Step 4, I’ll teach you to create Calculated Metrics in Omniture. This is a GREAT feature they offer but I rarely see it used. For this exercise, we will create metrics that can be added to your reports that will be very helpful when making PPC decisions.

  • Page Views/Visit
  • Average Order Value (AOV)
  • Revenue/Visit
  • Click Thru Rate (CTR)
  • Profit
  • Profit per Impression (PPI)
  • ROAS

Step 5: Run Report

In Step 5 we’ll put it altogether and add the calculate metrics to your PPC report and drill down into a campaign to view performance and get an “at your fingertips” view of how each Ad Group is performing.