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, http://www.mydomain.com/?cid=EIHLJLYNEWS 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 Goo.gl. 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 http://www.mydomain.com/CampaignName 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.

Clickstream

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.

Testing

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.