Tracking tool for marketing
If you are a small business, many a times you might have faced this issue of tracking the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns. Now, the biggies can afford to use DoubleClick, Eyeblaster or any of those expensive ad serving companies, but really, most SMEs cannot. And frankly, for many marketing campaigns, they need not. Not after you have used this tool.
If you do initiate some online campaigns to promote your stuff, but are concerned about tracking the effectiveness of those campaigns- specially, say, email marketing campaigns, conversions from any link building exchange initiatives you might have done, or even adding extra tracking layer for SEM campaigns- worry no more. You can use this basic, simple, yet effective campaign tracking tool. And I’ll tell you what- if you want, and are creative about it, you can even track your offline (physical) marketing campaigns.
Interested? Read on. One caveat though. This works if you use Google Analytics (GA) as your web analytics tool. Not too much of a problem I presume- as GA is free and going by the success of it, it is likely that you’d be using this any which ways. In case you do not, I recommend that you do. (No- not getting paid to say this).
To access the tool, click on the link: ChasingTheStorm campaign tracking tool
It is a Google Docs spreadsheet- so you can log in using your Google ID, export the sheet in excel or spreadsheet, follow some simple instructions- and there you go.
What are the ways you can use this (there could be many ingenious uses that you can use this for- just a few that I use them for):
- You could insert it as links in your email newsletter- and track not only one link- but use to track what call to action drives most traffic to your website
If you track conversions, you could attribute this to conversions as well
- You could use this to update your status messages on your social network- and track people coming to the site from your social network
- You could even use it in your offline campaign- use URL shortening using a web service- and put the URL in your offline DM or newspaper classifieds ad. Track how many people visit your website after seeing this ad. Cool eh?
- Any other uses that you could think of? Use the tool and let me know some other uses or suggest me changes, if any
Understanding the working:
GA can track campaigns by identifying variables associated with that campaign. These variables are assigned by you- to generate a unique “identifier” hyperlink and help to understand the source of clicks to your website.
For example, if you include links to your website in an email newsletter, you can attach variables at the end of each link. When a user clicks on a link, your reports will show you on which link he clicked, as well as which newsletter contained that link.
Properly tagging your links will ensure that your reports include useful information about your marketing efforts.
When you click on the link above, you will get a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is all you need to generate bulk tags for tracking your marketing campaigns. In the spreadsheet tool, I have explained with examples from ChasingTheStorm campaigns. You can delete the data except that in the last cell (redirect URL) and generate your own tag.
I have just formalized the tool, though details can be found at Google Learning Center. Some parts are explained very well there, hence I have picked some parts, and simplified others to make it more understandable.
Essentially the tag is generated basis some variables that you- the marketer inputs. There are 5 campaign variables that you need to understand(and one URL cell):
- Name (What is termed as “campaign” in the sheet)
- Name/campaign : With this variable you can track the different advertising campaigns or product promotions that your business creates. I have mentioned this as Campaign in the sheet- is more explicit. AdWords also allows auto tagging, where this field refers the name given to the originating AdWords Campaign.
- Source : Visitors to your website must come from somewhere. That is, each referral to a website has an origin, or Source . Examples of sources are the Google search engine, an email newsletter, or a referring web site. There may be several Sources for each campaign. For example, the “5 star Hotel in Singapore” is advertised in both an email newsletter and a banner ad. In this case, both “newsletter” and “banner ad” would be possible Sources. For AdWords auto-tagged accounts, the Source variable could be “Google”. I have, in my example, used some publications which I write for and hence you will see names like “thinking aloud” and “Community 2.0″ for source.
- Medium : Medium gives depth to the source, and helps to ‘qualify’ it. Together, the Source and Medium provide specific information about the origin of a referral. For example, if the Source is “Google,” the medium might be “CPC,” indicating a sponsored link. In the case of a “newsletter” Source, examples of Medium can be “email” For AdWords auto-tagged accounts, the medium variable is “CPC.” In my example, I usedan identifier according to the content eg “twitterlink” – when I view the report, it could give me a snapshot indication (eg ThnkingAloud Twitterlink= 1000 visits)
- Content : The Content variable indicates which version of an ad on which a visitor clicked. Labeling your content versions allows you to determine which one is most effective at attracting profitable leads. For example, if you had two versions of a banner ad, you could use the Content variable to identify which one is bringing more visits to your site. For AdWords auto-tagged accounts, the Content variable is the first line of the originating advertisement’s ad text.
Some people could argue that I could have used ‘content’ and ‘medium’ interchangeably. Well, it helped me understand reports better- though you are free to follow convention. And frankly, the lines blur somewhere, so you could use according to the reporting structure you prefer. For me, practical supersedes theory.
- Term : I placed three links in my article and defined them by their names/terms. While using this for an adwords camaign, you could use this as the keyword that a user could type in. For example, a link in a cost-per-click (CPC) ad would be tagged with the Term that triggered the ad.
How to view reports in GA:
There are several reports that allow you to view traffic from tagged initiatives (links which you have tagged with campaign variables).
1) On the left hand side, go to “Traffic Sources” report > Traffic Sources section. It shows all the traffic that comes to your site including traffic from tagged links.
By default, it sorts the traffic by Source and Medium together, but you can use the ‘Show’ pulldown menu to organize the traffic by Source or Medium. Your tagged sources and mediums will be included in this list.
2) Traffic sources > Ad version :To see your traffic sorted according to Content
3) Traffic sources > campaigns report. To see your tagged campaigns. This report will typically list your AdWords campaigns, your tagged campaigns, and “(not set)” traffic that is not associated with any campaign.
So there it is. Do let me know if you used this tool or you found this tool effective, or any tips if you’d like to suggest to improve this tool.
thumbnail courtsey: http://www.addletters.com/index.php
Disclaimer: I, or ChasingTheStorm.com do not claim any liability for this tool. Please use at your own discretion.