As a digital analyst who knows the importance of efficiently recording and reporting marketing activities, there are moments where you feel overwhelmed.
You know that tracking is at the core of every marketing strategy (Avinash Kaushik anyone?), but at the same time, you are often full of doubts. Does this product update need a brand new campaign? Does this Facebook update belongs to the Social Media Campaign or the Product Launch Campaign? Possibilities are endless, your patience…a little less.
The frustration that I just described can become even more unbearable when results are expected to happen fast. Perhaps, when you joined a new company and want to impress your senior manager or when you want to pitch a new client. Or when you realized your predecessor never bothered tracking anything or that their tracking strategy took inspiration from the Memento plot!
Unfortunately, there is no choice, but taking a deep breath and start putting reason into the digital madness.
Luckily for you, I have already slain the dragon, and I’m here to show you how you can do the same. In few easily repeatable steps, you’ll always be able to track any campaign and effectively report your results to any client, manager or stakeholder.
Tracking and reporting will never be the same again.
Step 1: Set up your campaign structure
Independently from the business, you will run a certain number of marketing campaigns throughout the year. Those might include:
- Product launch [to introduce a new product to the market]
- Newsletter [to communicate to your clients]
- Seasonal promotion [offers and discounts]
- Product promotion [to promote a product that is not selling]
- Events and workshops
I would recommend having a brainstorm at the beginning of each financial year, to determine how many types of campaigns the team will be running. To come up with ideas, I would suggest to include questions such as:
- Will we be running discount & promotions?
- Will we be launching new products?
- Will we be attending social events?
- Will we be running affiliate programs?
Personally, I envision the campaign name as a marketing category that best summarizes a marketing activity. This approach keeps the number of campaigns to a minimum, making tracking and reporting far simpler. Two campaign parameters – source and medium – will help distinguish among promotions when more than one is run during the financial year (and the same can be applied to product launches, social events, and any other campaign the marketing team will be running).
Tip1: List all your campaigns in an Excel file that every team member can access and edit (see Table).
Step 2: Set the parameters of your UTM tags
The UTM tag is defined as:
“A simple code that you can attach to a custom URL in order to track a source, medium, and campaign name. This enables Google Analytics to tell you where searchers came from as well as what campaign directed them to you.”
In simple words, without a UTM tag, Google Analytics could not report where the users came from and what campaign contributed to bringing them to your website. To give you an example, newsletter subscribers who clicked on an email inviting them to sign up to your company’s monthly newsletter, would be reported as organic traffic. This not only would be misleading but would also undervalue the marketing effort.
As stated in the UTM tag definition, a UTM tag is made of three parts: a source, a medium and a campaign name, The Campaign Name has already been discussed in Step 1.
According to Google, Source is defined as:
“Every referral to a website has an origin or source. Possible sources include: “Google” (the name of a search engine), “facebook.com” (the name of a referring site), “spring_newsletter” (the name of one of your newsletters), and “direct” (users that typed your URL directly into their browser, or who had bookmarked your site).”
In simple words, Source is the channel used to promote the Campaign, therefore, a Campaign Source could include:
- Social media
- Third party
Finally, according to Google, Medium is defined as:
“The general category of the source, for example, organic search (organic), cost-per-click paid search (CPC), web referral (referral).”
In simple words, Medium is used to distinguish marketing activities that belong to the same campaign and are promoted through the same channel. For instance, two campaigns that belong to the same “Product Launch Campaign” and are promoted through “Social Media”, would be distinguished by the Medium parameter. Examples of Medium include:
- The product code [Product launch Campaign]
- A brief product description [Product promotion Campaign
- The seasonal offer name [Seasonal promotion Campaign]
- The conference, workshop or event name [Events and workshops Campaign]
- The paid channel [AdWords or Bing]
- The social Media Channel [Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, SnapChat]
Tip: All the above information is stored in an Excel file that every team member can access and modify. The table contains 3 columns, one for each parameter: Campaign name, source, and medium.
|Product Launch Campaign||Social Media||Twitter/FB/LinkedIn/Instagram|
|Newsletter Campaign||Product or Offer Description|
|Seasonal Promotion Campaign||Newsletter||Day/Week/Year of the Email|
|Product Promotion Campaign||CPC||AdWords/Bing|
|Events and Workshops Campaign||Third Party||Website domain|
The first two parameters are defined by the first two columns. For instance, if a new product is launched and promoted through an email campaign, the Campaign Name would be “Product Launch Campaign” and the Source would be “Email”.
The third parameter is URL specific. For instance, by identifying Medium as “Email-ProductName”, I would be able to identify exactly what was promoted even after years. Want to make things even more granular? Add a date: “Email-ProductName-Date”.
Tip2: Add three additional column: Name of the team member generating the campaign, date, and campaign description.
Step 3: Create your UTM tag with UTM builder
To generate a UTM tag you need to:
- Navigate to Google UTM Builder
- Insert in Website URL your chosen destination page address
- Fill in the UTM parameters – Campaign Name, Campaign Medium, and Campaign Source (as defined in step 2)
- Copy the newly generated link at the bottom of the page
Step 4: Connect UTM tag with Pardot
Now that all your parameters have been defined, it’s time to add them to Pardot (a B2B marketing automation by Salesforce).
- Create a Campaign that corresponds to the Campaign Name of your chosen UTM tag (Tip3: Copy and Paste the campaign name, as all the parameters are case sensitive)
- Create a new Email Draft and select your newly generated campaign (in the above example, it would be Product Launch Campaign)
- Start drafting your email
- Hyperlink text or images with the newly generated code
Step 5: Tracking in Pardot
After your email has been sent to all your subscribers, you can track how the Campaign is performing by opening Pardot:
- Go to Marketing Menu
- Select Emails
- Select Sent
- Click on your chosen Email Campaign
- Open the Email Report
- Click on “Unique Clicks”
You can now see how many users clicked on your links and visited your webpage. This is summarized under “Unique Clicks” metric.
For all these users:
- The Google Campaign Source will become the Pardot Lead Source
- The Pardot Lead Source will become the Campaign Source in Salesforce (when the user is qualified to be assigned to a member of the Sales team*)
[*A user becomes a marketing qualified lead based on a scoring system partially defined by Pardot (what to score and how much). The actual number doesn’t have any real meaning, reaching a set score X signifies that the user has shown enough interest to be a potential buyer]
Step 6: Tracking in Google Analytics
The Campaign can also be tracked in your Google Analytics account:
- Open your Google Analytics account
- Open the Acquisition Menu
- Open the Campaign Menu
- Select a Campaign
- Click on the campaign name
- GA will display the traffic that the campaign brought in on the selected time period
- GA will display the data based on source: medium
Step 7: Add the UTM tag to other campaigns
In addition to tracking email campaigns, you will also track social media shares and third parties campaigns. This means you will:
- Add a URL at the end of a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn post
- Hyperlink some text or image banner as part of a third party campaign
To add a link to add to a social share:
- Go to Marketing Menu
- Select Social
- Add New
- Fill in the all the fields:
- Select the chosen social media channel
- Select your chosen Campaign
- Create a UTM tag for your chosen link
- Add the final URL to your social media post
- Add an image to make your social media post more engaging
And that’s it for now!
Setting up a tracking system to which you can refer to after months or even years is key to a successful marketing strategy.