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Measure is treasure: why you should map, tag and track your online content to measure and refine your communication efforts

by Irina Chirsanov

18September2019

As a marketeer, you are probably dealing with a lot of different communication channels: a website (of course), blogs, media relations, influencer marketing, newsletters, social media, … Which means investing a lot of time and resources in creating and publishing content. But do you have a clear view of the purpose and performance of these communication channels? Do you always know what you can expect from an email campaign, from a social media or blog post? By using the right tools and tags you can get a clearer view on your content ecosystem performance. As we say at Voice, work on your content so it can work for you.

We’ve prepared a roundup of the basic tagging and tracking configuration to implement in order to get a better understanding of your traffic: from which campaign are your visitors coming from, what are they doing on your website and how are they interacting with your content.

Step #1 – Map your content

The first step is making an inventory of your communication channels: what channels are you present on; which ones are you actively using to promote your brand? You probably monitor closely how campaigns perform on each particular platform by measuring a set number of KPIs. But once the users leave the platform and are headed for your website via a link, without proper tagging a considerable amount of data is lost and you lose track of your customers.

The goal is to have a holistic overview of your existing touchpoints and find ways cross the data. Once you’ve established a map of your channels, start implementing a tracking strategy that includes them all.

Step #2 – UTMs are your best friend

If you have a Google Analytics or an Adobe Analytics script on your website, you are already collecting information on your traffic sources such as the channels and referrals information, but wouldn’t it be better to be able to distinguish which traffic coming from the social networks actually comes from your campaigns and what part of it is earned social organic traffic? Furthermore, if the referrer data isn’t passed on, a lot of traffic is wrongly attributed to the direct channel, such as the traffic from email campaigns that hasn’t been properly tagged.

UTM tags, short for Urchin Tracking Module are parameters that can be added to the shared URLs to measure the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns.

How to structure the data

When structuring the data for your UTMs and deciding what terms to use for each parameter, think about the type of insights you would like to see in your reports. What would be interesting to display and compare? For instance, it would be helpful to know your audience, country and language, content type and format in order to finetune your future posts and ads. If you already have come up with a good naming system for your campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Google Ads, then you can easily pass this information along and keep it consistent on all platforms.

Simply put, for each website link you plan on sharing, add the name of the campaign, the platform where you are posting and which is going to link back to your site as being the source of the traffic, the type of the link the content of the ad or post or a particular keyword or ad copy.

This data is recovered by Google Analytics and can be analyzed in reports. Once you start tagging your posts and links, you’ll be able to measure and compare the performance of different communication campaigns across multiple channels, down to each post and ad format.

Tip: if you want to be able to differentiate between the various types of costs: cpc, cpm, organic posts and sponsored, use the “utm_medium” values to relay this information.

Step #3 Make sure to include all channels

Don’t stop at active ads or newsletters. The same method can be applied to influencer marketing, advertorials, sponsorships and any other communication mediums that will link to your blog or website. Let’s face it, when working with the media and influencers, you’re developing awareness, which goes beyond and shouldn’t be limited to link clicks only. Nonetheless, it’s a good reflex to provide specific URLs for each influencer you’re working with (as long as it’s going to be posted on their communication channel for their audience to click on). As for offline communication, the UTM can be embedded in a QR code or a shortlink (example: bit.ly links).

Step #4 - Configure Goals to measure conversions

An essential step when designing a successful measuring strategy is setting up conversion goals in Google Analytics. Conversion goals are the actions on your website that matter to you. You can set up goals for about anything, from destination pages to events. Between newsletter submissions, contact request, time spent on the website or number of pages visited, choose those which are most relevant for your business. If all your buys happen offline yet you focus on measuring the number of contact requests, perhaps you should reconsider your goal.

Why should you set up goals? They are a handy tool to count conversions and display them alongside campaigns and channels traffic. Goal completions can help paint a picture of the best performing channels in terms of conversions. You can also use them to segment audiences and compare their performance. Google Analytics goals can also be imported into your Google Ads account to measure ads conversions.

Step #5 – Display and analyze results using dashboards

Last but not least, create dashboards to display your hard work and get actionable insights that you can use to refine the KPIs of your communication strategy. What good does collecting data do if you can’t analyze it properly? Whether you’re using the Google Analytics dashboards or a dedicated platform such as Google Data Studio, displaying data will help you see all important metrics at a glance. When comparing the evolution over time, try looking at the bigger picture and keep in mind seasonal fluctuations pertaining to your business type (for example less traffic during summer vacations in an institutional environment).

Bear in mind that not all channels lead to direct conversions: some of them play a crucial role in supporting other channels in generating conversions. For instance, depending on the length of your conversion funnel/buyer journey, users might see an ad for your product on social media, read a blog post, and then come back a few days later by clicking on an ad and convert. Switch between the different attribution models available and pick one that best suits the needs of your company.

Bonus: test and learn

Communications and marketing aren’t scientific disciplines, there’s no recipe for success that will work for everyone. Each case is different, there’s a learning curve, so you’ll have to test the above-mentioned tactics by tagging and tracking your online content, analyse the results and then you will be able to learn and optimize your online marketing efforts. Once again, measure is treasure. Therefore, a methodical and structured tagging and tracking strategy will help.

This journey will bring you to share the insights with your company colleagues, partners, senior executives and prove the contribution of your online tools and tactics to the business goals of your company.

If you want to know how tagging and tracking your content can help you to contribute to the business goals of your company, contact our experts at Voice Agency.

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