At the heart of every marketing strategy is the need to find new prospects and nurture them into becoming customers or clients. And, at the heart of your digital strategy will be your website.

Over the life of your website, the cost of Acquisition is probably the most expensive part of the total ownership cost of that site. This is what you pay to attract visitors to your site and will involve both direct (in the form of Adverts & SEO) and indirect costs (content creation).

When visitors come to your website, where do they come from?

Nearly 40% of marketeers use analytics to underpin and inform their marketing decisions.  The best of those will use a Digital Tracking Plan to improve the quality of their data. In one form or another, the marketeers should use a Digital Tracking Planner to manage all inbound website traffic.

The Secret Behind Successful Marketing Analytics Data

Website Analytics

To track your website traffic and acquisition, you are probably using a tool like Google Analytics – which is a free to use and great piece of software. Nearly 90% of all websites will be running Google Analytics, so we are in good company. (For the purposes of this article, we will assume that you have some analytics running on your website; most likely Google Analytics).

As with all analytics solutions from the humble spreadsheet to the most expensive tools used by Data Scientists, the outputs, or insights, are only as good as the data being used.

All digital assets gather data by default. By this we mean, social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn etc), Ad platforms (Google Ads, Bing Ads etc) and websites. Without any assistance on your part, they will gather basic data for you. Dates, times, referring site, Geo data, device data and so on.

Google Analytics will gather this data and store it for you.

  • It is worth noting at this point that, whilst you can access and extract the data, you cannot modify it. Once stored, it belongs to Google. After all, they are paying for it!
  • It is also worth tweaking your Google Analytics when you first set it up. As an example, the default channel groupings do not tell the whole truth when using GA out of the box – which may inflate or skew your “organic” results.

On a final point, read the data with care; not everything you see is always true as outlined in this article from Forbes.com, Loopholes In Google Analytics Put Marketers’ Insights At Risk.

What is a Digital Tracking Planner?

When we talk of a Digital Tracking Planner, we are not referring to digital planners like Trello and Monday.com. Everyone has their favourites and all have their benefits. Indeed, you may even be using one to manage your Digital Tracking Plan!

A Digital Tracking Planner (DTP) is a discipline used to document and track the source of your digital traffic – specifically new visitors – to your website.

  • WHY? So you can tell what works and repeat that.
  • Every time you place a link on any location (digital or otherwise) you need to put a little effort into making that link correct and identifiable so you can accurately track the source of your traffic.

Good data, Intelligent Data takes planning & preparation, it does not happen by chance.

A Digital Tracking Planner

  • takes the guesswork out of your Acquisition reports.
  • ensures you follow best practices when building links.
  • maintains a record of your campaigns and activities.

Some of you may use a digital planner document, and others will build or adapt a spreadsheet to track their sources and even build their links. Some will use a dedicated software solution – like our clients who use DTP from Intelidat. The key point is that you use one tool to manage all your activities and all your links

As part of your marketing plan, you will no doubt create Campaigns made up of activities like ads, social posts or emails. Some of these activities will be paid and some will be organic (non-paid, owned). Identifying the impact of these marketing activities and campaigns is what we do in Google Analytics.

You do this by building unique tracking links for every activity.

These links include a landing page and then some identification values; UTM Parameters, bespoke parameters, or a combination of both.

UTM means Urchin Track Markers which remain the default tracking values used in all web analytics and are the basis of the ubiquitous Source/Medium Report in Google Analytics.

Here’s an description of the five UTM parameters:

  1. *Utm_campaign – Identify the marketing campaign
  2. *Utm_source – Facebook, LinkedIn, Email list name
  3. *Utm_medium – Social, email, cpc, organic social, paid social
  4. Utm_termidentify key word usage
  5. Utm_content – if you have more than one link within a single activity – emails?

*

Campaign, source & medium should always be included. (Term & content are optional).

 

Do not use utm parameters in Google Ads!

 

Bespoke parameters are usually associated with particular software. Google ads will add a “gclid=”, Facebook use a “fbclid=” and so on.

If you are going to use your own bespoke parameter, you must make sure you tell your analytics what to expect, or it will not recognise the parameter, and you will be adding muddle, not detail to your analytics.

Best Practices for links include remembering the following rules:

  1. Links on your own website do not need parameters.
  2. Your home page should not be your landing page. a) Generally, you build a new landing page for every campaign. b) You can use the same landing page for every activity under that campaign so long as it suits the message.
  3. You should not use bespoke parameters unless you have prepared Google Analytics to understand them.
  4. You should not include UTM parameters in Google Ads (unless you have set up Google Analytics to expect them).

DTP by Intelidat

At Intelidat we have built a simple solution to maintaining a Digital Tracking Plan. It’s free to use. Just fill out the  enquiry form below with your email address and a website url.  We will set up your account and tell you how to start using DTP to manage your inbound links.

Ask yourself…

  • Do you track your marketing activities?
  • Do you review your source/medium report?
  • Do you use a Digital Tracking Plan?

  • Which is your most successful source of traffic?

Get in touch…

If you would like to discuss your needs, please call 03300 436949, or fill in our online enquiry form.