Why does Online Marketing Tracking sound more complicated than it really is?
Because… for most of us it brings visions of “coding” and “pixels” – almost as if you have to be a developer to track your marketing results.
It sounds more complicated than it is because we’re asking the wrong questions. Instead, let me ask you this:
If you knew which ads worked better, would your marketing improve?
The answer to that is much more simple (Yes). And that’s all marketing tracking is – knowing what works.
The easiest place to start is to share links that contain data.
Below are two different methods for improving your marketing tracking quickly using links, not code. I’ll show you a free DIY method, as well as some paid, time-saving help:
The Free Marketing Tracking Method
Things You’ll Need:
- A free Google Analytics account.
- This UTM template spreadsheet (read below first)
Step 1) Google analytics
The most popular web tracking software, there is a good chance you already have Google Analytics connected to your website. If not, it’s free and fairly simple. Just go to analytics.google.com and login with a Google account. It will guide you through setting up a website.
On the surface, you can track the number of web visitors, basic demographic information, how long they spend on your site, what devices they use… and the list goes on.
But ultimately, this is where the money is…
Google has 5 reports we’re primarily interested for marketing tracking:
- Goals & Events: these 2 features report key actions taken ON your site
- Source, Medium & Campaigns: this is data from OFF your site (where they came from)
For ads and marketing tracking, let’s talk Source, Medium & Campaign.
Automatically, Google knows if someone came from Facebook, Twitter, etc. But how do you know which Facebook post? How do you know which ad someone clicked on EXACTLY?
Even better… how do you attribute clicks from several sources to the same campaign?
To do that, we use what’s called UTM parameters:
Step 2) Add UTM Parameters to Your Links
UTMs are a tag we add on the end of a link when we share it anywhere online. It tells Google what to set the Source/Medium and Campaign to, and looks like this:
- Normal Link: beesbeesbees.com/
- Link + UTM: beesbeesbees.com/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=boosted-post&utm_campaign=exercise-tips-video
After the “?” there is a string of tags to set our data to what we want. The “utm_source” part stays the same, but you determine what comes after the “=” sign.
This doesn’t change the page they land on but makes it possible to know exactly what happened when visitors from that one link got to your site.
Did they download an e-book? Did they fill out a form? Did they spend several minutes on my site or leave quickly?… It’s all available!
So start adding UTM parameters to your ad links to make your data as clean as possible. The easiest way to add the parameters is with a spreadsheet like this one.
When creating ads, all you need is the link generated by the spreadsheet. If you’re sharing on social media or somewhere the link is visible, copy the new link and shorten it with a free tool such as Bitly.
NOTE: I’ve only covered 3 of the 5 parameters here. You can also use “term” and “content” parameters to get more specific. More on that here.
Next, you just have to watch the results come in! Here’s how:
Step 3) Checking Results
Once you’ve used UTMs for a little while, you can log into Google Analytics and start checking results.
- To start, you can see goals by the Campaign parameter by going to Acquisition, Campaigns, “All Campaigns” in the side menu.
Below the chart, you can switch to view by source and medium as well:
- To see what events your visitors took, open the behavior tab, and under events click “Top Events.” You’ll be able to sort by URL parameters under “Secondary Dimension”
So that is how to track marketing results for free!
It takes getting used to, but the results are worthwhile.
Sound more complicated than you have time for? Don’t worry, there’s another way. Here are some other, time-saving options just for you:
Software Options to Automatically Track Marketing Results
If you’re willing to pay a little to make tracking your ads more simple, there are two routes I recommend researching.
Option 1) Your Existing Website Company
First things first, be sure you’re getting the most out of what you have. Does your web design company offer analytics and tracking? Have they trained you on it?
If this isn’t an option, next time you redesign your website consider an all-in-one company that includes tracking & analytics so you don’t have to pay extra for it.
Option 2) Paid Link Tracking Software
There is plenty of analytics software out there, some may even be free. But if you want easy-to-use and tracking for off-site ads, “link tracking” is the direction to look.
I recommend checking out LinkTrackr. Their pricing isn’t outrageous and the interface is pretty simple.
Why Marketing Tracking Matters
At the end of the day, your website, your ads… all of that is meant to get you more patients. It’s an investment! Yet still, one of the questions we hear most is “How do I know my marketing is working?”
If you aren’t sure what’s working, make sure to improve your tracking before spending more money – it will make a world of difference in your budgeting! And if you need help, schedule a free consult with us for an online marketing analysis, and to see our available website & tracking tools.
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