For savvy construction marketers, tracking and measuring marketing campaign performance is not just important, it’s absolutely fundamental.
This post was originally created in 2011 and was recently updated in November 2014
The insight gleaned is invaluable in guiding current and future marketing decisions and should ultimately govern the allocation of your marketing spend.
In this post we’ll show you how to use the Google Url Builder to measure the effectiveness of all your online marketing channels through Google Analytics (other analytics software are available).
You’ll learn how to Structure and name your campaigns. How to tag email, adwords and banner ad campaigns. We’ll show you how to tag Twitter campaigns and track offline campaigns too.
We’ll also show you how to analyse your campaign data in Google analytics and how to measure goals.
Your marketing support teams should be perfectly capable to work out the return on your marketing channel investment. As a marketer it’s your job to decipher (using facts, not gut feel) whether or not a campaign has achieved its objectives and indeed had any effect on your customers or target audience.
By measuring the performance of each campaign marketers are continuously learning and thereby improving which allows us to fine tune campaigns and understand how our target audience interacts with the various touch points and messages you broadcast.
The digital world has made tracking online behaviour and visitors much easier.
But it takes effort and marketers must strive to understand where visitors come from, what pages they viewed, how long they spent on our websites, which sources are sending quality traffic and most importantly, did those visitors then turn into leads or conversions.
“Marketers are now able to evaluate the effectiveness of every online medium and gather a multitude of data from every touch point to help them make better decisions and maximise budgets and spend.”
Integrating marketing activities such as paid search, social media, email, print and your website is essential in delivering consistent and relevant messages through to your target audience and being able to achieve your objectives and goals for your marketing activities.
Construction companies’ focus on marketing is still particularly low given that many of them still utilise traditional methods of advertising and promotion.
They have yet to fully experience what digital marketing can allow them to do and the results which can be achieved.
“Integrating online marketing activities with your existing offline marketing strategies allows for brand and message consistency across all channels. This builds brand reputation and reduces the risk of confusing potential customers and clients who will come across your business from various touch points.”
In this issue of My Digital Insider we are going to look at how to set up, track and measure integrated marketing campaigns and its effectiveness using Google Analytics.
Companies do not need to spend big amounts of money nowadays as the digital techniques, systems and platforms are widely available and can prove to be very cost effective if done correctly.
- This is a marketing campaign launching ‘Product A’ into the market place.
- You have a specific microsite where visitors will be directed to from all sources used within the campaign.
- Channels used are Email, Paid search, Twitter, Blog, Banner Advertising and Print Advertising.
Campaign Structure and Naming
To differentiate between all the different adverts and campaigns we will need to tag each and every medium so we can identify which source the visitor to your website arrived from.
All the links we use within our campaign will also need to be tagged so that we can view all the visitors generated from each source.
This is why it is crucial to identify a common campaign name and unique tags prior to creating any design or content for your campaign.
Firstly, you will need to familiarise yourself with ‘UTM tags’. UTM tags are ‘identifiers’ or ‘additional bits of information’ which Google Analytics uses to identify visitors from various sources which are related to a campaign.
The additional information then appears in Google Analytics under the campaign report.
The most common (required) UTM tags used are as follows:
- UTM_campaign: This is the tag used to identify the campaign name
- UTM_medium: This is the tag used to identify the medium used (e.g. email, social media)
- UTM_source: This is the tag used to identify the source (e.g. newsletter, Twitter, building-ad)
These tags appear at the end of the URL. To help you create your tags you can use the free Google URL builder tool.
Every link we use within our campaign to point to the microsite will contain specific UTM tags to identify:
- Where our visitors are coming from
- Assess which mediums generated the highest traffic
- Which sources achieved the greatest number of conversions
Here is what a tagged URL will look like once created via the Google URL builder:
The beginning of the URL contains the actual website address or landing page. The second part of the URL contains the UTM tags and this is where the additional information is located.
Once you know which mediums you are going to use you will need to start creating tags for each link. Here is how your campaign structure and tags should look when planned out (Click to view larger version):
Notice how the Emails, Online Banners and Print ads all have different sources yet have the same medium.
This is how we distinguish the traffic and success from each email and advert used within the campaign. In the example above, we will be using ‘email’ as the medium but have two emails, one is a promotion email and the other is an article within the April edition of a newsletter.
Each link can have a different month or different title depending on what the source is. This is a good way to view the difference or effect from two newsletters or three emails sent on different days.
Once you have all the tags defined you may now start to design your ads and your emails.
Tagging Email Links
The click through button (call to action button) within your emails will need to be tagged using the Google URL builder and should be set up for each respective email.
The URL for this Promotional email will look like this:
The link from your newsletter to the microsite should look like this:
Tagging your Google Adwords Campaigns
Log into your Google Adwords account and view the ‘Preferences’ tab. Ensure that the ‘Auto-tagging’ feature is enabled. That’s it!
Tagging Online Banner Advertisements
For this example, we are running two ad banners. One on building.co.uk and the other on cnplus.co.uk (Construction News Website).
We will need to tag each banner so that we can see which banner generated the most traffic and which publication website also generated the most conversions or leads. With the use of print advertising we can calculate the cost per lead generated and will cover this at the end of the article.
And repeat for the second advertisement but changing the Campaign Source field to ‘constructnews_apr’. What this has done is generated two links for each of your banner ads and identified the source as being Building and Construction News.
Buidling.co.uk Banner Advertisement URL:
CNplus.co.uk Banner Advertisement URL:
Tagging Twitter Links
If you are going to use Twitter as part of your campaign then you should also tag your tweets.
This will tell you whether or not Twitter is an effective source of quality traffic, after all your followers should have some sort of interest in what you do.
If you are using Hootsuite then there is a built in Google Analytics ‘tagging’ tool which you can use. Enter your tweet or campaign message and then select Google Analytics from the ‘Select a Preset’ drop down menu.
“Twitter is a great traffic generation tool and allows you to instantly see and track which information is most valued by your followers. Establish which tweets and links were shared the most (and by whom) to gain insight into what exactly your audience is looking for.”
The fields will pre-populate using the UTM tags.
Once you have entered the text into the appropriate fields, you can click ‘Send Now’, save the message, or schedule it to be sent out at a specific time.
All that is left to do now is click on ‘Shrink’ to shorten your URL. You can also use UTM tags for Bit.ly links but will need to be implemented via the Google URL builder.
The URL for twitter links will look like this:
Tracking Offline Ads
For a complete analysis of our campaign we will also need to track the visitors from our print advertising.
Tracking offline adverts in magazines can be quite tricky and may require some technical know-how. For this example, we have two print ads promoting our new product booked into the April issue of Building and Construction News magazines.
Our print ads will be printed with the following URL’s respectively:
Building: For further info visit www.manufacturer.co.uk/building
Construction News: For further info visit www.manufacturer .co.uk/cnplus
These URL’s will both point to a product page on our microsite but notice that we don’t print the full URL with the UTM tags? We will use a re-direct process here to make it easier to identify which magazine sent the most traffic and which magazine achieved the most conversions.
By using ‘re-directs’ we will redirect visitors who type the printed web address to anther URL containing our campaign URL including the UTM tags.
So, we go back to the Google URL builder tool and enter our tags to go at the end of the print ad URL’s.
Once we have generated a URL for each of our ads we need to place a short snippet of code on the landing pages of our microsite which tells the website to refresh the URL to now include the UTM tags before the Google Analytics code is executed.
Now that we have all of our links generated they will need to be placed accordingly within all email call to action buttons, all tweets schedules, banner ads published and print ads.
Analysing the Campaign Data in Google Analytics
Using Google Analytics we can track all of the data for our campaign ‘ProductAlaunch’. Remember, all of the links from our emails, banner ads, social media, pay per click and offline ads contained the campaign name as a UTM tag within the URL’s. In order to segment the traffic data in Google Analytics we will need to segment the campaign traffic from the rest of the day to day to traffic.
First, create an ‘advanced segment’ and ensure it matches exactly with the campaign name.
Now go to the ‘Campaign’ report within Google Analytics and view your campaign report data.
Now that we have our campaign report open, we can see that our Pay Per Click campaign generated us the most traffic with 3253 visitors in our month long campaign followed by our article within the April newsletter generating 214 visits.
However, our print ad only generated 2 visits. Can you now work out the cost per visitor? Which source is more cost effective?
“It is important to establish which of your marketing activities were the most successful and which ones can be improved upon. This saves time and money when designing future campaigns because you will have data illustrating which channels are the most effective for your target audience.”
Using this analytical data we can now view and compare all the other channels and mediums used within our campaign and the medium which generated the most amount of traffic at the lowest cost.
Whilst it is ok to focus solely on visits we also need to focus on ‘conversions’. This is where the real performance and effectiveness of our campaign can be evaluated. It is all well and good generating thousands of visitors but if they are not converting into leads then the campaign has failed to achieve its primary objective.
In Google Analytics you can set up individual goals for your website (max 20). These goals could consist of cpd requests, downloads, brochure requests, enquiry submissions, product demonstration requests, newsletter sign ups or even video views.
Ensure you have these ‘Goals’ setup prior to even thinking about conducting an integrated campaign.
From the above table we can see that our pay per click campaign achieved a conversion rate of over 10% followed by the newsletter converting over 4% into ‘enquiries’ and ‘brochure requests’.
Our Twitter campaign also did well converting 1.56% of the traffic into ‘Callback Requests’ which means immediate opportunities to do business.
By using these conversion rates we can then work out what it cost us to generate each visit and each conversion. This type of data is now valuable to any marketer.
Online continues to be the focus for many ambitious construction companies as they integrate traditional methods of advertising and promotion with new methods such as landing pages, email and search.
Most marketers realise that each medium can work much more effectively when they are integrated – No medium will work with maximum effect on its own – but some find it hard to find the time or the tools to measure their efforts effectively. Hopefully this post will help those in that position and enable more marketers to measure quickly, confidently and effectively.
Measuring the performance of each medium as part of an integrated campaign is key in understanding what works and what doesn’t.
Measuring enables you to answer business questions such as calculating returns on marketing spend and identifying how your target audience engage with your marketing messages and campaigns.
The data gathered by Google Analytics, as each visitor opens an email, Googles your product, clicks on a Pay Per Click ad or connects with you via Twitter allows you to evaluate the bigger picture of your entire online performance.
As the saying goes: “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
Measuring traffic and conversions not only gives you insight into which medium was effective but also helps you understand specific segment behaviour and which medium they prefer to engage with your messages.
You may find more Architects converted via Twitter and more Estimators converted via email. How useful is this insight when conducting your next campaign aimed at Architects and Estimators?
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