How to use UTM Tags to Measure Construction Marketing and PR Activity

This post has been updated for relevancy as of 25.09.18.

In the construction industry there are a huge range of media outlets and publications that can be used as part of an effective marketing campaign.

Generally, as the opportunities with construction media have grown, so have the ways we can measure its effectiveness.

Publishing houses are generally pleased to hear that media activity is being monitored – and not just by a cuttings service.

After all, they know their publications can help and this will prove it (or not, as the case may be).

You can read more about what you may be missing from your existing PR strategy here.

In this post, we’ll cover what UTM tags actually are and how building product manufacturers can measure the results of content and PR activity through this popular tracking tactic.

What are UTM tags?

Quite simply, UTM tags are snippets of code placed onto the end of a URL, enabling you to track who opens and clicks through to a particular page.

This code also tracks a visitor arriving on a page via a certain source or marketing channel as part of your selected campaign.

Why are UTM tags important?

UTM tags can help to transform the measurement process, linking your marketing efforts to Google Analytics and giving you the data to support an idea, or in some cases, to try a different approach.

Despite being incorporated into many marketing campaigns, you’ll be surprised how often UTM tags are wrongly used or misunderstood, leading to a catastrophic outcome to any marketer attempting to measure their success. (You also need to be persistent with many publication houses who will often forget to include your provided UTM tag!) They may appear fiddly or seem daunting to begin with, but your construction business will reap the rewards in the long run.

How are UTM tags set up?

See below the UTM code set up for a case study campaign for one of our clients, Glazing Vision.

http://www.glazingvision.co.uk/case-studies/bespoke-eaves-roof-light-for-residential-property/?utm_campaign=broombank&utm_source=specificationmagazine&utm_medium=onlinepr

So let’s break this down…

  • ?utm_campaign is where the code starts and is attached to the original link to Glazing Vision’s case study page.
  • =Broombank is our campaign name, which is the piece of content we need the audience to be directed to.
  • ?utm_source is the piece of code tracking where this campaign, (i.e. piece of content), is coming from.
  • =specificationmagazine is the named source within this particular example – a well known publication magazine.
  • utm_medium is the part of the code that tells us the channel through which this content has been collated and broadcast – whether it’s email, onlinePR, or PrintPR, for example. In this instance, the medium is ‘onlinepr’ as we know Specification Magazine is the press publication driving the traffic.

All elements of the above tag will be grouped within Google Analytics for us to track traffic and conversions.

Measuring online PR

When working with the media, sending a mass of different URLs and tags can get messy and confusing for both you and the editorial assistant.

Make life easier by firstly setting up a Google docs spreadsheet which outlines a straightforward tagging strategy…

utm-tagging-spreadsheet

So, if a campaign is based around a CPD promotion, the campaign could be cpdpromo, your source would be the promoter, such as Building Products, and the medium would be onlinepr.

Or, your campaign could be a case study piece such as Broombank which is to go in Architects Journal’s E-newsletter. Therefore the source would be ‘architectsjournal’ and the medium would be emailpr.

A spreadsheet will enable you to keep track of all URLs that have been sent out to the media for each campaign and it’ll help you keep a consistent ‘tag’ naming structure.

This also means that each time you add another campaign, the formula from the previous will be laid out for you to use and edit where appropriate.

The editorial assistant must then be provided with the tagged URL for them to link to your content piece.

Measuring Print PR

It is important to note that despite the world of digital evolving at a rapid speed, print advertising is still crucial to ensure that you are generating brand awareness both online and offline.

Despite being in print, we are able to still identify which marketing medium has sent the most traffic and conversions.

However, the process for tracking print coverage becomes slightly different in that a redirect must be set up in the CMS.

This means that when visitors type a unique ‘campaign’ web address [see the example below the image], it will redirect them to another URL containing the campaign and appropriate UTM tag.

redirection-example

In the WordPress CMS, on the left hand side, go to ‘tools’ followed by ‘redirection’.

Copy and paste the full URL and UTM tag for your chosen campaign in the ‘Target URL’ space provided, which in this case would be:

http://www.glazingvision.co.uk/contact/request-cpd/?utm_campaign=rooflightcpd&utm_source=allprintmedia&utm_medium=printpr

You’ll see that for print you’d change the source and medium to ‘print’, or ‘allprintmedia’ .

When sending the campaign to press, provide them with this redirection.

For an example unique ‘campaign’ web address…

To book a CPD, please visit www,glazingvision.co.uk/request-cpd

Witnessing the results

It is important to note that there is no need to set up URLs in Google Analytics for online coverage; Google will automatically track incoming campaigns once your site is set up with the system. Access these under ‘Audience,’ in the left hand navigation and then ‘Sources’, then ‘Campaigns’.

A redirect needs to be set up for print only.

Below is an example of how a campaign appears in analytics.

GV-GA-Campaigns-media

We can see here that email has generated 54 visits and two goal completions, whereas print has generated 33 visits and currently zero goal completions in the early days to that particular campaign.

The takeaway here is that you will know on an almost daily basis which campaigns are working hard for their budget and which are perhaps slow-burners that need monitoring over a longer period of time.

When used correctly, UTM tags enable you to fine tune your marketing campaigns and work more effectively with your media relations.

You’ll be able to identify how your target audience interacts and through which medium or source, whilst detecting which media outlets are successfully promoting your content or where you could be losing money.

Ultimately, UTM tags will enable you to do more of what is working and less of what isn’t.

To find out more about producing effective, measurable content download our Content Marketing E-book.

About Pauley Creative

Pauley Creative is the digital marketing agency for the construction industry. We create, build and manage brand awareness and lead generation strategies for building product manufacturers within the construction industry. You can follow us on Twitter here - click here.

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