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Beginner’s Guide: URL Tracking

Beginner's Guide: URL Tracking

URL (link) tracking is the process of adding unique identifiers (UTM codes) to URL of your destination site. By attaching simple coding to custom URLs, you can track the success of a source, medium, and campaign name and track sales from the origination point (like a tweet, email or a brochure) down the funnel to their conversion page.

Once you begin adding UTMs codes or your links, you can visit your Google Analytics account and track activity under: Audience > Campaigns > All Campaigns.


In This Guide:
An Example of URL Tracking
Why Track URLS?
How and When To Track
Creating the URL
Additional Tips

An Example of URL Tracking:

Forbes-Link Tracking

Clicking on the shortened link ( the @ForbesTech tweet brings you to this URL:

A closer look at the components of the URL and the information it is tracking:

  • utm_campaign=ForbesTech
  • utm_source=TWITTER
  • utm_medium=social
  • utm_channel=Technology
  • LinkId=18620691

Why Track Your URLs?

There a number of reasons to track URLs. At a minimum:

  1. Tagging your PPC destination URLs allows you to successfully track PPC (versus SEO) within Google Analytics.
  2. URL tagging allows you to gain a deeper knowledge of the overall performance of your PPC campaign. Each of the PPC search engines provides conversion tracking, and deep stats for impressions, clicks, click-through rate, etc. However, none of these stats explain what happens “post-click.”
  3. When you have properly tagged your PPC destination URLs, you will be able to view stats like pageviews per visit, average time on site, % new visitors and bounce rate. These stats can help you to understand if your website and landing pages are resonating with your visitors and help you to make the right changes.
  4. If you are working with a 3rd party to cross-promote business, asking them to use a specific tracking URL will provide you with analytics regarding the success of the promotion.
  5. It’s free to do!

How and When to Use UTM Codes

UTM codes can be used in both physical and digital media campaigns. For example:

Physical media: i.e. brochure, letter, or postcard

  • Create an easy to remember URL. Have that URL redirect to a URL that includes a UTM code.
  • Another option, use a URL customizing tool like,, or tinyurl, to convert the long UTM-coded URL into a short and memorable one.

Digital media: i.e. tweet, PPC ad, email

  • Simply include a UTM code in the hyperlink from the media to your site (call to action).

Whether the originating source is physical or digital media, the UTM code enables Google Analytics to tell you where searchers came from as well as what campaign directed them to you.

Creating the URL

There are a number of ways to create UTM codes in order to track a URL. Many of the most common marketing automation platforms have the technology built in. If you do not have an automation platform, you can still take advantage or URL tracking using free resources.

It’s important to recognize that no technology is actually required. You can create a URL tracking code manually but that’s a bad idea since it is so easy to make an error. Besides, why manually create it when free tools are so accessible? Either way, it’s important to understand the underlying structure of a tracking URL.

Whether you use a URL Builder (see Additional Tips) or you manually create the URLs, it’s essential that the variables are used correctly. There are some required variables as well as optional ones.


  • Website URL (the destination link): Could be your home page if you’re just trying to drive traffic i.e. but for real insight and to drive conversions, it’s best to use a Landing Page. i.e.
  • Campaign Source (utm_source): Identify where the content or ad is being promoted (where the visitor would be coming from). This is not to be confused with “campaign medium” (listed below). For example, if it is an ad placed on another site, list the URL for that site. If it’s from your company newsletter, you might list the name of that newsletter. Examples: Twitter, BostonGlobe, newsletter4, etc.
  • Campaign Medium (utm_medium): This field stores the medium (vehicle for delivery) for the content being used. For example, banner ads being shown on a site would be listed here as “banner”. Other options include “email”, “ppc”, “direct mail”, etc.
  • Campaign Name (utm_campaign): Include the product, promo code, or slogan (avoid vague acronyms or abbreviations). If there isn’t an official name for the campaign, use the name or phrase you use internally to talk about it. For example, it might be seasonal (eg. “Goolish Deals”), or it might refer to the message of the ads (eg. “Two for One Promo”).


  • Campaign Term (utm_term): This field is used for ppc campaigns, and it should store the search term for a specific ad. Anything placed in this field will show up in your analytics Keywords reports.
  • Campaign Content (utm_content): Use this field to differentiate between two ads that share the same name, source and medium. For example, if you’re A/B testing two banner ads on for a Black Friday sales and want to see which is more effective.  Maybe one is the “black and white ad” and the other is the “neon ad”.

Additional Tips

  • Free URL Building Tools: Google and Facebook each offer a simple form to help you create tracking URLs. You can use either of them to create all your future tracking URLs but note that Facebook pre-fills Campaign Source as Facebook. If your source is something other than Facebook, just replace the word “Facebook” with your actual source (i.e. “Newsletter”).
  • In Google Analytics, free traffic should all be categorized as “direct”, “referral” or “organic” from a search engine. In the absence of campaign variables, these labels will be applied automatically. Make sure that no traffic you are paying or working for is attributed to these medium names.
  • Google Analytics is generous with its field limits, so there is no need to abbreviate your campaign information or to make it intentionally ambiguous. Spell it all out so that nobody needs a “secret decoder” to understand the reports. Additionally, it provides transparency.
  • Be consistent in how you name campaigns (including consistency in capitalization). If you input a campaign medium as “banner” and later input a medium as “banner-ad”, while you may consider them to be the same, Google will group them separately in your report.

If you weren’t already tracking URLs, this introduction should provide you with the basics in order to get started. Share your comments or feel free to contact us directly with questions. We’ll be sharing be sharing more advanced tips in your a future post.

Marketing Automation: Is Your Organization Ready?

Marketing Automation: Is Your Organization Ready?

Is Your Organization Ready for Marketing Automation?

Let’s first acknowledge my bias. I help companies implement and improve Marketing Automation, Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing strategies. I’m pretty passionate about why companies should be leveraging technology particularly, if they operate in a B2B environment.

But often I surprise companies that get in touch with me when I tell them they aren’t ready yet. As much as I’d like to work with them and help them get value out of a Marketing Automation, they don’t have the prerequisites in place to see an ROI and over time they’ll waste money on it (which is ultimately bad for my reputation).

Food for Thought

Before making any investment, consider the following:

1. Have you outgrown your existing email marketing solution?
By this, I mean does your current solution lack the technical capabilities? If your issue is with lack of effectiveness such as high opt-out rate, low click rate, no measurable impact on sales, difficulty attracting subscribers, etc., “automation” isn’t going to solve your problems, just add a costly expense.

2. Is your sales process complex and lengthy?
For environments where prospects require multiple touches before coming to a buying decision, marketing automation can play an essential role, supporting both efficiency and effectiveness. If however, you’re in the business of selling low-cost widgets, the hefty investment in Marketing Automation may not be necessary.

3. Do your buyers require nurturing (engaging and relationship-building with prospects that aren’t yet ready to buy)?
Marketing Automation can support lead nurturing in a way that allows you to allocate high-touch resources (sales personnel) on the most qualified of leads while the needs at the top of the funnel are managed through automation.

4. Does your marketing team make data-driven decisions?
Perhaps you’ve noticed the ever-increasing number of job posts for “Marketing Analysts.” Traditionally dependent on communication strategies, creativity and PR, Inbound Marketing is driven by data analysis. If you do not currently have a data-driven marketing organization, an investment in marketing automation will fall flat.

5. Does your department have the necessary resources to support Marketing Automation and Inbound Marketing?

  • Content – develop ebooks, blogs, social media
  • Engagement – consistently drive social media engagement, brand advocacy, and relationship-building
  • Design – create landing pages, emails, compelling graphics
  • IT/Development – manage integration with CRM and Web assets
  • Operations – create and manage workflows, analyze performance, report outcomes.

If you can answer yes to the above, the next step is to ensure you have commitment from the Senior Leadership Team because marketing automation will impact all areas of the business. Get the buy-in and include them in the process before actually investing.


Marketing Automation: Drivers and Benefits

Marketing Automation: Drivers and Benefits

The Drivers and Benefits for Implementing Marketing Automation

There are many reasons for an organization to investigate marketing automation and generally, the decision entails a variety of factors and considerations. Assuming are already familiar with the concept of Marketing Automation, let’s look at the common drivers and benefits for investing in an automation platform.

Common Drivers:

  • The need for sales and marketing reports that provide data for analysis, planning, and determination of return on investment.
  • The need to simplify the management and coordination of activities, such as marketing campaigns, channel management, reporting, and analytics.
  • The need to manage and coordinate multiple point tools such as email and webinar management applications, and/or the need to integrate such tools with contact management and CRM platforms and programs.
  • The need to manage lead generation, lead nurturing, and the transfer of leads to sales in an organized, time-sensitive manner that enhances conversion and closing rates.
  • The need to use time strategically: e.g., reduce the time needed to create and deploy campaigns, or respond to sales-ready leads in real time.

Key Benefits:

  • Automate and accelerate email marketing: Easily create and manage email, optimize when you send it, create segments with targeted, dynamic messages, and track responses such as opens and clickthrough rates.
  • Capture lead information using forms: Create and manage the registration forms that collect information (and sometimes, augment it) from your buyers.
  • Create a marketing database: Manage leads and contacts, and develop a complete record of when and how you have interacted with each lead over time. (Sales can find plenty of useful information here, too.)
  • Track and analyze online behavior: Monitor online behavior to find out about a potential buyer’s interests, preferences, and readiness to buy. Use that information to deliver targeted offers and messages.
  • Manage and optimize campaigns: Automate marketing programs that send multiple messages – through different channels – and make sure they adapt based on when and how buyers respond.
  • Score and manage leads: Build models that assign points based on certain behaviors and spot hot leads faster so they can be passed to sales.
  • Visualize and monitor results: Dashboards and drill-downs will identify the campaigns and channels that do (or do not) deliver.

Feel free to submit your questions and in the meantime, stay tuned for a follow-up post – Evaluating Readiness.

Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Automation

Beginner's Guide to Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation 101

Anyone that spends time online has been exposed to marketing automation. So let’s take a minute to look behind the curtain to understand what it is, what it does, and whether it’s something you should implement for your organization.

Marketing Automation Definition

Marketing Automation software is used by Marketing (and sometimes Sales and Customer Service) to automate tasks and provide business intelligence. In its most basic form, it involves creating rules to automate communications (generally email) and handle online form submissions.

User Experience

As an example, let’s say you did a web search for “Marketing Automation Tips” and you found the following ad:

Digital Advertising

You click the link and reach a page that succinctly describes the key benefits of the ebook. To download it, you’re presented with a simple form. Upon completing and submitting, you immediately receive an email with your ebook – you may also be redirected to a new page, providing you with a suggestion for what you may want to do next.

The embedded form and subsequent delivery of content was managed through a Marketing Automation platform. A few of most popular platforms include HubSpot, Pardot, Eloqua and Marketo. Over time you’re likely to receive a series of emails from 360 Reputation, asking if you enjoyed the ebook you downloaded and offering you an opportunity to speak further about the topic and how it applies to your business.

Marketing Automation – Background Activity

Concurrent with the delivery of your requested ebook, an automation platform is preforming a variety of operations in the background. For example:

  • Checking to see if you exist in 360 Reputation’s CRM yet and if not adding you as a new lead.
  • Checking online to see if it can verify your email address against any Social Media profiles (and adding those if it can).
  • Checking your IP to determine your location (Country, City, State).
  • Assigning a lead score in the CRM system, indicating the likelihood of you making a purchase.

As you revisit the 360 Reputation or click on follow-up emails, your CRM profile is updated and over time, 360 Reputation gets a better picture about what interests you and which offering may be best suited for you. If you take certain actions such as visiting the pricing page, the Marketing Automation platform might signal the sales team that you are in “buying mode” and alert them to contact you.

Creepy? Or Cool!

All these marketing and sales actions are “Marketing Automation.” Whether you find this to be creepy or cool, this is occurring on almost every business-oriented website you visit. Which begs the question, should your company invest in Marketing Automation?

Interested in learning more? Click here to get in touch.

Beginner’s Guide to Reputation Management

Beginner's Guide to Reputation Management

There are numerous websites that offer you the opportunity to find and be found. Understanding your social footprint is a critical aspect of Online Reputation Management. I’ve started a resource link and in the meantime, am providing just one example along with tips for using it.

Featured Site & Tips: facesaerch (a Google tool).

  • Search for your name in quotes (for example: “Erika von Hoyer) and without quotes (Erika von Hoyer).
  • Evaluate the results. Not you? Mouse over pictures to see the name associated with the photo.
  • See personal photos? You may need to adjust your privacy settings on your Social Media accounts. This won’t immediately erase photos from being publicly available but it will begin the process that reduces the frequency and ease in which these associated photos will be found.
  • If you’re seeing photos you’ve shared through Facebook, change your privacy settings for all posts or, find the specific photo appearing on Facesaerch and change from “public” to “friends”.
  • You may notice photos of your “friends” and professional contacts – make sure you think about who connect with online since your contacts and their behaviors reflect on you.

It’s scary and empowering to discover the many ways the internet can be used to disseminate information or facilitate research. I’ve started a collection of resources including a category for Reputation Management. It will take quite some time for me to transfer my bookmarks (I have 100s!)

I’ve added a dozen or so as a starting point and will continue to populate as time permits. In the meantime, I welcome your feedback. If you would like to recommend sites or, have questions, please comment below.


Google Privacy Check

Google Privacy Check

Google Versus Your Privacy

Is there anything you can do to protect your privacy on Google? No, not entirely that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time to understand what you are sharing.

For starters, it’s good practice to regularly conduct a check. You can do so here.

Through this link, you can control what Google-related content you are sharing with others. For example, your YouTube subscriptions, Liked videos, and playlists and the photos and contact info shared on Google+.

Oh, and don’t forget to adjust your ad settings on Google here.

Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation Management

3 Amazingly Simple Steps to Monitor Your Reputation

It’s important to monitor and manage your online reputation (ORM). And the good news, is that you can address the basics for free!

1. Create a Google Alert for your name (or your company/brand). Discover new content as soon as it’s posted.

2. Take advantage of Yasni’s people search engine.

3. Claim your name on networking sites. Even if you aren’t an active user, claiming your name will help ensure you (person, brand, or company) are not confused with another.

If searching for your personal username, namechk is a great starting point (free). For a business, is a more thorough option (plans start at $189).

Be sure to check out our resources link for additional help with ORM. If you have questions or suggestions, please add a comment or submit privately through our Contact page.

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