For a marketing strategy based on careful attention to detail and thorough research, the ability to effectively track campaigns is of paramount importance. It signals to companies the Return On Investment (ROI) of specific campaigns, as well as providing valuable information about customer behaviour which can be used to inform and improve future marketing campaigns. Today, most marketing campaigns have a strong online component; web entities such as social media and Google Webmaster tools are useful not only for creating a marketing campaign, but also for tracking it. The benefit of these online tracking tools is that they are highly effective and free of charge, providing companies with access to a vast array of marketing statistics, and an opportunity to greatly improve their marketing ROI. This article will discuss some of the specific ways in which a marketing campaign can be tracked.
One of the most effective ways to track a marketing campaign is by using Google Analytics, which markets itself as an enterprise-class tool for analysing website traffic, but one that is user friendly and free. Google Analytics will monitor website traffic and automatically alert the user when there are any significant changes to the data pattern of site visitors. Google Analytics can also produce specific data on certain segments of website traffic; for example, the user can assess what proportion of visitors arrive at their site as a result of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, compared to visitors that arrive via organic search results. Google Webmaster tools such as Google Analytics provide invaluable marketing statistics which allow users to create more targeted ads, and monitor their effectiveness.
However, the capabilities of Google Webmaster tools do not stop there; the perfect complement to Google Analytics, Google Adwords allows users to create the type of PPC advertisements previously mentioned. It also provides access to the world’s largest online advertising network, reaching more than 86% of internet users. PPC advertisements can appear above or alongside organic keyword search results in Google, thus guaranteeing your website a prime place without having to jostle for position amongst Google’s organic search results. This type of advertising can be hugely beneficial to users, as the use of specific keywords provides access to a targeted market which is explicitly searching for what your company provides.
Another useful feature of Google Adwords is the Keyword Tool, which allows the quantity of local and global searches for each particular keyword to be assessed. The online tracking of keyword traffic provides users with the opportunity to create more targeted ads that will receive the greatest possible volume of website traffic. PPC advertising involves paying a fixed fee each time the website is clicked on, and users must bid for particular keywords; the higher the bid, the greater the number of network placements and thus website traffic an ad will receive. Although the cost of an ad is determined by a business’s location and how many customers it is trying to reach, users are able to control how much they wish to spend per day on Google Adwords advertising. With Google Adwords advertising, online tracking can determine the performance of an ad, and allows the user to adjust the keywords and budget in order to maximise the effectiveness of an online marketing campaign.
Another important aspect of a successful marketing campaign is to cultivate external links to your website; this not only increases the amount of website traffic your site will receive, but can also improve your position in organic search results on Google. One great online utility is www.bitly.com, which allows users to shorten long links into a more manageable ‘bit URLs’. This may seem trivial, but when you consider that Twitter allows just 140 characters for posting a link, each character saved is of considerable value. Not only that, but every Bitly URL has an information page which allows users to track the number of times that the link has been clicked. These bit URLs make links much easier to manage, as well as providing valuable marketing statistics through online tracking of the clicks a link receives.
Indeed, social media sites also provide vast potential for the online tracking of a marketing campaign, as well as being useful marketing tools in their own right. With a recent survey claiming that 61% of UK adults now use some form of social media[i], it has never been easier to spread the word online, or track how many people receive the message. On Twitter, the number of RTs, or ‘Re Tweets’ a link receives can be measured, and for Facebook, marketers can measure the number of people who like a page, or join a group. This not only allows accurate measurement of the number of people with access to information about your marketing campaign; social media can provide a range of details about the demographic who is interested in a certain marketing campaign, including age, gender, other interests and so on – the possibilities are endless. Online tracking using social media provides some of the most detailed and accurate marketing statistics available and the information is free of charge.
Finally, internet resources can be used to track offline marketing campaigns, as well as online campaigns. Marketers can create a web page that is specific to a particular campaign, and distribute its URL in offline marketing material (e.g. in Newspaper advertisements or billboards). Customers who reach the website via this route will initially be directed to a campaign-specific web page, and the success of that particular offline marketing campaign in attracting website traffic can be tracked using Google Analytics. The same principle could be applied to URLs distributed online in social media or blogs, thus easily ascertaining the total amount of website traffic generated by a specific marketing campaign. This strategy provides a bridge between online and offline marketing campaigns, and can be particularly beneficial for offline marketing campaigns, where assessing the marketing ROI can be more challenging.
When it comes to tracking a marketing campaign, there are a variety of high quality tools available that are efficient, professional and free. Utilizing these tools to their full extent will provide greater control and efficiency in campaigns.