In today's fast-paced market, one saturated with new products and featuring heavy competition from strong players in every field, marketing your product and determining the reach of every carefully constructed marketing campaign can be...complicated.
In this brief, three-part guide to lead tracking and management, we'll share some advice that might just help you un-complicate all of the above.
In Part I, we'll give you an introduction to the types of tracking parameters and then briefly show you how to track leads using them.
What is UTM tracking?
Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) is a small segment of code you can attach to a URL to track campaign parameters such as source, medium, campaign, term, content, and more. These parameters enable Google Analytics to ultimately determine where most search traffic originates and where the major sections of your leads are generated.
Here is an example of a URL with UTM code appended to it. The text highlighted in yellow is the UTM code.
In the example above, you can see the "traffic source" (people clicking the link) is Twitter and the "medium" is social media.
Adding these parameters after the question mark above doesn't affect anything on the page—it just lets your analytics program know that someone arrived through a certain source inside an overall marketing channel as part of a specific campaign.
Tracking marketing campaigns using UTM codes
Suppose you're running a small leather goods and accessories business that's currently launching a summer collection and you are running campaigns on various social media sites and on your website. Your campaign can urge customers to fill in a subscription form that sends promo and discount codes to subscribers.
You can use a form builder—we'll use Zoho Forms for our example—as your main lead collection platform to create the subscription form that is linked to your marketing campaigns.
UTM tracking codes can track the source, medium, marketing campaign, and other details of your leads. Use the Zoho Forms URL builder to construct a form permalink URL and measure the leads generated through your campaigns such as email campaign, social media campaign, and more, and focus on avenues generating more leads in the future.
As a side note, if you are using UTM parameters to track leads and don't have an integrated CRM account, your analytics data gets saved in the Zoho Forms Reports database.
What is Gclid?
Gclid, short for Google Click Identifier, is another unique tracking parameter that helps you track offline conversions and reports on your paid campaigns and ads performance using website tracking programs like Google Analytics.
Google uses Gclid to transfer information like important details of a particular user session, time spent on site, pages per visit, actions taken, and more between your Google Ads account and your Google Analytics account. These details are required to calculate your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and help ensure that you get value for your expenditures.
Tracking marketing campaigns using Gclid
You'll need to have an integrated Google Ads and Analytics account to track leads using Gclid (Lead tracking information will be saved in your Google Analytics dashboard).
Gclid gets automatically added as a parameter to the ad URL once the Auto-tagging feature is switched on. Auto-tagging is a setting in your Google Ads account that appends a Google Click ID to the end of the URL for each ad click.
The next important step after lead tracking is lead management, which can be done using an integrated CRM software such as Zoho CRM or other third-party CRM software. The integrated CRM will then serve the purpose of a lead management software by collecting even more detailed lead information that can be used to enhance sales.
So you can capture Gclid from the page where the form is embedded and save the information directly in your CRM. Measure which ad campaigns generate more leads via the subscription forms and let your team follow up and focus on these key areas. Lead management using CRM will be discussed in detail in Parts II and III of this blog.
But wait. What about a hybrid approach?
Now if you are a business that runs the hybrid approach of both manual (UTM parameters) and auto-tagging (Gclid values), there are a few things to note. In the past, sending UTM and Gclid to your destination URL caused discrepancies within your reporting and was a shunned practice.
So what can you do if you are using third-party reporting platforms in addition to Google Analytics? Previously, Google did not allow you to generate tracking reports using third-party platforms. But now Google Analytics gives you the advanced option to override Gclid values with UTM values if you specify that within your Property settings.
You cannot use UTM parameters and auto-tagging Gclid tracking simultaneously unless you check the "Allow manual tagging to override auto-tagging" box in Google Analytics (Under Property Settings in the Admin Section). This Adwords Help document will help you understand the process better. Now your manual UTMs will take precedence and override Gclid values.
However, Adwords still passes any values that are not overwritten to Google Analytics so you don't lose the tracking details Gclid provides.
We hope you now have an idea of the fundamentals of various tracking methods and lead generation so that you can approach future campaigns with ease.
Until next time.