Web Analytics

URL Tracking. Why is it important, and how can you do implement it with ease?

Did you know that the foundations of URL tracking were laid in the offices of a marketing agency? A team wanted to have more precision in the reporting of their marketing activities to their clients, and since none of the existing tools at the time were proving to be particularly helpful, they came up with ideas of their own tool. One that would count, track and attribute traffic the right way for different marketing initiatives they were involved in.

Today, URL tracking and measurement is pretty much the defacto route to measure effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Why URL tracking is important to a business?

A better understanding of the performance of your marketing activities.

URL tracking, when deployed right, helps you identify and isolate the marketing activities that are most promising for your business, whether in terms of the traffic they bring in, or the unit cost of that traffic. As a business, it helps you make better decisions with your time, money and bandwidth, apportioning them in accordance with the RoI of your marketing campaigns. This way, even the most restrictive of marketing budgets is able to generate results for you, at a favorable RoI.

Every business tracks pageviews. It doesn’t matter whether you use Google Analytics, or a growth-oriented tool like Benne Analytics, pageviews is always at the front and center of your dashboards. You need to know which pages are the most meaningful to your incoming traffic, and by association, your target audience, and pageviews helps you get a better understanding of that.

But, pageviews is just the beginning. The data generated by your links can help you get a much wider and deeper understanding of your audience and their interests and behavior.

Given the critical influence analytics has on the growth of your business, any analytics tool you choose to use to measure your web traffic should provide the most accurate data possible. This was important for us, so one of the first alerting mechanisms we developed was to notify us about any reporting or tracking failures. Since we have put this feature in production, we have not recorded a single tracking failure. :-)

Get Benne for your business, and rely on the traffic data you see in your dashboard. We’re always keeping an eye on the health of our systems.

URL Tracking helps you pinpoint the stars

Let’s consider a very real scenario. Your business does see ups and downs in your webtraffic, but all of a sudden you started witnessing more and more of your traffic signing up for your product. The jump in traffic wasn’t high enough to explain this uptick, the conversion % was way above average.

Naturally, the question in your mind is - What is causing this?

The more precisely you are able to discover the answer to that question, the better your future marketing will get. After all, you would be able to identify what caused this growth, and then you will dedicate more time, money and resources into doing more of those things. But if all you have been looking at is visits and pageviews, you would not be able to answer this question, and you’ll probably lose what could have been a massive opportunity for your business.

There are any number of things that could have caused this growth, and not all of them would have been initiated by your business. (We will get to this part in a bit, for now let us just pick an example of growth driver)

Say it was a Twitter post that linked to an article on your blog. Now, there would have been other posts as well, and they would have been mentioned in tweets as well, in past. So what was different this time? A couple of possible differences. Who shared the post could have played a role - depending on their credibility in the space, and the niche audience following them. Or, it could have been a post that resonated with your audience more than your other posts. The first you have little control over. (You could look at engaging in influencer marketing, but it is time consuming, a tedious task to measure the performance of, and most importantly, expensive.)

twitter traffic up

But the second item on that list. A post that resonates more with your audience. If you had that knowledge, you could use it to create more and more posts of such nature, giving your audience exactly what they want. This also helps you understand the mindset and motivation of your audience, or at least a segment of it. That helps you come up with more focused and targeted landing pages that speaks to them on a level more conducive to further increase your conversion rate.

Any way you look at it, the data generated by the links that are performing well for you is helpful to your growth in multiple ways. And that is the power of url tracking.

This is where growth-oriented tools and platforms like Benne Analytics become so important. Google Analytics is great for getting an overall bird’s eye view of your business, but if you are looking to get insights from it, you would need a team of analysts and marketing experts working full time for you. And even then, the time it would take them to come up with insights would have been better spent in actually growing your business. Benne, on the other hand, does an analysis of your traffic data at all times, identifying the growth drivers for your business and presenting them to you as meaningful actionable insights. The only thing left for you to do is to act on those insights.

Ways to implement URL tracking

One of the most basic ways is to have memorable goal specific urls. Say I was running a promo for indiehacker users, I could go ahead and create a url that looks like https://getbenne.com/p/indiehackers

Now, this could be a landing page in itself - on this specific url, or it can be a simple redirect. So every time someone clicks on https://getbenne.com/p/indiehackers, they are taken to https://getbenne.com/launch-promotion.

There are pros and cons to both approaches.

If I am following the first approach, I would be able to have different content altogether on https://getbenne.com/p/indiehackers and say, https://getbenne.com/p/reddit

Content that is aligned with the respective audiences. But what if there is no real need to have different content for the two pages. Well, in that case, redirects come in handy. https://getbenne.com/p/indiehackers and https://getbenne.com/p/reddit could both have different urls, and yet when a user clicks on these links, they are both taken to the same page : https://getbenne.com/launch-promotion.

This way, I know exactly what percentage of the traffic on /launch-promotion came from Indiehackers, from Reddit, or from any other website I may have run the promotion on. The better a particular website is performing for me, the more energy I will choose to spend on it.

Now, you can achieve the same results without having different links and redirects by using UTM parameters.

Now, even if you have never used UTM parameters for your business yourself, you have probably been exposed to it at some place or the other. If you have ever come across a url that looks like this, https://getbenne.com?utm_camapign=launchpromo&utmsource=twitter&utm_medium=promotedcontent, then you have come across UTM parameters. Those query strings at the end of the base url (after the ?) are UTM parameters and they help you isolate the traffic and put it in its relevant buckets for a better analysis of your traffic data.

UTM parameters can be overwhelming at first, especially if you have never used them before, but a few simple rules and guidelines and you’ll be all set. Let’s look at it in detail tomorrow. How you should structure your parameters to get the most information, why it makes sense to do it that way, and what are the mistakes to avoid. We will talk about it all in our next post.

If you are facing challenges with figuring out how to get useful and actionable insights from your current web traffic data, shoot me a message. I would be happy to chat. Let me help you overcome a challenge or two, no matter which analytics tool you use.

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.

Cheers

Abhishek

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