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How Tracking Analytics Can Improve Content Marketing

Inbound and content marketing are not going anywhere anytime soon. The content marketing association reports that over 90% of both enterprise B2B and B2C companies are using the tactic. There are a million different ways to leverage content strategy, and here at TechnologyAdvice, we’ve experimented with plenty of them. It’s been a fun, albeit, educational experience to say the least. While some of our methods fell flat, others helped us take our business to the next level. In retrospect, I think the most important part of our journey so far has been figuring out how to effectively measure and judge each individual strategy’s impact. One of the coolest parts about digital marketing, in my opinion, is just how granular one can get with the analytics surrounding their efforts. With that said, I’d like to talk about two methods that we have found particularly helpful in our data collection.

 

Tracking IDs

 

This is a tactic that took us a while to implement, and I wish we’d started using it from day one. For every piece of internal content our digital marketers share, they must now create a unique URL. These URLs look something like “http://website.com/greatcontent/?tid=TWT-bi-BP$-CG.” Here’s what that means:

 

 

If somebody enters our site through this URL, all of the text included after the “?tid=” parameter will accompany any lead capture forms they submit on our website. It’s a pretty simple system that you can expand to include almost any relevant metric, including article titles, affiliate information, or product names. Our system allows us to see the effectiveness of each marketing channel, as well as the effectiveness of each individual team member. We can also dive deeper into the analytics, and see which types of content (using the category tags) performed best on which social networks (using the network tags). Same thing goes for paid vs. organic posts.

 

As you can see, this type of information can help you prioritize the networks with the highest ROI, identify which team members regularly draw in the most visitors or leads, and give you a benchmark for how effective a given network’s paid advertisements are. While most social platforms provide analytics covering the number of “clicks” or “impressions”, I’m guessing the number you actually care about is conversions. Tracking which social network visitors arrived from in the URL allows you to see which ones ultimated converted, and which network you need to invest more resources in.

 

User IDs and Tag Management Systems

 

A tag management system is another great tool I wish we’d implemented earlier. Through a tag management system, every visitor to TechnologyAdvice.com is assigned a unique User ID (UID) on their first visit, which continues with them if they return later (there are a few browser constraints here, as the system uses cookies). Their UID can also be captured by a web analytics tool such as Google Analytics, which gives us the ability to drill down into more specific data associated with that UID, such as which pages they viewed, how long they viewed them, where they entered our site, and where they exited. If that user ends their visit by submitting their information on our site (signing in to leave a comment, downloading a PDF, or requesting more information on a product), we’ve now got great insight into what prefaced their form submission. What’s more, it’s possible to transfer all of this data automatically into most CRM platforms, which can provide valuable context for your sales team once they reach out to this person.

 

Using UIDs and tracking IDs, we can see which social platforms or forums a user came from, see if he was retargeted, and track how long it took him to visit the site again, and eventually request information. Knowing all of the touch points involved in generating an inbound lead helps us prioritize our content efforts, and set realistic goals. For instance, if the typical path involves a user visiting multiple times and consuming over two pieces of content before request any services, then we know that it’s unrealistic to expect immediate conversion for articles on new software categories.


Since we’ve started using these two tactics, we’ve seen a noticeable impact on our key performance metrics, and much greater return on our marketing efforts. With a dedicated, data-driven approach to content marketing, there’s no reason your company can’t realize such returns as well. Start tracking the performance of your content, measure the effectiveness of your team, and and prioritize your resources for the highest conversion rate.

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Tags: analytics, content, marketing, tracking

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