If you’re using Excel spreadsheets, Salesforce.com Campaigns, or a homegrown system to manage your marketing and experience campaign tracking, chances are high that while you’re making do, it’s not an ideal situation. It’s enough…to an extent. If you’ve ever sat at your computer and stared at your screen in frustration because your campaign tracking system isn’t giving you what you need, then believe us when we say you are not alone. We’ve rounded up the most common campaign tracking limitations that not only stand in the way of an organization operating more efficiently, but that probably make your work life less enjoyable.
A quick note before we dive in: For campaign and touchpoint tracking, most organizations use UTM and ID tracking — many using a combination of the two. The limitations that are to follow sometimes involve one or the other, but most typically are related to organizations primarily grounded in using UTMs.
If you’re using spreadsheets, SFDC Campaigns, or others to manage your campaign and touchpoint tracking, you may face at least one (and probably more) of the following:
1. Manual, time intensive, and error prone. Using spreadsheets and other tools inevitably means manual, time consuming, error-prone campaign and touchpoint tracking. A significant side effect is campaign and touchpoint tracking is often not fully adopted across teams, leading to inconsistent and incomplete data. Without automation and integrations across ad and martech platforms, creating and editing tracking IDs, metadata, and tracking URLs for both online and offline channels and content is a very cumbersome process (which means it usually just isn’t done and often not possible). We can’t stress this enough: this is the most frustrating limitation presented with spreadsheets and other tools, and if you’re currently living in this reality, we feel for you because we’ve been there.
2. Insufficient campaign and touchpoint tracking attributes. Using spreadsheets and other systems make it difficult to create a complete, granular marketing taxonomy beyond basic UTM parameters. This is especially tricky when needing to drill down not just to campaign or channel, but also attributes like content type.
3. Data loss. When using text-based parameters such as UTM, you risk the values getting truncated due to browser limitations if the URL is too long. Unfortunately in this instance, data loss can seriously hamper the accuracy of a campaign’s calculated ROI.
4. Inconsistent data standards.
Here’s a quick poll for you:
If you answered true to either, then you’re just like the majority of marketers. In either scenario, no single source of truth with a single taxonomy exists for your marketing and experience data, and that leads to duplication of efforts, missing attributes, incomplete data, and time spent cleansing and attempting to retrofit the data into a single set.
5. Inflexible/hard coded data that can’t be updated. When using text-based parameters such as UTM, you can’t easily update UTM values after the fact. So even if a mistake was made or if the values are updated post-campaign launch, by nature of the system design, your data ends up too rigid to be updated when necessary. Let’s look at it with a retail example: imagine you have a product that has one word change in its name. ProductA in 2017 has data you’d like to match with ProductB in 2018 to see year-over-year metrics…and yet because UTM values are so hard coded, you have to use a different UTM value for future drivers to the product page.
6. Manual, time intensive uploads to web analytics and data warehouses. When using ID tracking, the associated attributes must be captured from ad and martech platforms, or created manually. The data must then be prepared and uploaded into your web analytics and data warehouse environments. This process is often, once again, manual, time intensive, and error prone, and… you guessed it, therefore often doesn’t happen. When it does happen, it’s not done in real time, making the resulting insights incomplete.
7. Bad destination links. All too often campaigns go live with bad URLs, or URLs go bad after the fact. Companies spend precious budget driving traffic to nowhere because automating URL verification just isn’t possible through their existing system. This is one area of heartburn that feels like it should be so easy, and that has drastic consequences on a campaign’s (and marketing budget’s) ROI.
8. Inconvenient process for creating tracking-based vanity/shortened URLs. Dynamic URLs are often needed as part of your campaign or experience. Separate tools are required to create vanity URLs, shortened URLs, etc. causing a disjointed, error-prone experience where tracking parameters or IDs are often left out.
So are you stuck in mucky processes you hate that don’t really work all that well? Let’s talk…we can help.