Sometimes, friends and family not in the digital industry will ask me questions like, “Why am I seeing this ad on Facebook? How did they know I was looking at this scarf/event/holiday last week?”. As I try to explain remarketing, display advertisement, and various tracking strategies, I usually take a step back and consider how complicated this stuff really is. Even for those in the thick of it, tracking user behaviour across multiple websites, devices, and extended periods of time can be a huge pain. And while I’m pretty sure tracking codes are the very lifeblood of paid media managers, content marketers may find themselves a bit at a loss as to what they should be tracking and how they should be doing it. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most important tracking tools to familiarise yourself with if you’re running a content marketing campaign.
Facebook tracking pixel
With this little bit of code imbedded across your site, you’ll be able to do several things: retarget visitors that come from Facebook, create custom and lookalike audiences, and even measure cross-device conversions. This kind of conversion data comes in particularly handy when tracking the ROI of your campaigns (a notoriously difficult thing to do!). The vast amount of demographic data Facebook holds also means you can build audiences based on who’s been interacting with your page or site already. This is especially useful when promoting your content through paid posts.
Most people have analytics on their site but it’s often not set up to their full advantage. You should put in the effort to code your site with goals, e-commerce tracking, and event tracking for important customer touch points. This makes the most of features like customisable reports and attribution modelling. Having Analytics on your site is practically a no-brainer requirement, but if your site isn’t properly coded to support its richer features, all you’re really going to get out of it is data on how people got to your site, what they saw, and when they left. While interesting, it’s not quite enough to fully support content marketing analysis.
Google Campaign URL builder
If you’re not using a CRM or social media managing software, you can use Google’s Campaign URL builder to track your URL usage in Google Analytics. CRMs like HubSpot allow you to invisibly tag campaign and source information in your links, but if you’re doing content marketing on a budget, you’ll need to tag your links manually. Using this tool consistently will make analysis of your link metrics through Google Analytics far easier. It takes a little more elbow grease and diligence but will pay off when it comes to slicing through the data and figuring out what did and didn’t work for your campaign.
URL shortening tools like Bitly, Goo.gl, Ow.ly, TinyURL.com, etc. are ubiquitous on Twitter, and with a 140 character limit on tweets, it’s no wonder why. Not only do these tools allow you to shorten your links for social media, many of them keep a record of your links and also track clicks from your social accounts. These more featured versions are particularly useful for marketers not using a CRM or social media management platform, as they allow you to see exactly which tweets created traffic for your site.
While it may seem daunting to analyse user behaviour and the success of your content, a solid tracking strategy will get your off to a great start. For more tips on planning, tracking, and analysing your content strategy, download our Ultimate Guide To Content Marketing.