Powerful Methods for Conversion Tracking in 2016

Conversion tracking is a smart way to learn what your site visitors like and respond to. In essence, it helps you see tangible results from your advertising efforts. This is achieved by setting specific goals i.e. desired user actions that can be easily measured.

How can conversion tracking help your business

Conversion means getting your visitors to respond to your content and perform a desired action. It can refer to any user action you consider to be of value, such as opening an email, filing in a registration form, signing up for a newsletter and, of course, buying a product.

Although from a strictly financial viewpoint it would seem logical to define conversion as something concrete, such as completed purchases or app downloads, expanding the meaning can give you valuable insight into the current market trends and customer preferences.

Conversion tracking starts with a click by the site visitor (event) and ends with the achieved goal (conversion). Tracking your conversions may not increase your sales in the short term, but it can show you where to focus your marketing efforts in the future.

For instance, you can check which keywords, ads and campaigns elicit user action and bring value.

You can track conversions on your website (purchases, registrations), phone calls (made directly from ads, calls to numbers listed on your site, clicks to phone numbers on your mobile site) and app downloads.


What are UTM tags/ tracking parameters?

UTM (Urchin Tracking Modules) parameters are simply bits of text added at the end of a URL, giving Google Analytics (or other analytics tools you use) a bit more information about each link. They allow you to properly categorize your website visitors and see where your traffic is coming from.

Basically, UTMs will help you understand
a) where your web traffic is coming from b) how are they coming to you c) why are they coming to you

By adding UTM codes to your website URL, you’ll be able to track your ads, posts or articles.  They come as a set of 5 parameters you can use to enrich your analytics reports:

Campaign Source (utm_source): This mandatory parameter identifies the exact location of your ad, such as portal, social network etc. Use it to identify the source of traffic (search engine, newsletter or other referral).
Campaign Medium (utm_medium): Identifies how your ad appears on the web page (banner, PR). This UTM can be used to identify a medium such as email or cost-per-click. It is a mandatory parameter.
Campaign Term (utm_term):  This is an optional parameter you can use for paid search to identify keywords for your ad.
Campaign Content (utm_content): This optional parameter is used mostly for additional details for A/B testing and content targeted ads. You can use it to differentiate ads or links that point to the same URL.
Campaign Name (utm_campaign):  Identifies the name of your campaign and is used for keyword analysis. Use this mandatory parameter to identify a specific product promotion or strategic campaign, such as a group of ads on various mediums (newsletters, articles) covering the same topic.


How to track your conversions using UTM parameters

Here are some ways you can use UTMs to customize your campaigns:

Use UTM tracking parameters in your newsletters, by tagging the links in your email campaigns with UTMs. It’s a good idea to track each newsletter link separately so you can optimize it later.

Website banners – by tagging your banner links you’ll be able to see which exact banner or article generated clicks.

Same applies to your social network posts. You need to track your social links or they’ll appear as general referrals and you won’t be able to tell which exact post attracted the visits.

Mail signatures – by tagging your website links in your email signature, you’ll be able to tell which employee e-mail generates most visits and whose visits are most valuable.


How to Create UTM Parameters for Your URL’s

When it comes to UTM tracking, there are several ways to create and manage your UTM tracking URLs.

The most basic way is to do your tagging manually. However, since typing long strings of characters comes with a high probability of error, most people use URL builders or generators.

All you need to do is put in the values for each of the UTM codes and the URL builder will string them together into a URL.

One way to create UTM parameters for your links is to use the URL building tool provided by Google Analytics, a webanalytics service that tracks and reports website traffic. When site visitors click your custom links, the UTMs generated by the builder are sent to your Analytics account. As an end result, you can identify which campaigns are most effective.

You can also give the multi-feature Terminus URL builder a try for a unique experience.

The Terminus UTM URL generating tool keeps all your URLs in one place. Terminus memorizes the UTM codes, so you don’t have to enter them every time, allowing you to build them in bulk if you have lots of URLs. Also, new URLs can be generated with a single click, based on existing ones.

The UTM codes are consistent and traffic reports are highly accurate. The Terminus UTM URL builder helps you avoid duplicate tags and eliminates the need for customization of the analytics tool to account for bad data.


What conversion metrics should you track?

To retain and convert your visitors into customers, you need to optimize the right metrics. Track these important metrics in order to increase retention and conversions:

Traffic Sources, such as direct visitors, search visitors and referrals. All these sources have different levels of conversion, so you should know how much each traffic source is converting.

New Visitor Conversion – Isolate first time visitor conversions from the conversion rates of returning customers. Determine what they see during their first visit so you can improve that experience.

Interactions Per Visit – Monitor visitor behavior and find ways to influence it, both in terms of increasing these interactions and turning them into conversions.

Bounce Rate – A high bounce rate can mean weak sources of traffic and unoptimized landing pages (poor design, low usability or high load times). Needless to say, your goal is to keep bounce rates to a minimum.

Exit Pages – Bounce rates aren’t derived only from the home page, but also further in the process. To maximize conversions, find out where in the process your visitors exit the site.

Value Per Visit – This is tied directly to the interactions per visit. You can calculate this as a number of visits divided by the total value created. This can be difficult to measure as there is often intangible value that cannot be defined. For example, visitors on e-commerce sites create value every time they purchase a product, but also create incalculable value when they leave a product review.

To summarize, every business is different, and so are campaign goals. The best conversion tracking method for you will be the one best suited to your company needs, budget and risk tolerance.