How To Track Marketing Campaigns (With 10 Methods)

Updated February 3, 2023

A person seated at a table studies printed graphs and tablet information.

Monitoring the data from marketing campaigns can help companies evaluate the success of their marketing efforts, create more efficient budgets and optimize marketing strategies for the future. Understanding how to track marketing efforts and use that information to improve your results could help to meet your goals and satisfy your clients or teammates.

In this article, we discuss the importance of tracking marketing campaigns and we share 10 methods for tracking your campaigns.

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What does it mean to track a marketing campaign?

When you track a marketing campaign, you gather and analyze relevant data related to that campaign. The data you choose to track depends on your campaign goals, but it might include conversion rates, engagement statistics or profit margins. Both internal marketers and marketing agencies who work with multiple clients track their marketing strategies to learn what performs well.

You might track data from multiple marketing channels, such as social media platforms, websites or television stations. While data from digital sources may be easier to track, there are also methods for tracking data from other sources, such as billboards, print materials or radio commercials.

Related: 20 Examples of Marketing Metrics and KPIs (With Definitions)

Reasons to track marketing campaigns

Tracking marketing campaigns can provide a variety of benefits, including:

  • Measuring your marketing efforts: When you track a campaign, you can find out numbers, ratios and costs related to specific marketing tactics or initiatives. This data may help you objectively assess which factors of your marketing campaign are successful.

  • Monitoring and adjusting marketing campaigns as needed: Tracking gives you data in real time as the campaign occurs. Based on this real-time data, you can modify and optimize your existing marketing campaigns.

  • Planning for future campaigns: Tracking data can show you which aspects of your marketing efforts may benefit from improvements prior to your next advertising campaign. This allows you to design data-driven approaches for your future marketing initiatives.

  • Creating a more cost-effective marketing budget: Most companies track marketing statistics related to finances, such as the cost of converting a lead into a customer. Knowing which efforts are the most cost-effective can help you create a marketing budget that reduces acquisition costs and increases revenue.

Related: 12 Marketing Tips for Your Marketing Campaign

10 ways to track marketing campaigns

There are a variety of tools available to help you track your marketing campaigns, such as software and online tools. Here are 10 methods for tracking your marketing campaigns:

1. Website analytics

Website analytics are online tools that monitor the number of visitors to your company or client's website. Most analytics tools gather more complex data too, such as the time visitors stay on your site, the link that brought a visitor to your site and whether they engaged with particular aspects of or pages on your site.

2. Customer relationship management tracking

Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps businesses store, evaluate and change information on their prospective or current consumers. Many CRM programs give you the ability to track potential clients in relation to specific advertising campaigns. With this type of software, you can categorize your leads based on where they originated from, such as a social media ad. Since most CRM programs also offer email automation, you can create personalized emails for various customers based on the marketing channel that brought them to your website.

Related: How To Calculate and Optimize Your Conversion Rate

3. Call tracking

Call tracking software allows you to track the original source of various phone calls from prospective clients. With this type of software, you can also redirect multiple phone numbers to connect to the same main phone line. You can change these numbers based on the marketing channel, the caller's location or both.

For example, imagine you're running a marketing campaign with both billboards and paid digital ads. With call tracking software, you can create a unique phone number that appears on the billboards and another phone number that appears on the digital ads. Although the phone lines redirect to the same mainline, the different numbers could tell you how the prospective customer found your company. Similarly, if your marketing campaign targets different regions or countries, you could give the ads appearing in different geographic locations a local phone area code and number.

Read more: What Is Sales Call Tracking and Why Does It Matter?

4. Ad network conversion tracking

Most major companies provide their own tracking tools for marketing efforts. For example, many search engines, social media platforms and domain hosting services have internal monitoring tools their customers can use to measure traffic, engagement and other marketing metrics. These tools can help you determine the effectiveness of various marketing channels for your different segments of customers. For example, you might discover that some of your target audience engages more with social media while another segment prefers paid search engine results.

Related: 9 Types of Effective Digital Marketing Channels To Consider

5. Unique uniform resource locators (URLs)

Create unique URLs for various components of your marketing campaigns to track how your prospective customers find your website. A URL is the string of characters you type into your web browser address bar to visit a specific website or web page. With a unique URL, you can have customers go to the same website or page while typing in different URLs.

For example, when launching a new marketing campaign, you could assign a unique URL to your social media ads and a different unique URL to your billboards. That way, you know where recent visitors to your website first heard about you.

You can create a unique URL through several methods, including by using a:

  • Urchin tracking model (UTM) code: A UTM code is a string of characters you can add to the end of the URL. The primary purpose of UTM codes is to help companies track their marketing campaigns.

  • Vanity URL: A vanity URL is a short URL that's easy to remember. Vanity URLs can be most useful if you want to direct potential customers to a specific page on your website that has a more complicated URL, such as a contact page or online store.

  • 301 redirect: 301 redirects usually send visitors from an expired website to a newer version of the website. Marketers can also use them to track various components of their current campaigns.

Related: What Are UTM Codes? (And How To Use Them To Track Website Traffic)

6. Key performance indicator (KPI) dashboard

A KPI dashboard can gather and analyze data through multiple marketing channels. Many KPI dashboards collect data from phone calls, websites, major ad networks and CRM software. The KPI dashboard can then synthesize this data and provide information about the most successful aspects of your campaign's different channels and strategies.

Related: How To Identify a Target Market (With Definition and Steps)

7. Customer feedback

You could ask leads or customers how they learned about the company. You can do this directly during conversations with them or through a survey issued at any point in their customer journey. This could offer more personalized feedback, but remember that these figures may only represent a portion of your leads, as only some people may respond or respond honestly.

8. Forms

If you use forms during your customer journey, you could add hidden form fields to gather information about how a customer reached your site. You can program these forms to share data with you automatically about the customer's journey. This may reveal important information about which marketing channels drive high-quality leads.

9. Social media monitoring

Collecting and analyzing your social media metrics can help you understand how successful various social campaigns are and which posts generate the most engagement. Here are some figures that might be beneficial to track:

  • Likes

  • Impressions

  • Views

  • Reach

  • Amplification

  • Click-through rate

  • Bounce rate

You can use a variety of free and paid tools to help you review and analyze your social media metrics. Using a tool can be especially helpful if you manage large accounts or a wide variety of accounts across different platforms.

Read more: 20 Social Media Metrics To Track a Successful Campaign

10. Behavior analytics tools

A behavior analytics program could help you understand more about how users interact with your marketing content. These software programs perform in-depth analyses of user behavior on your sites, reviewing how they respond to individual elements and what features might hinder their journey. These programs contextualize key metrics and help you learn how you can edit various marketing materials to better suit leads' needs.

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How to track marketing campaigns

Here are nine steps for monitoring your campaigns:

1. Discuss priorities

Talk about what you want this campaign to accomplish. If you're a marketer designing this campaign for a client, ask the client about their hopes for the campaign, their company's current objectives and their overall long-term goals. If you work internally for a company, meet with the decision-makers, such as supervisors, department managers or company leaders. Discuss what they hope the campaign can accomplish and any departmental or company-wide goals relevant to the campaign.

2. Create SMART goals

Decide on several SMART goals for your marketing campaign. SMART goals mean your objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. Consider the priorities and hopes discussed for the campaign and company as you design your SMART goals. For example, if your client wants to generate more leads, one of your campaign SMART goals might be to track and increase the number of people subscribing to their newsletter.

Read more: 10 SMART Goals in Marketing (And Why They're Important)

3. Decide on monitoring systems

Determine what you're going to track during the campaign and how you're going to track that information. How you monitor your campaign depends on the type of campaign you're launching. If you decide to use multiple marketing channels, you might incorporate several tracking methods into your campaigns, such as call tracking and website analytics. Marketing channels you may use in your campaign include:

  • Emails

  • Social media posts

  • Television commercials

  • Blogs

  • Social media ads

  • E-books

  • Billboards

  • Forums

  • Opportunities on other websites, such as guest blogs

  • Radio commercials

  • White pages

  • Paid search results

  • Print materials, such as brochures or flyers

4. Design clear branding for the campaign

Use specific and original branding in your marketing campaign. Having unique branding for your marketing campaign makes it easier to track your data. This is especially true when monitoring some digital aspects of your campaign, such as news results, social media updates and blog posts.

Most web analytics programs track the results of your campaign by looking for specific keywords online. These keywords may be specific to the campaign, but they can also be your company's name or slogan. Using original branding can help ensure that your tracking tools monitor only your campaign instead of unrelated results as well. For example, if you want to use a social media hashtag as part of your campaign, choose a unique hashtag phrase to minimize the chances of gathering data about another topic or company using the same hashtag.

Related: What Is Digital Branding?

5. Set up monitoring alerts

Create tracking alerts for your marketing campaign. If part of your campaign is digital, set up an alert system with your tracking tool to receive notifications about new online results related to your campaign. Use any keywords specific to your campaign, as well as related terms such as your brand name, industry terms or competitors. You can also create alerts for specific websites, such as social media platforms or news outlets. With some tracking tools, you can filter your alert results based on factors like geographic location or language.

If you receive too many alert notices, figure out a system for organizing and prioritizing alerts. For example, you could create different folders or tags within your email inbox for each campaign keyword.

6. Build campaign awareness

Increase awareness for your campaign while it's underway. How you create momentum for your campaign may depend on your marketing channels, techniques, SMART goals and related factors. Here are a few strategies for building public awareness of your campaign:

  • Identify and support influencers. Influencers are people or companies with large public followings. Use your tracking tools to find influencers for your campaign and incentivize them to keep supporting your brand.

  • Join relevant conversations. Find and participate in conversations relevant to your campaign. For example, if you find a forum where people discuss ways to reduce household noises, you could bring up your current marketing campaign about your company's quiet fans.

  • Launch a promotion. Conduct a special offer related to your campaign, such as giving away free samples, announcing a limited-time sale or offering a unique bundle of items or services.

7. Adjust your campaign accordingly

Depending on the goals, techniques and real-time results of your marketing campaign, you may want to modify the details of your campaign as it's happening. For example, if you notice that one of your digital ads is performing significantly better than another, try optimizing one aspect of the less successful ad, such as its design or slogan.

Related: Nurture Campaigns: Definition, Types and How To Create One

8. Make progress reports

Create regular updates while the campaign is underway. Let clients or managers know how the campaign is going by sending consistent updates. Some tracking tools allow you to establish automatic updates or regular summations of recent updates that you can forward directly to clients or stakeholders. You might also give them guest access to your tracking tool account that allows them to view the campaign results in real time.

9. Plan for the future

When your campaign is over, analyze the results in relation to your SMART goals. Determine how well you achieved your initial objectives and what factors were most successful. Design a plan based on your data for what to repeat and what to alter for your future marketing campaigns.

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