Monitoring your Marketing with Unique URLs

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Using Google Analytics or a similar web stats package you can see how many people are visiting a particular page or downloading a particular document on your website.

When you’re creating a new online marketing campaign it’s useful for you to be clear on what web traffic has been generated from a specific activity rather than just look at your overall traffic.

For example, if you were promoting a particular event you might place a link on your website’s home page, run an ad on Facebook and do an email to your contacts. It would be very useful to know the effectiveness of each of these activities.

The easiest way to monitor this is to use specific URLs, one for each activity or source.

Instead of adding a normal link to your page, e.g. http://www.yourwebsite.com/event.htm, you can create unique URLs by adding additional information on to the end of the URL. These additional bits of information are called parameters and values. Here are some examples:

http://www.yourwebsite.com/event.htm?src=homepage
http://www.yourwebsite.com/event.htm?src=facebook
http://www.yourwebsite.com/event.htm?src=email

To introduce additional information you add a question mark “?” to the end and then a parameter name. This can be anything you like. Here I’ve used “src” short for source. You then have an equals sign “=” and set a value against it. Again, this can be anything you like.

If you’re website is database driven your URLs may already have one or more sets of parameters and values in the URL (look for a question mark). If this is the case you simply need to add an ampersand “&” on to the end plus your parameter name, an equals sign “=” and a value. The ampersand is used to join pairs of parameters and values.

By adding further sets of parameters and values to the URL you can get more detailed information back. For example, if your contacts database identified people’s sex and you wanted to check whether more men or women were visiting your page you could use the URLs:

http://www.yourwebsite.com/event.htm?src=email&sex=male
http://www.yourwebsite.com/event.htm?src=email&sex=female

You can use this URL monitoring to see which activities are working for you and which are providing the best value for money and return on investment.

What is a website visitor worth?

What are your visitors worth?When looking at investing money in trying to get more visitors to your website you need to first work out what a visitor is worth to you.

So, how do you work it out? Well, to do it at a basic level is very simple. Choose a time period to analyse – the last 12 months, last 3 months, last 30 days, etc. Now, in this period see how much profit you made and how many visitors your website got. If you’re using a web stats package, unique visitors is the figure to use here. Simply divide the number of unique visitors by the profit and this will give you a mean profit per visitor. You can use this as a basis for spending on gaining more visitors.

Whilst more visitors means more profit you shouldn’t just look at boosting traffic but try to actively increase the value of each online visitor. If a visitor becomes more likely to buy from you they become more valuable and investing money in attracting more visitors then gives you better value for money. So, as well as your traffic you also need to try to improve your conversion rate. The conversion rate is simply the proportion of visitors who buy. There are lots of things you can do to boost your conversion rates but that’s for another day…