At SharpSpring, we use the term "campaigns" a bit differently than most users are used to. Many Email Service Providers and Marketing Automation platforms use the term campaigns to directly reference emails, while in our system, the term refers to any methodology used to drive traffic to a website or content.
While emails may be a big part of this, campaigns may also include physical and digital advertisement. This means that whether someone comes to your website from a Facebook post, a Google Adwords pay-per-click, or even a mobile billboard strapped to the back of an El Camino, SharpSpring will help you identify how people are arriving at your website. Subsequently, you will see how successful these campaigns are in regards to conversions, throughput and ROI.
When a lead is attributed to a campaign, that person is identified in the system as being a direct result of one of your marketing strategies. When a prospect clicks on an email or fills out a form, we can use the information we know about their web and activity history to derive a campaign. We track and attribute these campaigns by using any of the following methods: Referral URLs, Landing Pages, or Urchin Traffic Monitor (UTM) codes. Let's build out an example using a social outlet as our campaign that we would like to identify and track.
Referring URLs refer to what URL was last visited before accessing the site. Let's use Twitter as an example, with our goal being to track referral traffic to our site from Twitter. Our unknown prospect, Carl, sees a particular witty tweet on the SharpSpring twitter page and decides to click on the link to learn more.
In order to attribute Carl to this tactic, we will build out a campaign in SharpSpring that states: anyone referred to our site from Twitter will be assigned to campaign "Twitter Example Campaign" and will be appropriately attributed. The first thing we will do is click on our "New" button and select the dropdown option for Campaign.
This will prompt a popup window where we will name our campaign. We will then be directed into our campaign builder where we will configure the settings for our campaign.
Scroll down to the tracking section, here we will select the site we are attempting to drive traffic to, and then tell SharpSpring the Referring URL for this campaign. In this example our referring URL will be https://twitter.com/sharpspring**
You may notice that at the end of the referring URL we have added "**". This is referred to as a wildcard. As we can't always pin down the exact referring page that traffic will come from, we can use wildcards to help fill in the gap. The "**" is saying to ignore any additional parameters that come after it.
For example, if the referring URL was https://twitter.com/sharpspring/always/money or https://twitter.com/sharpspring/banana/stand referrals from both of these sites would be attributed to the Twitter Example Campaign. Once you're all set, click "Add Rule" then save the changes.
For campaign attribution based on a specific Landing Page visit, let's build upon our example above and assume we have made a page on our site specifically as a landing page for anyone coming from our Twitter social media outlet. The URL for this page would be https://sharpspring.com/twitter, and is where all of our links will land if clicked on our Twitter social media outlet. We can set this up as so:
In this case, we already know the page that we are driving to, so we just need to add the page to our field area. To do that, simply have the site selected in the drop down menu and in the text field, enter the name of the page following the domain name.
In our example, our site is https://sharpspring.com and in the text area, we'd enter /twitter for our landing page. Now whenever anyone hits that landing page on our site, they will be associated with the Twitter Example Campaign.
Our last campaign tracking method is using UTM Codes. A UTM (Urchin Traffic Monitor) code is appended to the URL link in order to pass campaign data back into SharpSpring. All you need to do is to note the UTM code in the campaign builder, and then append that code to all links that, when clicked, will attribute the prospect to the campaign.
With this parameter created, we can now tweet the link https://sharpspring.com/?utm=twitter. If a prospect clicks this link, SharpSpring will identify that UTM as being tied to the Twitter campaign and attribute the contact. This also works with Google Analytics, as you can also use your UTM codes from you Analytics campaigns in the SharpSpring campaign builder.
Note: While multiple strings of UTMs can be placed in a URL, SharpSpring requires there to be only one UTM code per each added rule. You can have multiple rules for a campaign, but only one UTM per each rule.
Just make sure you use that campaign's unique identifying UTM code in order to avoid conflicts. While utm is the standard value for the URL parameter, it isn't a requirement. You can actually name this parameter whatever you'd like. For our example, we use utm=twitter but we could just as easily have used campaign_twitter=ad1
Primary Campaign Attributions
SharpSpring let's you choose how to designate a primary campaign to a lead. You can choose either the first campaign a contact participated in or the most recent, and that contact will then have its conversion (as well as any dollar value generated) attributed to that campaign.
These methods are chosen on a site by site basis, and any changes can be made by navigating to "Analytics", selecting "Site Traffic" from the drop down menu, choosing your site, clicking the gray "Options" menu in the upper right and corner, and selecting "Site Settings".
Using the first campaign option, the original campaign will be pegged to that contact as the Primary Campaign. Please note, this will not be the campaign the user first visits after becoming tracked (meaning they have clicked on an email and been directed to your site with tracking code, or filled out a form). Since we use device IDs to track anonymous users, SharpSpring will go back into that contact's browser history to find the original visit to the site, and use that campaign for attribution.
Last campaign will be less static, as if a contact returns to your site, their Primary Campaign will be updated to reflect the most recent campaign that brought them there.
A contact can also always be manually attributed to a campaign from the Contact Manager. To do this, simply navigate to "Contacts", select "Contact Manager", find the contact you'd like to attribute to your campaign, click the gray settings menu for that Contact (it looks like a gear), select "Change Campaign", and choose the campaign you'd like that contact to be attributed to. Then Save your changes.
When a contact is attributed to multiple campaign tracking rules at once, then the rules will be evaluated in the following order:
- Google referrer
- GCLID (globally unique tracking parameter) - Google Click Identifier
- UTM parameters, or "key-value pair" matches
- Landing page (URL) matches
- Other search engine results
If a contact were to match with two campaign rules at the same time, one being a landing page and one being a UTM parameter, then the UTM parameter will be evaluated as the campaign due to the order stated above.
Finally, if you use automation to apply campaigns to contacts, you can choose to override any tracked campaign with that automation-driven attribution. Just check the "Override existing campaign, if one exists" checkbox while you're creating the action group and apply it as usual.
The Primary Campaign associated with the lead will be used to drive our reporting. On the Campaign Analytics page, you'll see a chart of your campaign performance. For leads with multiple attributions, they will only appear in the campaign report for their Primary Campaign. This is done to keep reporting succinct and to provide you with the most direct information possible.
When a lead converts into an opportunity, SharpSpring will look at the campaign attributions for all contacts associated with that opportunity. The opportunity will take a look at the primary contact on the opportunity and will default to their campaign for attribution purposes. Any Effective Value or Revenue from that opportunity will then be attributed to that campaign on the Campaign Analytics performance chart.