Here we’ll run through how to set up conversion tracking, and how to track a marketing campaign. We’ve even provided a simple marketing tracking template to plan your conversion tracking.

You can also find our introduction to digital marketing analytics if you need more of a topline overview of tracking.

How to track digital marketing

Tracking your digital marketing requires you to get five things right:

  1. Gather the business requirements
  2. Understand what you need to track
  3. Set up your data layer
  4. Set up your tracking tags
  5. Set up your analytics platform
  6. Set up your platform specific analytics

These stages are in a rough chronological order. But in reality, they will often be carried out in tandem, and you will jump between these five areas. 

Tracking is an ongoing process, and there are ways that you can improve your tracking set-ups.

1. Understand what you want to track

This stage is where our template really helps you to plan.

The first stage is about understanding what actions users can take on your website which either add value or demonstrate an intention to do so.

Explicitly adding value for you might be things like subscribing to your newsletter, or buying a product.

Demonstrating an intention to add value means the user has shown an interest in your product. They might have visited a particular sales page or added an item to their basket but failed to buy it.

Work out how valuable each action is, even if they don’t have a monetary value. Actions like downloading a pdf aren’t as valuable to you as someone providing you with their contact details. So, reflect these values in your tracking. This will help you later to understand what campaigns are giving you the most return.

marketing tracking template screenshot

All of this information is in our marketing tracking template.

2. Set up your data layer

A website’s data layer is the back-end, where the website places key data from a page. 

To populate the data layer, you need to build in a little bit of code to tell the site what information it needs to put in the data layer, and where it can find this information

The data layer is often automatically populated if you’re running from an out-the-box solution, such as Shopify or Magento. You can find what data it’s sending through with free tools like dataslayer, as pictured below.

dataslayer example

For more custom set-ups, or if you need to be tracking fairly unique areas, you will need a more bespoke set up. Our marketing analytics team helps websites to set the data layer up properly.

3. Set up marketing tracking tags

You will likely do this stage in conjunction with stages 4 and 5. 

The best way of doing this is through a tag management system, such as Google Tag Manager.

Once you’ve set this up, you just need to select what kind of tag you would like to add. You can then grab all of the required tag details from your platform of choice, and fill the boxes, as below. 

Google Tag Manager example

Again, our marketing tracking template is designed to help you set these up across multiple channels.

4. Set up your analytics as a single point of truth

Once you’ve set up your tag manager, you should look to set up tracking with Google Analytics, or another site analytics platform. 

Different platforms have different attribution models. An attribution model is their way of deciding which marketing channel should get credit for conversions (e.g. order revenue). So, analytics will act as your single point of truth on which you can assess all website activity on an equal basis.

To do this, you firstly need to create an account and set up a ‘Property’. You then need to retrieve the global site tag it provides you, and paste it into the <head> section of every page of your website. You can find more detailed instructions on how to set up Google Analytics here

Once you’ve set the basics up, you can create goals based on the actions you want to track on your website. 

Your analytics helps you understand the actions users are taking once they get to your site itself. It gives you information like that below.

Google analytics example

5. Set up platform-specific tracking

Finally, you’ll want to set up tracking for specific digital marketing channels. These give you information about the specific ad clicks that ultimately led to a conversion. 

Google Analytics tells you what happens on your website, channel analytics links that with what happened beforehand. 

For all channels, the general processes are the same. You will have to create: 

  1. A general remarketing tag - this lets you track what general pages users visited from each ad.
  2. Conversion Tag - this is what fires back information when a user takes an action that you want them to. For example, it might tell you that someone made a transaction, and fire back what revenue that you made. This tag shows you which of your ads led to that action.

To set up a tag, similar to Google Analytics, you will need to generate a conversion tag within the platform. This will give you the code you need to put on your site. In Google Ads you can find these in the ‘Conversions’ section, as below.

setting up platform specific tracking

You then simply inject the code onto your site either directly, or through your Tag Manager (see stage 3).

The platform will lead you through this process clearly. We’ve linked below to some of the guides provided by each for these platforms: 

It is important that you set both tracking by the platform itself as well as through Google Analytics. 

For one thing, channel analytics give you an alternative attribution model to Google Analytics. 

But crucially, setting up tracking directly from the channel enables real-time feedback to the channel. In-platform tracking gives each channel the data it needs to optimise itself towards best performance, based on the actions you want people to take.

Marketing lead tracking

Tracking marketing leads requires a slightly different approach. The tracking above will give you information on how the leads initially found you. You will be able to find what marketing channels led to the user providing you with their contact information.

From this point onwards, you’ll want to hand over to a different tool. This is typically where a Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM) comes in. Examples of these are Hubspot or Salesforce

You can link your CRM directly to your site so that marketing leads are immediately populated upon filling out a form. You could also link these up to your emails and pull in the contact information. You could even populate this manually, although we wouldn’t recommend this if you can avoid it!

Whichever way you integrate it, your CRM is how you track and manage leads through the entire process. You can typically use CRMs to measure the sales journey, automate and send emails, assign lead-owners, store conversation histories, and more. 

Marketing tracking template

We’ve made this free marketing tracking template to help set up your marketing analytics. You can use this template to:

  1. Plan what marketing  tags you need to set up
  2. Where your tags should go
  3. Share tags clearly with your developers
  4. Keep track of your marketing tags over time

This is particularly useful as a template to track paid media campaigns, but you can use it for a variety of campaigns.

You can find our free template here or by clicking through below. This is also available for free to members of Ayima Insights Club. Members can access this and a range of other tools and resources to help their marketing. You can learn more about Insights Club and sign up here

marketing tracking template example screenshot

Do you need support in setting up your conversion tracking? Ayima has a dedicated marketing analytics team to make sure campaigns are tracked properly and our clients have the tools they need to make the right decisions. Our experts are on hand if you’d like a more in-depth personal analysis or a bespoke strategy. You can get in touch with the team here, we'd love to hear from you.

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