Campaign Tracker 2.0 Now Live

CloudAmp is pleased to announce the release of Campaign Tracker 2.0, the Salesforce app which lets you track Google Adwords, keywords, and other source data into your Salesforce leads. Campaign Tracker has always been the simplest and best way of tracking your advertising ROI and marketing analytics in Salesforce, and now with the release of version 2.0 it is even better.

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Visitor Sessions

New in Campaign Tracker 2.0 is the ability to see which pages on your web site a lead visited before they submitted a lead form. Called Visitor Sessions, this new feature is available right in individual leads and contacts within Salesforce for easy reference during the sales process.

See the page titles and URLs in Salesforce of the entire path that a prospect took on your web site. Session numbers even show repeat visits, so your sales and marketing teams can see at a glance what parts of your web site a lead looked at, plus when and where they returned each time they visited your site before they became a lead in Salesforce.

Now with Campaign Tracker 2.0, you can identify which products a lead might be interested in, and understand potential lead value ahead of time — all based on which pages they viewed on your web site.

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Better Tracking Technology

Campaign Tracker 2.0 was completely rebuilt from the ground up to make it easier to implement and provide more reliable data collection.

Version 2.0 no longer relies on cookies or data from Google Analytics, so it provides an independent way of verifying lead sources and other information. Plus we’ve simplified the installation process to support pretty much any web site form you might have.


For a FREE 15 day trial, including email and phone support to help you get the Campaign Tracker set up and tested, please sign up on the AppExchange.

The Opportunity of ‘(Not Provided)’ Google Keywords

In late 2011, Google began encrypting searches from anyone logged into a Google service (Gmail, Google +, etc.), so site owners could not see many of the keywords from organic searches that were driving visitors to their sites. In October 2013 Google took additional steps to make search “secure”, so the majority of all keyword searches are now coming through as “(Not Provided)”. The trend is expected to continue until effectively all organic keyword data is blocked from your Google Analytics reports.

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This blog post isn’t about Google’s motivation for making this change, or about how to try to recover some of this lost data through other means. You can get some data from Google Webmaster Tools, or hope that a portion of your organic traffic comes from Yahoo and Bing, etc. There are plenty of good articles that cover tips for  that in detail, such as the following:

Instead, I’d like to focus on the opportunites this change provides for website owners and online marketers to go back to the basics and do a better job with some of the fundamentals of tracking. Search engine optimization (SEO) may be forever changed by this major change on Google’s part, but there are many best practices that haven’t changed — and in fact, this (Not Provided) trend makes them more important than ever before.

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Opportunity 1: Google Adwords

This may seem to be playing into Google’s hands, since their stated motivation for encrypting the search results was to protect user privacy, but few have believed that.. Since paid advertising on Google still gives you the keyword data, most pundits have assumed the move to “(Not Provided)” for organic search was intended to keep the valuable search data for Google’s own use, and drive people toward paid advertising on Google Adwords and Google +.

However, I have long believed that every business should be doing some amount of Google Adwords experimentation. Even if you don’t have an advertising budget, spending $100+ a month on Google Adwords can provide some of the most cost effective research into your target market available anywhere. Get search volume and keyword data, see what types of ad text and headlines draws the most clicks, and more. Build out your keyword lists for your content marketing, see the keyword data you are no longer going to get from organic search, and hopefully get some conversions as a bonus.

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Opportunity 2: Step up your Tracking

Since tracking of organic keywords is mostly if not completely going away in the age of ‘(Not Provided)”, time to step up your game in other areas. Be sure you are tracking everything else you can track, and plug up those gaps that have been on your marketing to-do list for months. Add tracking to your ecommerce, signup and contact us forms to get data on as many of your conversions as possible. (I am not objective in recommending my Campaign Tracker app for this, but please check it out  if you are using Salesforce CRM).  In the end, maximizing conversion tracking is more important than focusing on keywords that brought you clicks and traffic.

In addition, use Google Analytics campaign tags (utm_campaign, utm_source, etc.)  on any links to your site that you give out. Not just in your advertising URLs, but in your social media posts, links you give to your partners to publish on their sties, blog posts, directory listings and profiles, etc. Tagging your URLs will eliminate some of the untracked traffic from other sources (social media sharing or referral sites) and give you more consistent, better data for the incoming link data that you can control.

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Opportunity 3: Back to SEO Basics

Finally, for SEO go back to focusing on the basics — good site structure and good content. Without detailed organic keyword data, you won’t be able to do many of the search engine optimization tricks often promoted by some fly-by-night “we will increase your Google rankings” SEO firms — but you shouldn’t have been doing those things in the first place anyway. Tricks never work for long if they do work, and they can backfire badly.

Instead, accept that your site keyword data is going to be lacking, but use aggregate data from elsewhere — Google Webmaster Tools, Google Adwords — and start producing content that your audience would value. Blogging is very difficult to do regularly, but critical to this back-to-basics approach. Though for most busy professionals with multiple work responsibilities it is nearly impossible to find time to write regular blog posts, not only will they generate positive SEO returns, but they have the added benefit to establishing a voice and thought leadership for your particular field (or at least I hope so!)

What do you think of the Google ‘(Not Provided)’ change? Any tips you think I missed? Let us know in the contents below.

Lead Tracking 101: Understanding Advertising ROI in Salesforce

Most marketers know they need to track their leads, in order to understand which advertising, blogs or social media are sending them the best ones – the leads most likely to convert to customers, to show a positive return on investment (ROI) from advertising, to drive long term revenue.

Aside from all the different technological approaches available, such as building your own tracking mechanism or using a Salesforce application that tracks leads from your web site into Salesforce CRM, the large amounts of data collected can be a somewhat confusing experience.

 This post explores some of the different tracking data available, and more importantly what it all means. It is focused around Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and Salesforce terminology, though many of these definitions will apply to any online advertising.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” — Attributed to John Wanamaker, 1838-1922

 

Google Analytics Campaign Tags

 

Google Analytics Campaign tags are parameters that you add to any URLs pointing to your web site that you have control over. You may be familiar with web addresses (URLs) that have words like utm_campaign= and utm_source= after the main part of the URL and a question mark – these are the campaign tags.

Example:

http://www.MYSITE.com/?utm_campaign=Retarget&utm_medium=Banners&utm_source=Adroll

 When a visitor clicks on one of these tagged URLs, those values are associated with the visitor in Google Analytics, as well as in many lead tracking solutions for Salesforce (such as CloudAmp’s own Campaign Tracker). By capturing the Source, Medium, and Campaigns of traffic being sent your web site like in the example URL above, you can identify the most effective ways to driving more visitors to your website.

Most importantly, by capturing that data not just in your Google Analytics reports, but into Salesforce for each individual lead, you can follow how leads progress through your marketing funnel or sales process.

  • Do leads from that Source, Medium, or Campaign convert from leads into Accounts with Opportunities?

  • What percentage of Opportunities from a particular Source are Closed Won?

  • What is the average and total dollar value of deals, compared across Source, Medium or Campaigns?

  • How many dollars are spent on advertising per dollar of revenue, broken down by Source, Keyword, etc.?

These and many other questions can be answered by tagging your URLs and tracking those visitors all the way  into Salesforce as leads. 

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There are the five parameters that make up Google Analytics Campaign tags – utm_source,utm_medium, and utm_campaign should be used in all links, and for tracking additional information utm_term and utm_content can be optionally used.

  • utm_source: Identifies the advertiser, site, publication, etc. that is sending traffic to your property, e.g. google, yelp, newsletter4, billboard. The last place visited before reaching your site.

  • utm_medium: The advertising or marketing medium, e.g.: cpc, banner, email newsletter. The method used to arrive at the source.

  • utm_campaign: The individual campaign name, slogan, promo code, etc. for a product.

  • utm_term: Identify paid search keywords. If you’re manually tagging paid keyword campaigns (and you should be), use utm_term to specify the keyword.

  • utm_content: Used to differentiate similar content, or links within the same ad. For example, if you have two different text ads, you can use utm_content and set different values for each so you can tell which version is more effective.

I recommend getting into the habit of tagging ANY and ALL URLs that you control, not just for destination URLs in your Google Adwords ads and other online advertising, but for every link in your email newsletters, links you give to a partner, sponsorships, blog posts, even social media such as Twitter and Linkedin.

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Not only will this give you better data in Google Analytics and your Salesforce lead tracking, but as a significant bonus you will cut down on the number of untracked leads — when someone forwards an email, copies and pastes a link from Twitter, or reposts a blog post without changing the URLs, you will be able to track visitors from those newly generated referral sources back to the original campaign links.

 

Other Traffic Types

 

Google Analytics categorizes your web site visitors into 5 main types:

    • Campaign: Visitors who arrived at your site via Campaign tagged URLs.

    • Referral: Visitors who arrived at your site from other sites but who were not campaign tagged.

    • Direct: Visitors who arrived at your site by typing in your web address.

    • Search: Visitors who arrived at your site by searching in a search engine. This category is further broken down into:

  • Paid: Google Adwords, Microsoft Adcenter, or other advertising on a search engine

  • Organic: The visitor clicked on a regular result (not an ad) to get to your site

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Many lead tracking software applications (including CloudAmp’s own Campaign Tracker) have followed this categorization, due to the widespread use of Google Analytics and the general familiarity of these terms. Still, there are a variety of different ways of categorizing web site visitors and leads, so you may see variations on these occasionally.

Referral vs Referral vs Referrer

Any traffic that isn’t Direct to your site (typed in a browser bar) is known as referral traffic. So most traffic – Campaign, Referral, and Organic / Paid Search – is considered Referral traffic.

However, Google Analytics (and lead tracking software that uses similar definitions) defines Referral traffic as any Referral traffic that is not otherwise tracked as Campaign or Organic traffic. If Campaign tags are used, or data from an organic search at a search engine is received, the traffic will be categorized as Campaign or Organic, rather than referral. This is mainly just for clarity in dividing the sources of traffic, so that there is no overlap in the numbers.

Just in case this isn’t confusing enough, there is also a concept of the Referrer in all web browsers, and this is recorded in Google Analytics and various tracking software. The Referrer is the last page that the visitor was on prior to an event (like submitting the web-to-lead form into Salesforce). So in some cases the Referrer will be the same as the site that sent the visitor to you, but in other cases it will simply be the previous page on your web site (for any visitor who clicks around multiple pages before submitting the form).

 

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Beginning in late 2011, Google made a significant change and started encrypting the organic search keywords of any users who were logged into a Google service while searching Google. What does this mean?

It means that instead of sending the keywords from the referral like it did previously, Google started sending a meaningless string of characters for all visitors who were logged into a service like Gmail, Google +, or Google itself while searching and then clicking on an organic result. So what did this result in?

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Approximately 70% of Organic visitors from Google now show “(not provided)” as the keywords from their search, so you no longer can see what really sent them to your site. This percentage will vary depending on your audience and how much they use other Google services, but it is about the average we have been seeing.

Luckily, Yahoo and Bing have not followed suit, and still send the keyword information from the Organic search visitors they send to your site. And of course, if any of your visitors run a Paid Search on Google (Google Adwords), the keywords from those visits still come through fine whether the visitor was logged in to Google services or not.

 

Untracked

Sometimes visitors come to your web site and submit lead forms and are not tracked properly. It shouldn’t happen often, but it will happen.

On the Internet, nothing is 100%, the numbers never match exactly, and not everything will be tracked completely. While we’d like to track 100% of visitors in an ideal world, really the point of tracking is to make generalized decisions about what online marketing works and what does not, and optimize spend on things like Google Adwords, where sometimes keyword cost per click (CPC) rates can seem nonsensically high, but make perfect sense from an ROI perspective given the revenue generated.

 So what causes a lead to not be tracked? Some users may be using strange old web browsers, or have their browser security levels set so high that they don’t allow cookies or javascript (two things necessary to most tracking technology, as well as required for most web sites to work properly).

For most other situations however, the reliability of cookie-based tracking is pretty good. If there are technical problems, they are more likely due to either the visitors settings or a failure of the tracking mechanisms that read the cookie, rather than the cookie placed at the time of the visitors click.



In conclusion, there is a lot of terminology around tracking and how to break down the types of visitors who come to your site (and hopefully become leads). As you start to build up data from tracked leads inside Salesforce, you will run across many of the values above. So hopefully this has been helpful — feel free to leave questions / comments below, and above all else, start tracking your leads today!

Tracking Google Adwords Results in Salesforce

This post explores a simple way to see Google Adwords results inside of Salesforce, using Google Analytics Campaign tags. To set up custom campaigns, just add parameters (for example, utm_campaign and utm_source) to the end of your advertising URLs. Custom campaign values display in your Google Analytics reports, and you can capture them into leads in Salesforce using a tool like the Campaign Tracker for Google Adwords and Analytics.

You will be able to see which URLs visitors click to arrive at your web site and then become a lead, and which Adwords Keywords they searched for. As a bonus, if you get into the habit of tagging all incoming URLs to your web site, you will have better visibility not just into your advertising, but into any content or links you put out there — blogs, social media, sponsorships and more. Everything except Organic search engine traffic and some referral traffic can (and should) be tagged.

 

Adding Campaign Tags to Your Adwords Ads

  1. If you have Adwords autotagging enabled, please disable it (it can cause conflicts)

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  2. Update the Destination URLs in all your Adwords ads with the campaign URL parameters.

    1. If you have a lot of ads, you can use the Adwords Editor client program to easily update / duplicate many ads at once. Adwords Editor makes it easy to copy / move items between Adgroups and Campaigns, and make bulk changes very quickly.

    2. Note that whenever you make changes to your ad text or URL, they are sent back to Google for review. Rather than modify an existing ad, you may wish to create a new one so that the existing ad keeps running while your new ad is under review. Once the new ad is approved, you can delete the old ad if you want.

    3. Redirects can also cause issues with Campaign tracking and Google Adwords attribution, so Google recommends updating the actual Destination URLs in your ads, instead of using a redirect.

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Example URL:

http://www.YOURSITE.com?utm_source=GoogleAdwords&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=CampaignTracker&utm_term={Keyword}

  • utm_campaign = Adwords Campaign Name

  • utm_source = GoogleAdwords

  • utm_medium = PPC or SEM (keep consistent with whatever categories you have defined)

  • utm_term = {keyword}

  • utm_content = optional parameter, commonly used for adgroup tracking

 

For tracking specific keywords, use Google’s keyword insertion format in the Destination URLs of your Google Adwords ads. utm_term is the Google Analytics campaign parameter for the keyword, so use utm_term={keyword} and Google will automatically insert the keyword that triggers your ad into the URL, so it will be tracked when a visitor clicks through to your site and submits a form.

Note: This same URL format and {keyword} insertion works in Microsoft AdCenter as well.

Google provides a URL builder tool which you can use if you would like, but you can also simply copy and modify the URL above. There is no need to create the campaigns in Google Analytics ahead of time — when a visitor arrives on your site from a Campaign tagged URL, the campaign data is automatically recorded.

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Once you have tagged all your Google Adwords URLs, then you simply need a way of integrating the tracking data into Salesforce. I am partial to the Salesforce app we built here at CloudAmp, of course,  Campaign Tracker for Google Adwords and Analytics. But there are plenty of other solutions to get Adwords data into Salesforce, including marketing automation software like Marketo  or Hubspot.

If you are not using web-to-lead forms, but have an account signup process or eCommerce system, then you may want to have your developers capture the campaign tags from referral URLs directly into Salesforce via custom code. One thing you cannot use, sadly, is the popular Salesforce for Google Adwords, which is being end-of-lifed (shut down, in software-speak) on May 1, 2013.

However you decide to go, tagging all your incoming URLs with Google Analytics Campaign parameters will allow you to track Google Adwords results, as well as the success of other advertising and marketing efforts, directly inside of Salesforce.

6 Challenges with Tracking Adwords Conversions in Salesforce

With the impending “end-of-life” of Salesforce for Google Adwords, I thought I’d dive a bit deeper into some of the challenges for tracking Google Adwords lead sources into Salesforce. Regardless of whether you choose a tool from the AppExchange or build your own integration, here are some of the considerations that are not always front and center.  

 

Getting Enough Data

Many companies are running thousands or tens of thousands of keywords in Google Adwords, but only receive tens or hundreds of leads a week. If you don’t have a high lead volume, and a portion of your leads are from sources other than Adwords, it can be a challenge to build up enough data for the results to be meaningful.

For example, your company may find that it has a few keywords with multiple leads, but that the “long tail” exists in your tracking as well — large numbers of keywords with one or two leads. In these environments, it is very common for it to take months to build up enough tracking data for it to be actionable. You will eventually have plenty data, but don’t expect this to come within a month or two, so best to set everyone’s expectations up front.

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The best time to start tracking your lead sources was 6 months ago. The second best time is today, so don’t put it off any longer — get lead tracking for Adwords set up today.

 

Eliminating Waste vs. Optimizing Performing Keywords

Related to the challenge of collecting enough data is what kind of actions you are able to take and when. The reality is often a bit more complicated than the idealized promise of being able to optimize all of your Google Adwords advertising, where every keyword and bid is delivering the perfect balance of revenue without overbidding or waste.

As you are collecting data, you may find that you have a number of keywords with one or two leads attached to them. Are these valuable keywords, or just clicks that became leads by chance? Only time and more data collection will tell, as leads go through the conversion to opportunity and close process so you can relate those click costs to revenue as well.

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In the early stages of your Adwords tracking in Salesforce, focus on eliminating waste. The low hanging fruit you can easily take action on without months of data should be keywords that produce tons of clicks with no leads, as well as keywords that produce lots of leads that never convert. This is the waste that is poorly aligned with your products or services, and is the first area where you can confidently make changes based on preliminary data.

Eliminating waste will improve the efficiency of your overall Adwords spend and lower your cost per lead. As you continue to collect tracking data, you can then start to optimize bids, broaden your keywords, or make other optimizations based on more complete data.

 

Focusing on Wrong Metrics

For me being able to understand revenue / keyword inside Salesforce, instead of relying on CPC or CTR metrics, to be the primary goal of tracking Google Adwords results into Salesforce. Of course, understanding the trends across all of your metrics, CTR and CPC included, is important. But all metrics are not created equal.

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How critical revenue / keyword tracking is will vary depending on your business of course. If you only sell one product at a single price, it may not be as important — the sale amount and lifetime value of most customers is the same, so you are mainly optimizing the demand volume side of the equation. But if you have multiple pricepoints that vary significantly, a more expensive click that typically drives a large purchase can be far better than a more affordable click with an average revenue that is lower.

This importance is only multiplied if you are bidding on very competitive keywords. Bidding $25 or even $50 for a single click always seems painful, unless you can track those same clicks through to significant large purchases on a consistent basis. What seems crazy without tracking can be shown to make financial sense and drive significant revenue when properly tracked.

 

Picking a Source of All Truth

Where do you store your Adwords tracking data? Do you use Salesforce, Google Analytics, or both? What about duplicate / conflicting data?

I am partial to making Salesforce the single source of truth, but of course I build Salesforce applications to centralize data there. Google provides some great tools, especially considering many of them are free / advertising supported, but those systems are not designed to be a long term database, nor are they as customizable as Salesforce is.

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One advantage to centralizing Adwords tracking data in Salesforce is that the data can be (potentially) useful to others outside of the marketing department. Sales reps might be interested in what keywords a lead was searching for, to better understand their intent. Or if you don’t want to expose that data to the sales team, you could still use it to drive lead scoring formulas that determine how views are sorted or which leads are visible to the sales team.

A corollary to the “single source of truth” is that to keep yourself sane, you should accept that if you use multiple systems, the numbers in different online tracking systems will never agree exactly. Even the numbers between Google’s different systems don’t match. As with other marketing metrics, it is the trend and the consistency that is more important — as long as the numbers are close enough, focus on any divergence or suddenly larger gap between different analytics systems, as that could indicate a problem.

Poor Lead Hygiene / Salesforce Processes

Another common challenge to tracking Google Adwords (and other online advertising) conversion in Salesforce is poor data quality and a lack of consistently followed processes for handling data. Duplicate leads, no consistency across the sales organization for when leads are converted to opportunities, and custom fields that don’t map anywhere upon conversion are all common issues we see with Salesforce usage that affect campaign tracking.

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With so many systems integrated into Salesforce, and marketing automation systems increasingly inserting their own databases into the middle of things, we also see lead sources that get lost or overwritten, and a lack of proper reports / dashboards to give a holistic picture of the data.

If you are embarking on a project to track your Google Adwords or other online marketing leads in Salesforce, try to make data cleanup and process improvements part of the job. You’ll end up with better data and a higher likelihood that you are making decisions based on accurate data as a bonus.

 

Not Having Correct Tools

Finally, we come to the tools you use to get your Google Adwords data into Salesforce. Some companies have their web developers or engineers build a system to push this data into Salesforce. And if you have an eCommerce system or Account signup (instead of a lead process), custom building a solution may be your only real option unfortunately. But many of us don’t have development resources at our disposal, or the engineering team is too busy on customer-facing product development to work on internal marketing tools.

For those using standard Salesforce web-to-lead forms and processes, there is a new generation of tools available like our (CloudAmp’s) Campaign Tracker. Installable directly from Salesforce.com’s AppExchange, these tools can add in additional information like where a lead came from, what keywords they searched for, and more.

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Most importantly, this information becomes a permanent part of the lead record in Salesforce upon the form submit, so you can track those values throughout the lead lifecycle and see conversion and revenue data. Now you can get real ROI data on Google Adwords and your other marketing and advertising efforts, and know in detail which keywords or placements produce your best leads.

Despite the challenges, now is the time. So don’t wait any longer, start tracking your Google Adwords and other advertising lead sources into Salesforce today. Eliminate waste wherever possible, and reallocate funds to the top performing advertising, and your revenue and cost of sales can improve significantly.

Replacing Salesforce for Google Adwords

Salesforce for Google Adwords launched back in 2007, and for the first time made it easy to associate Adwords advertising data with individual leads inside Salesforce. I was one of the first enthusiastic users and a customer case study for Salesforce on their roadshow announcing the new application.

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Finally, we could permanently tie Adwords clicks to an individual lead, and track conversion all the way through from lead to account to closed opportunity. No more focus on Google Adwords CTR, CPC or other important but sometimes misleading metrics. We had arrived at the promised land: $ spent / $ revenue generated on a keyword basis. And we could now get this data even if the lead closed 6 months after the Adwords click and came in via Fax.

Some time ago Salesforce.com announced that the Salesforce for Google Adwords app could no longer be installed, and that support for existing users would be ending May 1, 2013. I don’t know all the details behind this decision, but this blog post is focused on what you can do to replace Salesforce for Google Adwords, and one alternative application that we have developed here at CloudAmp.

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CloudAmp’s Campaign Tracker, launched in October 2012, is a viable alternative to Salesforce for Google Analytics. Just install the app into Salesforce, add a tracking code to the pages of your web site and insert some additional code in your web-to-lead forms, and you can start capturing data every time a new lead comes into Salesforce.

Campaign Tracker is designed to be simple, to minimize the number of things that can go wrong in the tracking process. There is no external database to sync to Salesforce, so leads go directly into your Salesforce org via web-to-lead forms, and your data never leaves your Salesforce org. We give you the tracking cookie javascript to host on your own web site, so there no third-party cookies that are often blocked.

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In addition, Campaign Tracker does not actually pull any data from Google Adwords or Google Analytics, so we don’t rely on data from those services or the availability of APIs. We simply make use of the Google Analytics Campaign URL format, and save the UTM values from the URL into a cookie that your web site sets.

When a visitor to your web site submits a Salesforce web-to-lead form, we parse the cookie and populate some hidden fields in the form with the campaign values. As a bonus, you have more complete campaign data in Google Analytics, since you should be tagging all of the inbound URLs that you can control.

 

After you have the tracking enabled on your web site, simply update your Google Adwords URLs in a format like that below, filling in your own values for the campaign etc., and you are ready to go. To make things easier, if you have a lot of ads to update, the Google Adwords editor (a desktop program for your PC or Mac) makes it easy to update many ads quickly.

http://www.YOURSITE.com?utm_source=GoogleAdwords&utm_campaign=CampaignTracker&utm_medium=PPC&utm_term={KeyWord}

The {KeyWord} at the end of the URL uses Google Adword’s keyword insertion to automatically insert the keyword into your URL, just the same way it can insert a keyword into the text of your ad. You can also use the 5th campaign parameter, utm_content, to record the Adgroups if you would like.

That’s it! So if you are looking for an easy to implement alternative to Salesforce for Google Adwords, check out CloudAmp’s Campaign Tracker — it installs directly from the AppExchange for a free trial. If you have any questions, leave a comment below, or contact us and we’ll be glad to help.

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