Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Social Media Tracking - Inbound Referrals

As social media becomes an increasingly relevant environment in which your prospective buyers learn about your industry or your solutions, you need a way to understand its influence from a marketing perspective. Luckily, this is easy to do in Eloqua, you can use Referrer Tracking to track which blogs are sending visitors your way.

To give you an idea of how we can do this, I’ll use an actual example from the Digital Body Language blog. Valeria Maltoni on Conversation Agent referred to the Digital Body Language blog in a post on her site. That post began driving traffic, and I wanted to understand what that traffic was looking like.

In this case, Valeria had been kind enough to insert a custom tracking query string (more on that later as it opens up some interesting options), but in most cases you won't have that, so we'll set up referrer tracking assuming that custom tracking query string wasn't there.

To set it up, I went to the Web Profiling -> Referrers area and created a new Online Media campaign. These track external campaigns based on two main things, the referring URL and the landing URL. I set this up so that any visitors to any Eloqua web property (the Digital Body Language blog is tracked as part of the overall set of Eloqua web properties) that came from Conversation Agent would be marked as being part of this referrer campaign for reporting purposes.

This was done by adding the Conversation Agent URL as a referring URL, and leaving the landing URL blank. By checking the box to check for past website activity, anyone visiting from this referral recently would automatically be added. Given that we often don't know in advance of a referral in social media, and the traffic spike will happen within a day or two, this is a very useful ability.

To see which visitors came to the blog from Conversation Agent, all we have to do is select the “View Marketing Campaign Visitors” menu item, and we’ll see a list of the visitors that came from Valeria’s referral link.

What we’ve done for tracking a referring blog as an online referral source can be done with any similar online source. If the referring site, landing URL, or both, are known, you can easily define that as an online referral source and quickly and easily understand which of your visitors have been referred via that source, without the need for custom links and query strings.

We've used this internally for any campaigns that drive traffic to our site, whether from blogs, industry analysts, or news. It provides a great perspective on where each individual is coming from, and traffic patterns in general.


jm said...

So is this available for Xpress?

Steven Woods said...

Yes, this is part of web tracking, so it's available in Express.

Valeria Maltoni said...

Hope you got good referral, Steven. We do that for all of our campaigns. In fact, we track every specific part of the campaign to fine tune and tweak what needs to be adjusted or changed even as the campaign is in full swing.

Chris Warner said...

Tracking blogs as a SOURCE is helpful but what about tracking a blog as a DESTINATION? This blog ( is a great example. I am surprised other organizations have not reached the same conclusion: their blogs are PART of the web presence, not merely a source of inbound traffic.

This blog is part of Eloqua's brand and web presence but NOT part of it's corporate website. In fact, the physical software of this blog is run by Google. And that's the issue I have encountered: you can insert a little Javascript into Google's Blogger layout but you CANNOT add subdirectories or files. So how could you add the Eloqua tracking scripts???

Steven Woods said...

Chris, glad you brought that up. It absolutely is possible (this blog is tracked with Eloqua scripts). You need to tweak the scripts to reference a static location, but it's quite easy. I'll write a post on it, that's a good thought, thanks for bringing it up. If you want it quicker than that, just call your CSM and they can get you set up.