Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tracking Lead Sources through Query Strings

Where traffic comes from is always a topic of significant interest in marketing. We've talked about how to easily track this with Eloqua if you only know the website the traffic is referred from using Online Referrer campaigns, but there are many times that you have an ability to add a more detailed lead source code into the link that sends traffic your way.

If you do, in situations like PPC ads on search engines like Google, banner ads, or partner promotions, you can go one step further and track the exact source that brought the visitor.

The first step is to begin tracking the value of the code that will be passed through in a query string. This is the extension of the URL that looks like ?source=PPC&ad=Promo12.

To track this, go to the Query Strings tab under Web Profiling, and create a new Query String Parameter to be tracked. All you need to provide in most cases is the name that you are looking for in the query string, and Eloqua will take care of the rest. If you are working with a site that does not use the standard way of separating values with "&" and "=", you can also configure the rules for that setup in this area.

Once this is in place, you are automatically tracking the query string values that appear in each of the URLs your visitors visit, whether the first page in their visit or within a many page visit.
In the same manner as we did with online referral campaigns, we can set these query string value up in their profile to present as interesting data on the individual visitor. We can also pass this data into a web form quickly and automatically. Similarly, once it is available in the web visitor's profile field, we can display it to our sales teams in their CRM system so the can better understand the mind of each buyer.
With query string tracking set up well, it is easy to build a much clearer view of what is happening to drive traffic to your website and what each visitor does when they are on your site.


Chad H said...

I learned today of a customer that used Eloqua Query Strings to track visits to certain areas of their site as they have a query string based site. Using a feature called query string clusters, they were able to group sections of their site together and map visits of these sections to indivudals and pass this data to their CRM. In addition, they used this data to create segments for their email campaigns. Powerful stuff!

Steven Woods said...

Good point on clusters - that will make a good post. Thanks for the reminder.

Kimberly Roman said...

I have implemented query string clusters for my website. I was having a hard time segmenting my visitors since my entire site is query string based. Using query string clusters was a bit time consuming to set up but well worth it. I am already using query string clusters in my Lead Scoring program, to add more points to individuals who viewed content deeper on the site. The next step is to use them in a Lead Nurturing program.

Jim Woolfrey said...

I am interested in setting up query string tracking solution to track Google PPC ads. I can track the ad itself, but how would I track to the granularity of the keywords associated with an ad? Can Eloqua capture dynamically generated query string information, or must I pre-define each key word?

Steven Woods said...

if I understand your question correctly, you're looking for search queries and/or search keywords used in Google, Yahoo, etc?

If so, that is natural in Eloqua. Have a look at for more details. If that's not what you were asking, please let me know.

Andy Ball said...

Do these same features exist in E10? if so, could anyone point me in their direction please?