UTM Tracking for the Modern Marketer

Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) tracking is a “must-have” in digital marketing and analysis, regardless of industry. If your company has a website, you’ll want to know as much as possible about the people who are visiting and how to convert them into customers.

In this post we look at UTM tracking and address what it is, how it works, and how it can benefit your company. 

What Is UTM Tracking?

Essentially, UTM tracking allows analytics tools to see where website visitors are coming from. With customized URLs distributed in different marketing campaigns, you can see which campaigns are successful. That information can provide crucial insights into what exactly your users value and what prompts them to visit your website.

What Does UTM Tracking Do?

UTM tracking performs various functions by letting you know where your users are learning about your website and what is prompting them to visit. Often, this happens through ad campaigns, but people can come from all sorts of places, like from an influencer’s Twitter account. 

Tracks Social Marketing Campaigns

Knowing your user base is critical in digital marketing, and understanding where to find your customers is a big part of that. Comparing social media campaigns with A/B testing can provide key insights into your customers’ personas, their interests, and which social platforms they frequent. For example, depending on their demographic, you might find that promotional ads on Facebook attract more visitors than ads on Twitter or vice versa. 

Provides Traffic and Conversion Data

Instead of just seeing how many people visit your website every day, UTM tracking allows you to analyze where those users are coming from and which ones become customers. 

With UTM tracking, you might see plenty of people come from a Twitter post, but notice that the majority of visitors who purchase a product actually stem from your email marketing campaign. Then, depending on your business goals, you can use that information to decide where to ramp up your marketing. 

Test Individual Messages

Suppose you conduct an A/B test and you track the link provided in the A email and see that it is generating very few visits over a given period. You’ll probably conclude that your customer base is not responding well to your A campaign. 

From there, you and your marketing team can strategize different ways to reach customers and launch the B email campaign with a separate URL and different wording or formatting. 

Again, the ability to know which messages are generating the most revenue for your brand is vital for your marketing team to use as a template for future content. 

What Are UTM Tracking Values?

There are five UTM tracking values. In an analytics tool, you enter the established values, and the tool will generate customized URLs with the parameters that you input. This makes it easy to compare email campaigns versus Facebook ads.

An example URL with tracking values is:

http://www.acme.com/landingpage?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=tweet&utm_term=accounting+software&utm_content=buyer-guide+A&utm_campaign=q4+leadgen

We’ll go into the specific tracking values within that URL below. 

Campaign Sources

The first part of the example URL says “utm_source=twitter.” This section refers to the website at which the users began before visiting your landing page. 

When generating a URL, the first field asks for the source of your URL. 

Campaign Mediums

The second part of the example URL says “utm_medium=tweet.” This part refers to the campaign medium

When generating a URL, the second field asks for the medium, meaning the platform where the users will receive this URL. In the example, the users are directed to your website through a Twitter ad.

Campaign Terms

The third part of the example URL says “utm_term=accounting+software.” This section refers to the paid keywords in your campaign. 

When generating a URL, the third field asks for the keywords of your campaign.

Campaign Content

The second to last part of the example URL says “utm_content=bu yer-guide A.” That part refers to the campaign content. 

When generating a URL, the second to last field asks for the content of your campaign, meaning the wording you’re using or how you want to differentiate this particular post. In this instance, it’s your buyer’s guide.

Campaign Names

Finally, the last part of the example URL is “utm_campaign=q4+leadgen.” This refers to the campaign name. 

When generating a URL, the last field asks for the name of your campaign. This detail is especially important to help you distinguish between multiple campaigns run through the same source, like two email campaigns with different wording. 

How Do I Create UTM Tracking Parameters?

By using a specialized tool, your company can generate parameters for tracking URLs. Though they will all take the visitor to the same landing page, the URLs will vary depending on the parameters that you set in the tool.

Once these URLs have been generated, your analytics tool will record which is used by visitors to your landing page. 

Keep in mind that the visitor will not see any of this behind-the-scenes tracking despite the distinctive URLs. Instead, they’ll always click through to the same landing page.

How Do I Use the Data From UTM Tracking?

The data from UTM tracking can inform your company about user preferences, alternative websites they frequent, which types of promotional offers they respond to, and the wording that brings them to your landing or home page. 

How Can I Use UTM Tracking to Optimize My Marketing?

You can search the URLs used during a given timeframe using a product analytics tool and see which of your campaigns successfully attracted visitors to the website and which ones you need to take a second look at before continuing. 

How Can I Use UTM Tracking to Assess Social Media Success?

UTM tracking can help you analyze social media success in a few different ways, as we explore below. 

Measure ROI

You know how much money you spent on your Twitter ad. When you’re able to track the people who click through the link on that ad and see if they purchase your products or services, you can balance the increase in revenue with the costs of hiring a writer, designer and paying Twitter to promote your brand’s ad.

Refine Your KPIs

With the data provided by UTM tracking, you can test out your ideas with concrete results and see how effective your marketing strategies are. With these numbers, you can define key performance indicators to reflect your business goals better to align with your results.

Track Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Hiring an influencer to promote your brand is becoming a reliable source of new visitors and customers for many companies. However, it can be difficult to tell just how many of an influencer’s hundreds of thousands of followers are purchasing your product simply because they heard about it from the influencer or somewhere else. 

With UTM tracking, you can give your influencer a customized URL and keep track of the people who click through from their post, ensuring that you get an accurate count of your revenue from their influence. 

Be Consistent with Tags

Consistency is critical, especially when you want to publish posts for returning customers. 

Discovery by new users is great, but maintaining existing relationships is critical. For example, people often follow specific tags, and UTM tracking allows you to ensure that your posts are appropriately tagged so that your audience will see them. 

Conduct A/B Tests

When you aren’t sure which call-to-action will be most effective or are trying a new slogan for your brand, you can see which is more effective by using an A/B test

This type of test directly compares two posts that differ only in content to see which one attracts more customers to your website. 

Use Tracking Tools

There are plenty of other tracking tools that work with UTM parameters to tell you more than where your visitors came from. These URLs can also help you compile information about your user base, including their locations, ages, preferences, and other data that can inform the content your brand creates and the services you provide. 

Conclusion

UTM tracking is a powerful way to hone your marketing campaigns with surgical precision. Finding out what works and what doesn’t is more than half the battle. When you know which influencers bring in the most traffic or where your users satisfy their social media needs, you’ll be able to target them with your ad campaigns in the future. 

Check out our website to learn more about how Kissmetrics can help you collect and make the most of your user data.

 

Sources:

How URL Tracking Works and Why It’s Important | Dashthis.com

URL Tracking – Sprout Social Support | Sprout Social

A Guide to URL Tracking- Understanding Where Your Traffic Comes From | Gray Group Intl.

Retention Analysis: How to Analyze and Report on Retention

Tracking and analyzing customer retention should be a high priority for any company with the hope of becoming successful. Your customers are the people who keep you in business, and customer retention is a measure of how well you satisfy them. Dissatisfied customers will not continue to give your business their money.

Understanding how retention rate works, calculating it and other KPIs, and gleaning insights from your data are all crucial steps  to making your business work. Keep in mind that retention rate is just as critical to a subscription or membership-based business as a company selling consumables. In other words, it’s viable for all businesses. 

What Is Retention Rate?

Your company’s retention rate is a measurement of customers who return to your brand to purchase more products or continue using your services. 

For example, it would measure the number of customers who continued to resubscribe to your service month after month. However, it is less important for companies selling cars, furniture, or other items that are not replaced frequently.

What Is Customer Churn?

Customer churn refers to customers who discontinue their business with your brand. This can happen for a variety of reasons. It can mean the customer was dissatisfied with your product or service or that they decided to discontinue service because it was no longer needed or affordable. 

Why Is Retention Important for My Business?

Customer retention helps to increase your profits because existing customers who choose to stick with your company are consistently profitable. They are also more valuable than new customers because each dollar they spend costs you less to attain.

Additionally, retention rate gives insight into whether your brand is meeting and exceeding customer expectations. When your company constantly satisfies its customers, they’ll stay out of trust instead of experimenting with competitors. 

How Do You Analyze Customer Retention?

Analyze your customer retention by first identifying why your customers return and then why customers churn, then compare the results to find out how to increase retention and decrease churn. 

Why Do Customers Churn?

Customers churn for a number of reasons:

  • Poor customer service experience
  • Decreased quality of products or services
  • Additional benefits, features, or functionalities found elsewhere
  • Price differences with competitors
  • Your product is no longer convenient
  • Customer’s budget or schedule changed
  • Promotional period ended

While it is important to consider all of these reasons, some are more likely to happen than others, and all of them, except for a customer’s changing needs, are within your company’s control.

How Do Customers Churn?

One example is, in subscription or service-based companies, customers cancel their subscription or membership. With products, the customer stops purchasing the items. 

How Do I Calculate My Retention Rate?

Calculating your retention rate is simple. First, choose a period of time to measure. Record the number of customers your company had at the end of the period and subtract the number of new customers. Divide that number by your total customers. Then multiply that number by 100 for your final retention rate.

(ending customers – new customers) / total customers * 100 = retention rate

(300 – 25) / 450 * 100 = 61.1%

Which Retention KPIs Should I Measure? 

Knowing which KPIs to measure is an essential part of analyzing your brand’s success. Having the right metrics on your side makes it easier to understand where to focus your company’s efforts for improvement. While there are plenty of different indicators, these provide some of the most valuable information. 

Customer Churn Rate

Customer Churn Rate measures the number of customers who have churned during a specific period. The rate of churn doesn’t explicitly list why the customers are leaving, which means it is up to your company to perform other evaluations to learn what is driving customers to leave. Is it poor customer service? Does your brand have a competitor who is undercutting your prices? Or is it a product issue?

Knowing how many customers choose to leave and why they’re leaving is crucial for growing your business and your bottom line. 

Customer Lifetime Value

The Customer Lifetime Value measures the contribution of a customer throughout the entire business relationship. The longer the CLV is, the more loyal your customer is.

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score is a measure of customer loyalty. It asks the customer a straightforward question: how likely are they to recommend your brand to a friend? The customer answers on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the worst score and 10 being the best score, meaning that they are going to recommend you. 

MRR Churn Rate

Monthly Recurring Revenue (or MRR) Churn Rate refers to any fluctuation in your company’s churn rate each month. Since you want to avoid churn, a negative MRR churn rate is good for your company. On the flip side, a positive MRR churn rate is bad news because it means that you’re losing customers for some reason.

Customer Engagement Score

Your Customer Engagement Score can vary depending on which inputs your company wants to measure. However, it is essentially a way to track customer activity through purchasing products and other KPIs.

This score can be helpful if you plan to separate customers into groups based on ethnicity, age, gender, and other factors. By identifying who is most likely to become a customer and stay a customer, your company will have a better idea of how to market itself and who the target audience currently is. 

Business-Specific Metrics

We’ve listed the basics, but there are plenty of other retention KPIs that your company can mix and match to create reports that are meaningful.

Some other KPIs to consider are:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score – a measure of how much your customer enjoyed their experience or product.
  • Customer Retention Cost – if your company has a loyalty or rewards program, this can add up to an expensive proposition over time. You want to ensure that it makes financial sense.

What Is a Retention Report?

A retention report records the number of customers who have both purchased a product or service and then repurchased that item or renewed their subscription within a specified time period. This can be a great way to see if your product or service satisfies customers over time, especially if your company just ran a promotion or free trial.

Suppose the majority of customers who signed up for the promotion or free trial canceled their membership after the promotional period ended. That may be a sign that your product needs improvement, the price needs to be reduced, or that the trial period wasn’t long enough for customers to understand your product’s benefits. 

Conclusion

Armed with the information about customer retention, your company can analyze it’s retention reports and other KPIs to see where improvements need to be made. These reports can shed light on specific areas of your product or service where customer satisfaction is lacking and help your company retain customers for longer, increasing your profit margin one happy customer at a time.

Let Kissmetrics help you analyze your retention and churn to increase your customer lifetime value.

 Sources:

How to Measure Customer Loyalty | Survey Sensum

Retention Rate | Definition and Overview | Productplan.com

Net Revenue Retention Rate vs Net MRR Churn Rate | Klipfolio.com

A Beginner’s Guide To Cohort Analysis

Whether you’re doing it on purpose or subconsciously, it’s human nature to put things into categories. Maybe you organize your shoes based on color or your glassware according to their size. Whatever the case may be, by organizing your personal items into groups — also referred to as cohorts— you’re doing your very own cohort analysis.

Interested in learning more? Kissmetrics can help. Read on for our beginner’s guide to cohort analysis. 

What is Cohort Analysis, and What Is It Used For?

A cohort is a group of individuals with shared characteristics.

Therefore, cohort analysis is a type of behavioral analytics in which users are grouped based on shared traits so you can better track and understand their actions. This allows you to ask more targeted, specific questions, and make informed decisions that will help to reduce churn and drastically increase revenue. 

No matter your industry, cohort analysis could arguably be one of the most effective ways to gather information regarding your customers’ behavior and how they interact with your service or product. 

Okay, but what exactly is a cohort analysis good for?

Great question. 

Cohort analysis allows you to compare variables and changes between your digital marketing campaigns. You can test traffic, engagement and conversion rates of different cohorts; how one ad performs against another, which marketing channel is the most effective for which cohort, and more.

Even brick-and-mortar stores can test the effect of a website modification on user behavior. 

Here are some of the things you can test using a cohort analysis:

  • Ad content
  • Target audience
  • Channels
  • Experiments/campaigns
  • New product lines and service offerings
  • Website redesigns
  • Discounts, sales, promotion campaigns 

Understanding the Different Pieces of a Cohort Analysis

Cohort analysis allows you to segment your customers by the time and channel they were acquired and analyze the retention rate of each. You can then put your resources behind the channels that produce better retention as well as increase retention rates in poor performing channels

To optimize retention rates in this fashion, you’ll want to segment your users in either of the two following ways:

Cohorts by Acquisition

Divide up your users by how and when they first signed up for services or purchased your product. You can get as specific as creating unique cohorts by the week, month, or even the particular day they first converted. Your level of specificity may be determined by the number of users you have buying or signing up on each day.

In the case of an app or software, this will allow you to determine exactly how long customers use your services or product before their engagement drops off. It also helps you to focus your efforts on optimizing user engagement well before the dropoff point. 

Cohorts by Behavior

In addition to cohorts by acquisition, you also have the option to segment users by the behaviors they have or have not taken within a specific period of time. For instance, in an app, this could be anything from a launch, uninstall, or install to a combo of behaviors or transactions taken from within the app. 

Your behavioral cohort would be made up of consumers who performed the same action within the same time frame. 

Using the app example we mentioned above, this could be anyone who initiated an in-app purchase within the first seven days of download. You could easily use this and other unique distinctions to identify which segments of your users are most likely to stay and become long-term users. 

From this point on, you can work to optimize your users’ experience and increase their likelihood of long-term engagement.

How To Perform a Cohort Analysis

Now that we’ve covered exactly what a cohort analysis is and how it’s used, you’re probably wondering how to perform one.

Identifying Your Cohort

First things first, accurately identify the cohort you’ll be tracking. Here are a few steps to determine which cohort you will need to track:

Decide on the correct question to answer.

The point of your cohort analysis is to return actionable information which you can use to improve your own and your user’s end result. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how crucial it is that you ask the correct questions like: 

What do I want to learn? 

How will I use this information to increase revenue, prevent churn, improve the user experience, etc.? 

If you’re unsure how you’ll use the information on your cohorts, you might be tracking the wrong thing.

Choose the metrics that will best help answer your question.

Effective cohort analysis requires you to establish which event you’ll be tracking, as well as the specific properties related to that event. Ask yourself, what event will I be tracking and what insights will this help me to gather about my cohorts? 

Define your metrics once you have the questions you’ll be asking, and this will help you to better define your cohorts.

To create a specific cohort, it’s important to decide on whether to target all users who took a particular action within a specific timeframe, or to distinguish a defining characteristic among them, such as those who purchased less than or more than a certain amount — creating two or more cohorts. 

For instance, in gaming, one might choose to segment their lowest engagement users from their highest who signed up during the same timeframe. This way, they can identify how each cohorts’ actions, usage level, and purchasing behavior differs. 

Basic Cohort Analysis With Excel

One of the most popular methods to perform a basic cohort analysis is in Microsoft Excel. Given that you’ve been tracking the data needed to answer the questions you’re asking, Excel allows you to manually segment your cohorts, import the information, crunch the numbers, and answer many basic questions. 

Basic Cohort Analysis in Google Sheets

Another popular method to perform a basic cohort analysis is through Google Sheets. If you don’t currently have an effective behavioral analysis system in place and are looking for a way to crunch the numbers manually to perform your own cohort analysis, Google Sheets may be a good fit for you to help answer some basic questions. 

Okay, but is there an easier and more effective approach?  

As a matter of fact, there is. If you happened to look into Excel and Google Sheets, you’d find that cohort analysis without the help of a marketing analytics tool like Kissmetrics can be a bit cumbersome. Unless you have a data scientist on your team, answering anything but your simpler questions may be a challenge. 

Sure, it’s possible, but it all boils down to preference. Ask yourself: do you have the resources and time to perform regular cohort analyses with Google Sheets or Excel? 

Or would it be easier and more efficient to have a tool like Kissmetrics doing the work for you?  That way you can answer virtually any question with very little resource expenditure.

The Takeaway

The power of identifying trends in your users’ behavior is obvious, but it’s up to you to start implementing this powerful solution in your business. 

Always keep in mind that the key to effective cohort analysis is your ability to accurately collect information. 

While the basic cohort analysis through Google Sheets and Excel allows product managers, marketers and others to better understand the habits of their specific users and the patterns that appear in their actions, a powerful behavioral analytics tool like Kissmetrics is necessary to make the most of this revelatory analytics system.

 

Sources:

https://www.edglossary.org/cohort/

https://www.techopedia.com/definition/5430/microsoft-excel

https://www.thebusinesswomanmedia.com/spot-consumer-trends-early/

 

Powerful Behavioral Segmentation Methods to Understand

Whether we all like to admit it or not, our habits, emotions, and even our backgrounds play a large part in predicting our behavior. 

Many individuals have daily habits that compel them to do the same thing day in and day out. If you’re a caffeine drinker, for example, you know firsthand the impulse and daily requisite of having that morning cup.

In marketing, we want to understand who our metaphorical daily coffee drinkers are, and separate them from those who consume less regularly. 

Behavioral segmentation isn’t only about recognizing that people have different habits — it’s about optimizing marketing campaigns to match these unique behavioral patterns with a particular and eye-catching message. 

But what exactly is behavioral segmentation?

What is a Behavioral Segmentation Method?

In a nutshell, behavioral segmentation is a form of marketing segmentation that divides individuals into various groups who have a specific behavioral pattern in common. Consumers may share the very same lifecycle stage, previously purchased particular services or products, or even have similar reactions or attitudes to your messages. 

The objective is to identify customer segments to help you understand how to address the particular needs of a target audience, discover opportunities to optimize their customer journeys, and quantify their potential value to your business.

Once users are identified by their specific behavior, you can target messages and campaigns specifically tailored to these audiences. 

A few of the top benefits of behavioral segmentation include:

  • Personalization: Behavioral segmentation helps you to better understand what channels your customers and potential customers frequently visit and what type of messaging they respond to most so you can increase the number of conversions. 
  • Saves money: Behavioral segmentation helps prioritize marketing campaigns to help make your advertising efforts more cost-effective. It allows you to spend less of your time and fewer resources to generate leads in an attempt to communicate with an audience that’s not interested.
  • Makes it much easier to track success: You can easily track metrics inside each segment with an analytics tool like Kissmetrics to improve your results.
  • Forecasting: Looking at each segment’s patterns, you can identify trends to help you effectively plan marketing strategies for the future. 

Let’s take a look at some powerful methods of behavioral segmentation that you can use in your own business:

#1: Purchase and Usage Behavior

Purchase and usage behavior — or purchasing habits — refers to how customers approach the buying process. 

While there are many different ways we can classify purchasing habits, there are primarily four types of buying behavior:

  1. Complex: When a consumer is actively shopping and searching for the best solution to their problem. 
  2. Variety Seeking: When a consumer is satisfied with their brand and purchase but are open to other options. 
  3. Dissonance Reducing: When a consumer is satisfied with their purchase and despite some anxious feeling about making a change, think there is something a little better out there. 
  4. Habitual: When a consumer is loyal to their brand and isn’t considering other options. 

Purchasing behavior can help us to understand many things, such as the complexity and difficulty of the buying process, the role the customer plays in the buying process, as well as which behaviors are most and least predictive of a consumer making a purchase.

#2: Benefits Sought

Benefits sought refers to consumers picking products based on the features and solutions that are most significant to them. You can see which benefits are significant to consumers by simply viewing the types of products and services they choose. 

For instance, if customers consistently pick a low-cost option of a product or service, you might conclude that the price is important to them. If customers are engaged with a webinar about how a product or service can save them time but aren’t interested in a webinar about how the same exact product or service can help them improve performance, you could reason that saving time and workflow efficiency are more important to them. 

#3: Occasion and Timing

Some occasions are universal, like booking a suite for New Year’s Eve. Others are personal, like buying a monthly makeup subscription box. 

Occasion-based segmentation is more common than you may think. Take a look at some of the emails you’ve received in the past week. Chances are, you’ll see quite a few “occasional” emails from marketers. For instance, you might see that your beloved pizza delivery service sends out coupons or flash sale emails on Thursdays because people are more likely to order takeout over the weekends.

#4: Customer Loyalty

Keep in mind that just because a customer keeps purchasing your product or service doesn’t mean that they are a loyal customer. Customers that are constantly in need of the product or service you offer are habitual buyers, whereas loyal customers purchase only your products and services. This is a significant barrier to your competition. 

Loyal customers are important because they tend to generate most of your business revenue and are, generally, are less expensive to market to. As a result, it’s crucial to be able to identify who your loyal customers are from your regular customers. That way, you can focus your energy on building your relationship with them. 

#5: Engagement Level

Customer engagement is a valuable metric in both pre-and-post-purchase realms of the customer journey. To give you a quick example, you can use engagement-based segmentation to discover how engaged different consumers are in your pre-purchase funnel or how active existing customers are in your user community.

If a customer has a great experience with your brand, and as a result, is willing to interact more frequently and spend a little more time engaging with your company, this is usually a good sign of positive outcomes to follow. 

The more a customer spends engaging with your brand, the more likely:

  • A positive perception of the business’ brand is developing. 
  • Trust is increasing. 
  • They’re considering making a purchase
  • Their brand relationship is strengthening. 

#6: Customer Satisfaction

Are you accurately capturing how satisfied and happy your customers are at every stage of their buying journey? Doing this will give you a much better gauge of their behaviors and will help you increase conversion rate. 

Some brands make effective use of their social media channels as a customer support platform. They infuse their unique personality into each answer while also obtaining data on brand satisfaction, brand perception, and more. Others use CRM platforms or chat-based tech to create a real-time, always-open line of communication with their customers. 

By first segmenting your customers by satisfaction, you can decide on the best set of actions for each segment and then prioritize them by their potential impact on your business. 

#7: Customer Status 

Customer status, or user status, is another great way to behaviorally classify different customers by their unique relationship to your business. 

Below are a handful of the most common customer status examples:

  • Prospects
  • Non-users
  • Regular users
  • First-time buyers
  • Defectors (i.e., ex-customers who have switched to a competitor)

Besides the ones listed above, there are many other customer statuses that could be applicable to your product or service. For instance, a brand with a free-trial model might have a status for “free trial” users. 

The Takeaway 

Behavioral segmentation is an effective method for segmenting your customers by their behavior, so you can understand them better and engage with them in a more optimal way along their customer journeys. 

Using the powerful behavioral segmentation methods listed above, you can maximize your ROI, enable customers to reach their unique goals, and increase customer lifetime value. You’ll be well-positioned to build a deeper knowledge of your customer base. 

You might be asking yourself what kind of tool you can use to gather and analyze behavioral segmentation data. Kissmetrics has you covered.

Kissmetric provides advanced product and marketing analytics that can help you to get more customers, make smarter decisions, and generate more customer revenue. Don’t waste your time measuring data that won’t get you results — Kissmetrics helps you focus on the things that matter and the things that grow your business, like conversions, revenue, and, most importantly, people. 

Schedule a demo with us today and see how behavioral segmentation can help you.

 

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-caffeine

https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4659-what-is-roi.html

https://marketbusinessnews.com/financial-glossary/habit-buying/