UTM and Sitecore campaign tracking: side by side approach

How do you check if your campaigns perform well? Simply, you check Google Analytics and based on UTM parameters identify your campaigns and analyze collected conversions. But, can you see how all campaigns related to single business unit in specific location perform? Maybe campaign view for specific product or service? And can you see with same classification performance your offline campaigns as well? In Google Analytics it would be rather difficult, but with Sitecore, it can be easy.

You only need to define the proper classification of your campaigns and track ’em all!

I’m not telling you to get rid of UTM tracking but combine them with Sitecore Campaign tracking and benefit from both. Let’s have a look how to simply use Sitecore Campaign Creator to generate both Sitecore Campaign & UTM tracking parameters.

Introducing Sitecore campaigns

In Sitecore, you can analyze your campaigns, but also use them for personalization or to launch marketing automation for all visitor’s interaction with a specific campaign. Wouldn’t it be nice to automatically send personalized newsletter to all visitors with a valid email address who participated in the campaign, but haven’t achieved a targeted goal? Possible, with Sitecore.

With Sitecore, you can create a campaign group and track all campaign activities that belong to this campaign group. The campaign group is basically a collection of all campaign activities (newsletter, social, PPC, outdoor campaign, etc) for a campaign group. For each campaign marketing activity, you can define campaign classification.  Classification serves to categorize campaigns according to channels, assets and campaign facets.

Channel – Identification of channels where the campaign will be placed. Sitecore provides this as only one of out-of-the-box classification for campaigns. You select from several online and offline channels in a predefined structure. The structure can be always edited by a Sitecore user.

Assets – Tracking media file such as. E-book, pdf, video or whitepaper related to your campaign

Campaign facets – Custom campaign taxonomy you can use to describe aspects of the campaign according to your own categorization. There is no predefined taxonomy so you can classify campaigns for example according to business units, product type, business goals, geography and so on.  The campaign facets play the main role when it comes to analyzing your campaigns.

Standard Sitecore Campaign clasification
Standard Sitecore Campaign classification

Creating campaign activity is very similar to Google UTM builders – you simply select campaign attributes (channel, assets and campaign facets) from campaign classification and Sitecore generates campaign parameter. The difference from UTM is that campaign can hold any number of classification attributes and parameter consist of a hashed parameter.

Example of Sitecore campaign parameter: http://actumdigital.com/?sc_camp=70E0AD2484D4400782700E3A95F8D368

When a visitor comes to a website through URL with campaign parameter Sitecore identify which campaign it is together with all campaign attributes.  Additionally, content might be personalized according to campaign or the visitor can be enrolled to Marketing automation.

Generating UTM parameters with Sitecore Campaign facets

Manually generated UTM parameters require specific attributes so Google Analytics can understand details about each campaign. UTM parameters usually consist of 5 parameters: source, medium, campaign name, content, and term. Some of them sounds like Sitecore campaign classification, right? We can map UTM attributes to Sitecore campaign activity:

UTM_Source = campaign channel or campaign facets (depends on your UTM source classification)

UTM_Medium = campaign facets

UTM_Campaign = campaign activity name or campaign group (depends on your UTM taxonomy)

UTM_Content = campaign facets

UTM_Term = campaign facets

The only thing that needed to configure Sitecore Campaign facets according to UTM taxonomy. After that, you have all attributes needed to generate UTM parameter.

Example of Sitecore classification with UTM campaign taxonomy:

Sitecore clasification for UTM tracking
Sitecore classification for UTM tracking

Standard Sitecore campaign parameter:

Sitecore campaign parameter
Sitecore campaign parameter

Until now it was all about configuration of Sitecore campaign taxonomy in Marketing Control Panel. To generate UTM parameter you need custom development to design additional field in campaign configuration (I will challenge one of our developers to give you more insights for this part).

Here is an example of parameter build of UTM and Sitecore campaign together:

Extended Campaign parameter wit UTM
Extended Campaign parameter wit UTM

What are the benefits of this approach

The main reason to develop this functionality was to unify UTM and Sitecore tagging across different channels that are managed directly from Sitecore. We were able to send email campaigns and create a social post to different social platforms with automated adding of campaign parameters to all links. We also make a selection of campaign with selected attributes as mandatory so campaign without campaign tagging could not be started.

This solution, of course, doesn’t count with auto-tagging. In case of large campaigns where auto-tagging take place, we suggest providing Sitecore campaign parameter at least with attributes of channel and medium to cover traffic sources for Sitecore analytics and possible marketing automation scenarios.

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