On Tuesday Genius.com announced the Genius URL Shortener (GURL), which makes it easier to measure the results of social media campaigns. At first I thought: “what’s new about that?”, and Marketo wrote a post on an alternative way to create tracking links. But when I read Ardath Albee’s post about the Genius URL Shortener I really got it: GURLs are cool!
Lead Source Measurement Needs Improvement
Tracking where a visitor comes from is not a new technique. I first used it inside AdWords, in which they offered cross-media conversion tracking. You could create a tracking URL, which you would include in non-AdWords advertisements, email blasts, and so on. This allowed you to see how many people registered (= converted) for each source.
After that, Google Analytics provided similar tracking features by appending variables to the existing URL (see the Google URL Builder tool). There are two big limitations for using this in B2B marketing:
- You can only see conversions, not opportunities or revenue (because that information is in the CRM system)
- You can’t see data on individual users
Marketing Automation to Measure End-to-End ROI
The Google tracking is from before Twitter, so the URLs were long and ugly. Twitter made the URL shorteners popular, like tinyURL and bit.ly. So in my opinion Genius now provides similar conversion tracking, with four improvements:
- It has short and clean URLs
- The URLs are easy to create, and anyone in the company can create them
- It provides end-to-end tracking to see associated opportunities and revenue (pulled from Salesforce.com)
- It ties into existing identified visitor tracking functionality (so clicks on GURLs and the entire web session are added to the lead record as metadata)
Of course, Social Media is all the rage, but I would also use the Genius URL Shortener for online advertisements, list rentals, and so on. The only place where you wouldn’t need it is in your own email blasts, because those are already tracked automatically.
The one feature I would like to add is the ability to associate links to specific campaigns, so you can see which lead sources were most effective for a particular campaign (Marketo’s approach covers this, but is not so easy to use).
So in my opinion this is a very interesting new tool that is makes it easier to track campaign ROI for Social Media and beyond.
How would you use this lead source tracking tool? Let me know your suggestions.
Disclosure: I am a guest blogger on the MarketingGenius blog