Coremetrics lets you track marketing campaigns via a 2 step process:
1) append “cm_mmc” link tags to URLs (similar to the “utm” tags in Google Analytcs).
2) sort these marketing programs into Marketing Channels (the highest level of traffic categorization) via rules
This post will give my thoughts on the best way to track marketing campaigns, in terms of both technical considerations and long term program maintenance.
1) APPEND CM_MMC TAGS
These tags get appended to the end of links, using the format cm_mmc=A-_-B-_-C-_-D. As shown, there are four slots available. Coremetrics names these slots Vendor, Category, Placement, and Item, though you can disregard this and just think of them as slots A through D.
When a user clicks on a marketing link containing these tags, the information will get stored and associated with that user’s ID. This means all the user’s activity gets associated to the values you placed in the tag, and you can therefore attribute visits, revenue, and other metrics to that specific effort. You can look up the tag and its associated information by navigating to Reports > Marketing > Marketing Programs (see screenshot).
How to Create CM_MMC Tags
Notice in the above screenshot that there is a hierarchy in the “By Vendor” reports, so you should think about organizing your tags in a hierarchy that will make sense when you retrieve the data. This typically means going from largest to smallest. The “Full List” view is a flat list rather than a hierarchy, but this gets extremely unwieldy once you have more than just a few different marketing programs.
This is a sample link containing Coremetrics email tags:
The more detailed you get in your tags, the more information you can use to differentiate between different campaigns, lists, banners, and so on. I would recommend something like the following:
syntax: cm_mmc=cpc-_-$search engine$-_-$adgroup$-_-$keyword$
syntax: cm_mmc=affiliate-_-$affiliate network$-_-$affiliate URL$-_-$affiliate campaign name$
You can add these parameters manually or download this handy URL builder tool from Coremetrics (make sure macros are enabled): Coremetrics Link Generator Tool
- All parameter strings must be preceded by cm_mmc=
- The parameter should be appended to the end of the URL, somewhere after a “?” mark.
- Sometimes there will be multiple parameters, like a cm_mmc= parameter, a sourceid= parameter, etc. In that case, the order of the parameters doesn’t matter as long as the link is well-formed. The first parameter should follow a “?” mark, and each subsequent parameter should be separated by an “&” mark.
- All values within the parameter must be separated by -_-
- All values must be used. If you don’t want to track 4 levels of information, use “NULL” or “NA”. Do not leave any values blank.
- Special characters have to be represented by hex codes, so it’s often easiest to just avoid them. If you must use a space, the correct hex code is “%20” (so if you wanted to write Head and Toes you’d write Head%20and%20Toes)
- Choose a naming pattern for your links and remain consistent to allow for historic analyses
- Choose terms and descriptions that are easily understood so you can remember what you tracked
- These parameters are hierarchical — how you set up the 4 values will result in how your data appears within the Marketing Reports as you drill down to view performance of marketing campaigns.
2) SET UP COREMETRICS MARKETING CHANNELS
By default and without any tagging required, Coremetrics will identify and assign direct traffic, referring site traffic, and natural search traffic into their respective channels. However, anything that gets tagged with cm_mmc tags needs to be actively assigned a channel.
You do this by navigating to Manage > Marketing Channels:
Clicking on this brings up the Channel Editor window, which lets you assign vendor values to a Marketing Channel:
Once you assign each of your vendors a marketing channel, you can view it in the Marketing Channels report at Reports > Marketing > Marketing Channels. The Marketing Channels report is a great way to get a birds eye view of all of your marketing channels — paid, organic, email, direct, etc — in one place.
You may have noticed that I put the Marketing Channel name in the first slot (the “vendor” slot) in my examples above. Strictly, this isn’t necessary as you could be more granular here and roll up your 1st slot values together into a marketing channel. For example, instead of using up the first slot to identify email, you could instead put your list name into that slot, and then categorize the lists into Marketing Channels from within the tool. This method obviously gives you an extra slot to play around with, but comes at a cost in terms of overhead and maintenance. Every time you change your vendor name, you also need to assign the new value in the tool. If instead you keep it simple and use a fixed value for the 1st slot name, you can set up your marketing channel rules once and then leave it alone. You will have to decide what makes sense for your organization.
One other thing to keep in mind is that each “vendor” can only have one marketing channel. So, you may run into problems if your social team uses the term “Facebook” in the first slot to track their posts, and then your paid search team uses “Facebook” in the first slot as they’re running paid ads in Facebook’s right rail. In that scenario, you’ll be unable to properly classify your marketing program since you can only choose one channel for “Facebook”. Again this is a reason I generally prefer using the first slot to identify the marketing medium rather than a particular vendor name.
How do you tag your marketing efforts? Is it hard or easy to keep your Marketing Channels rules up to date?