01 Sep A look under the hood, Pt. 3: Link Assembly
Task 3: Embed the Tracking Code within Landing Page Links
Tracking codes are typically appended to landing pages in the query-string parameter section of the URL. Any time you click on a sponsored ad anywhere on the internet, you’ll see not just your destination’s domain in the URL, but usually a question mark, and a long, unintelligible character string. Somewhere in that morass you’ll find the tracking code, but its placement is something that companies configure independently of one another.
Say you choose the wrong external campaign parameter for your client. For instance, suppose your particular website is looking for tracking codes signalled with the parameter “csref”, but you tagged all 8,472 links with the parameter “src” (true story). In this case, the campaign visitors will work their way into and across your site without ever having their visit data attributed to the campaign that brought them.
But again, the point is not that “csref” is right and “src” is wrong—it all depends upon the configurations made by each individual analytics client. Just like we said for Tasks #1 and #2: the only rule is that you abide by your own company’s standards. And once you set down your company’s chosen parameter for a specific report or pattern, Tracking First will dutifully assemble the tracking code for each and every future link the same way.
[Editor’s note: This is part three of an in-depth look at the four essential tasks teams must implement consistently for accurate campaign tracking. Click here for Part 1, Code Composition, here for Part 2, Code Classification, here for Part 4, Data Capture]