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11 Oct Marketing and Analytics: What I’ve learned

Marketing analyticsI’ve worked in digital media and marketing for almost two decades -- but I’ve only been on the data side for a few months, since joining Tracking First. There’s an astonishing amount to absorb! As I’m going through it in real time, I’ve decided to write down my observations. It will be fun to check back in a couple of years, to see how my perspective continues to change. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
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05 Oct Marketing data and musical chairs

Musical chairsI’m guessing that it might have been some time since you last played musical chairs, but you remember how it works: count the number of kids, set that number of chairs, minus one, in a circle, range everyone around the chairs, and start the music. They move warily along the perimeter, sometimes hanging back, sometimes rushing forward, until the music stops. At that point there may be shrieking, jostling, possibly shoving, and then the dust settles: all the chairs are filled, and one dejected child is left standing.
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28 Sep Interview with our CEO, Pt. 2: the future of the Analyst role

I got a chance to sit down recently with our CEO, Craig Scribner, to ask him a few questions about his past work as an analyst and about the factors that prompted him to found Tracking First. Click here to read Part 1, about founding the company. JR: You've worked as an analyst for most of your career. How do you see the role of data analyst changing? CS: With an increasing number of tools like ours, I hope to see analytics folks move away from being data compliance gatekeepers and become core players who provide insight.
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22 Sep An interview with our CEO, Craig Scribner

SONY DSCWe are proud of our team here at Tracking First! Between us, we have decades of experience in digital media and digital analytics -- and we’re having a ton of fun trying to build a world of better data collection, for everyone. I got a chance to sit down this week with our CEO, Craig Scribner, to ask him about founding the company. It’s an interesting story. JR: Can you tell me a bit about what motivated you to start Tracking First?
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20 Sep Three reasons why digital ad campaigns fail, and what to do about it

SONY DSCI’ve worked in digital media for almost 20 years, with 15 of those years working for an online news publisher supported by advertising. I can tell you that 15 years of watching thousands of ad buys of all sizes and campaign launches of all types, and seeing the subsequent click results, gives you a sixth sense about which ad campaigns are going to generate a response and which will miss the mark entirely. Below are some of the typical traps that vendors fall into in their digital marketing. Almost without exception, these will make a campaign tank. If they seem obvious to you, take comfort that many other vendors are still repeating these mistakes. And rest assured: even though I know these truths in my bones, I still need to be reminded occasionally, too.
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08 Sep Ensuring a smooth data check-in at Hilton

hotel-guest-check-in-happy-desk-agent-handing-card-to-guestManually managing 20 separate campaign code spreadsheets, and manually testing links in batches of up to a hundred at a time -- that was how Hilton’s senior digital analyst was spending her days. In the process of each campaign rolling out, she devoted primary resources to ensuring the compliance of other team members: making sure each marketer and e-commerce manager understood the rules about who was meant to use which codes, and managing permissions and exceptions. These tasks were made more daunting because of the company’s complex code structure, leading to a cycle of training, manually checking links, and fixing mistakes (hopefully pre-launch).
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06 Sep A look under the hood, Pt. 4: Data Capture

Task 4: Ensure that Codes are being Captured Correctly The last task is the most important. Pristine codes, perfectly classified and placed within links, will never do anything if they are never received by the reporting system. A single typo in any URL will most likely send your link and its attendant tracking code into oblivion. But even a flawless link will not ensure capture. Think of it as the baton in a relay race; for the handoff to be successful, another runner must be waiting in the right place to receive it. That receiver is already in place wherever your analytics vendor’s machinery has been included. Unfortunately, the requirement to include this machinery (usually a Javascript library), is often forgotten when a marketing team creates a special landing page, or an agency creates a new microsite. The runner yells “Stick!” yet no outstretched hand receives the tracking code to take the victory lap home.
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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.
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29 Aug A look under the hood, Pt. 2: Code Classification

Task 2: Classify Codes According to your Own Organization’s Standards  Classifications assemble your tracking codes into channels, groups, families, etc. They let you report on the high-level successes, failures, or fall-out of your campaigns, without sacrificing your ability to monitor the individual initiatives when you need to.
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