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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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25 Aug A look under the hood, Pt. 1: Code Composition

Task 1: Generate a Unique Tracking Code for New Campaign Initiatives This part looks easy on the surface, but it carries some hidden complexities. Generating a random string for every new initiative is surely no challenge for a computer, and robust tracking systems such as Adobe Analytics would have no difficulty marshalling all of those random codes on the reporting side. But very rarely will you see companies using that method. Companies generally come up with their own custom recipe for assembling tracking codes, which emerge as a daisy-chained string of descriptors, like these:
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23 Aug Manual data-sitting shortchanges you and your company

Too often, the analytics professionals you hired to provide insights and analysis end up spending their days plugging up holes and cleaning up spills. They came on board ready and willing to realize their potential and contribute to the success of the venture, and instead they’re doing work that manages to swing back and forth between tedious and frantic, and is anything but fulfilling. If they could spare a few minutes to look up from all the codes, they might wonder how they got stuck.
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18 Aug The Future Marketing Organization

Marketing OrgWhat is the optimal structure of the marketing organization of the future? That is the question I discussed today with a senior director for digital analytics at a Fortune 500 company. We agreed that the eventual answer is yet to be defined and could vary somewhat between large and small organizations. Even so, one thing is clear: the landscape is shifting quickly, with digital analyst roles proliferating and becoming increasingly specialized by channel. There is enormous variation in the new marketing structures currently taking shape, particularly in large marketing organizations.
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15 Aug Keeping the Trains running on time: A Case Study in Data Capture

Right at the end of the process of preparing its first campaign codes through Tracking First, Amtrak ran into a serious problem. The email pattern had been identified and selected with no issues, and the new codes and classifications followed suit. But when the landing page was entered for each of these email links, Tracking First’s interface lit up with errors. My phone rang, and the users asked me what they had done wrong.
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08 Aug This is not a job for humans

Manual Data EntryThe very last week that I worked as a web analyst for a Kansas City agency, a toxic email was thrown over the wall from the marketing side to ours. It was quickly passed like a hot potato until it landed in my lap. The ask: could we run a quick check on the campaign links they had prepared for a big release, just days away? The total number of links needing a “quick” check: 8,472.
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