Tracking: You Can’t Improve Performance Without It

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Running is my new thing. I’ve tried being a runner a few times in the past, but never stuck with it. You see, I’m a results girl and the only way I’d know exactly how fast or far I was going was to run inside on the treadmill, which gets old fast. This time I’m using the RunKeeper App on my iPhone, and I’m loving it! I know exactly how I’m doing on each run, and that motivates me to make changes and improve.  It’s kind of like… oh, I don’t know… tracking your PPC campaigns?tracking cant improve performance without

Now that you’re done rolling your eyes, bear with me while I explain.

Some past Capterra customers have tried PPC (for about as long as I had stuck with running in my previous attempts), and after several months of testing, they’d cancel with an excuse like, “it isn’t working for me”

But for those who weren’t tracking, how did they know? They didn’t. It’s like guessing how far you’ve run without a watch or mile markers.

Tracking is how you monitor the effectiveness of a campaign and landing page. It allows you to see what visitors do on your site and the quality of traffic generated by a specific campaign.

Unless you have money to waste, don’t do PPC without tracking! (and if you have money to waste, send some my way—I could really use some new shoes.)

There are a couple of ways to track: tagged URLs and cookies.

How to tag a URL?

When you set up a campaign with Capterra, you choose a landing page to direct all your traffic from that campaign. When you input the landing page URL in Capterra, you can add a tag like “?source=Capterra” to the end. That way, your analytics system will be able to determine when someone who filled out your lead form came from Capterra. URL tagging can be applied to any PPC channel you are using.

Oreos, Nilla Wafers, and Thin Mints

Cookies are an easy way to keep track of someone who leaves the tagged landing page and goes elsewhere on your site. It’s also how you know exactly which leads came from a certain campaign.  A cookie is a small text file that sits on a web visitor’s computer. If you use cookies, they will automatically be assigned to each new visitor when they come to your website, and they will then follow where the user is going on your site. If that sounds complex to you (it kind of does to me), just ask your tech team to do it for you. I hear it takes less than half an hour to set up.

Without cookies, you won’t be able to find out whether a specific lead converted into a sale, which means you won’t know the value of leads you’re generating. In turn, that means you won’t know if a campaign is worth the money you’re spending on it.  And you can be confident when you say “it isn’t working for me.”

Once you’ve started tracking, you’ll want to watch conversion rates. It’s like distance/pace; it tells how you’re doing and whether or not you’re improving.

Conversion Rate: percentage of click traffic to your website that converts to a lead

Once you’ve started URL tracking and have cookies in place, then you can figure out your conversion rate.  The industry average is 2-5%, and (not to toot our own horn, but ‘toot toot!’) Capterra’s average conversion rate is 5-8%. What’s really important, though, is how much a lead is worth to you and whether you’re getting a positive return on a campaign.

Capterra’s Conversion Tracking Code

When it comes to your Capterra PPC campaign, there’s a free tracking code you can install. It’s a snippet of Java Script that your tech team can place on your success pages (those are the “Thank You” pages that pop up after a prospect has filled out a form) to let you know how many of your leads came from Capterra. Once that’s installed, we can monitor your campaign alongside you and help you assess what’s working and what isn’t.

Your Street Team

The running app I use connects me with friends who can see how things are going with my runs. They’re called my “Street Team”. Think of your Capterra Marketing Advisor as your own personal Street Team. They can help you with everything from tagging URLs to tweaking your landing pages and installing conversion tracking. Don’t forget to use them as a resource—they would love nothing more than to see you succeed and stay on “track!”

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About the Author


Besa Pinchotti

Besa Pinchotti is Marketing Director at Capterra. By day, she helps connect buyers and sellers of business software. By night, she uses her skills as a former journalist to tell the stories of troubled software buyers so the world can learn from their lessons.


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