Most businesses struggle to establish digital marketing activities lead to actual growth and increased revenue. According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2018 report, which is based on feedback from thousands of marketers around the world, ‘proving the ROI of our marketing activities’ remains one of the key issues faced by marketers, with even more established teams having trouble directly linking the true benefit of their work.

Are you having trouble measuring the ROI of your digital activities? If so, then this post is for you – here’s a listing of tried and true ways to more accurately measure the performance of your online campaign efforts.


1. Use tracking URLs for all your digital campaigns

In order to ensure you have a clear understanding of your campaign performance, you need to start using tracking URLs for all your digital marketing campaigns.
Tracking parameters can be added to any URL used for digital marketing campaigns – for example, if you run a Facebook campaign and you send traffic to a specific landing page, instead of using the plain landing page URL, you can ad tracking parameters to this URL which can then passed on to your tracking system, such as a CRM. These metrics will be submitted to your system every time someone clicks on your link.

The most widely used URL tracking system is UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) which includes five variants of URL parameters used by marketers to track the success of online marketing campaigns across traffic sources and publishing media.

The five UTM tracking parameter variants are:

  • UTM Campaign Source (example: Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Newsletter…)
  • UTM Campaign Source Campaign Medium (example: cpc, banner, email…)
  • UTM Campaign Source Campaign Name: (example: product, promo code, or slogan (e.g. spring_sale))
  • UTM Campaign Source Campaign Term: (Identify the paid keywords)
  • UTM Campaign Source Campaign Content: (Use to differentiate ads)

Google has developed a very easy to use tool to add those tracking parameters to your campaign URL.

Example of URL using tracking parameters

Example of a plain URL:

Example of URL with tracking parameters:


2. Configure your forms to capture lead sources

Many CRMs have a form builder where you can define the fields and the style of the forms. You can then take the form code and add it to your website – this ensures that a contact record is created or updated within your CRM whenever a form is submitted. Certain CRM forms pick up the tracking parameters from your tracking URLs and store these in the contact record. I’m not a fan of using CRM forms because you can easily run into styling issues, and if you want to change your CRM at some point, you need to exchange the forms too.

A much better way of integrating forms with your CRM is using Gravity Forms for your website. Capturing lead source parameters from your tracking URLs is very easy with Gravity Forms – you can use this easy to configure Gravity Forms add-on to capture campaign information.

This will enable you to easily add hidden form fields to your forms, which then capture those campaign tracking parameters. Basically, the UTM parameters you add to your campaign URL are stored in those hidden fields.


3. Passing form data to your CRM

Now that you’ve set up your gravity forms on your website with the campaign lead source add-on feature, it’s time to think about how the form data is passed to your CRM. In simple terms, when someone submits a web form, a new contact is created or updated in your CRM, and the lead source information (UTM parameters) will be stored in a custom field.
To achieve this you can use Zapier which is a tool that enables you to connect and integrate various platforms. Gravity forms have an easy to install Zapier add-on, through which you can connect your captured information to your CRM. When you set up your ZAP, you can map out and match form fields with CRM contact record fields – if there’s no field in your CRM for one of the fields, you can go ahead and create a custom field for the same. Now that you’ve installed and connected your forms with your CRM, each time a form is submitted, a contact is created or updated in your system.


4. Implement phone tracking

Provided you display a phone number on your campaign landing pages, naturally, you’ll also have prospects calling you instead of filling out a web form.
There are options to use third-party phone tracking integrations to automate lead source tracking from phone calls using Zapier, you can set up a Zap that automatically creates or updates a contact record in your CRM. The major benefit of this installation is that the phone tracking system, such as CallRail, will also pass on the lead source to your CRM. For example, you run a Facebook campaign which sends prospects to a landing page containing a tracking phone number. Because you used a tracking URL for your campaign, the phone tracking system is able to pick up the lead source when someone calls the tracking number.

Phone tracking can be quite expensive, because generally you’ll be charged a monthly fee for tracking numbers, with additional charges for each phone call you receive on these numbers. Depending on available funds, and the size of your business, this might be the right option to look at.

If you don’t have the means to integrate phone tracking right away, you should put a process in place with your sales reps in order to capture the lead source manually. If you’re using coupon codes for a specific campaign it’s reasonably straight-forward to assign the coupon code to a particular lead source. In other cases, you’ll have to make it mandatory for each sales rep to ask how the prospect has heard about your company – it could be defined as KPI to record the lead source for every contact created in the CRM. Additionally you can set up automated reminders or tasks in the CRM should the lead source not be recorded for a contact record within a defined period after adding the contact to the CRM.


5. Define expenses for your lead sources in your CRM

If you’re using a good CRM, it’ll enable you to define expenses for each lead source. You should be able to define a date range for when your expenses were incurred, and whether it’s a monthly recurring expense or a one-time expense. 


6. Processing orders through your CRM

Whenever you sell a product or a service, you need to register the sale in your CRM. Ecommerce websites can be integrated with a CRM so that orders are registered automatically when someone buys something online, however offline purchases have to be manually processed in your system.

Measure ROI by lead source

So now that you’ve followed the above steps, you’re able to measure ROI, and produce meaningful reports. Depending on your CRM, you’ll likely have predefined marketing reports you can generate at the click of a button – you should be able to produce a lead source report for a specified period which breaks down the report by each individual lead source, and one that groups lead sources into defined categories or digital channels.

Example of individual lead source ROI report:

Example of lead source ROI by category report:

Integrating a lead source tracking system can be a challenge, and if you don’t know how to go about it yourself, it’s best to speak to a digital strategy consultant that specializes in CRM integration. But the benefits can be significant – the system outlined in this post will not only enable you to accurately measure and determine ROI from individual campaigns and digital marketing channels, but you’ll also be in a position to make more informed, strategic financial and marketing decisions.


About the Author
Ramiz Al Jalbani

Ramiz is a content writer and a supply chain professional focused on IT and Trading. He has a wide experience of using the new and latest technology to trade businesses. A true Middle Eastern and South Asian Market insider, Ramiz shares his thoughts and opinions in the form of weekly essays that you can subscribe to via subscribing to blog of Ava IT Solutions or email. He has written numerous essays, articles and blogs which have been featured and quoted in different journals around the globe. The topics range from Digital Marketing, Social Media Trends, Technology Trends and Integration of Business Processes to IT.

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