Call to Action (CTA) Tracking¶
This section describes the inner workings of CampaignChain’s Call to Action Tracking. The provided information is useful for anyone developing Operation modules with CampaignChain or for those configuring third-party channels to work with CampaignChain.
What is a CTA?¶
In web design, a CTA is a banner, button, or some type of graphic or text on a website meant to prompt a user to click it and continue down a conversion funnel. It is an essential part of inbound marketing as well as permission marketing in that it actively strives to convert a user into a lead and later into a customer.
In CampaignChain, a CTA is essentially a URL that appears in a HTML href link or form action. It appears within an Operation and each Operation can contain 0 to many CTAs. For example, a tweet could include various links that CampaignChain treats as CTAs, while a Google Ad would contain only 1 link as the CTA.
CampaignChain leverages two types of IDs for its CTA tracking:
- CTA Tracking ID: Each CTA has a unique ID assigned by CampaignChain per URL that is included in an Operation. If you read about just the Tracking ID in the documentation, then it’s referring to the CTA Tracking ID.
- Channel Tracking ID: For each Channel that has been connected with CampaignChain, a unique ID will be generated. This ID must be provided in the tracking code that is being included in a Channel. When the tracking code is activated, CampaignChain checks whether the provided Channel Tracking ID exists and whether the tracking code has been executed from a URL that actually resides within the Channel.
To make CTA tracking work, a Channel that is connected with CampaignChain provides the relevant information to CampaignChain for tracking the CTA path that is part of a conversion funnel.
From a 30,000-feet perspective, this is how the tracking process works:
- A link or form inside an Operation acts as the initial CTA at the beginning of a marketing funnel. The initial CTA contains a unique Tracking ID which allows CampaignChain to trace back the link to the respective Actions and Media (Campaign, Activity, Operation, Location, etc.). For example, a Twitter post that links to a landing page within a website.
- All subsequent Locations inside a connected Channel ping CampaignChain and let it know through the Tracking ID that the respective Location was referred by a CTA.
In-depth Flow Description¶
The single steps of the CTA tracking process are as follows:
1. The Operation’s content gets parsed for links right before execution.
2. If the Operation contains 1 or more links, the following happens:
2.1. A unique Tracking ID gets assigned to each URL, no matter if an Operation contains the same URLs multiple times.
An Operation could well contain the same URL multiple times, For example, a banner image on a landing page could point to the same URL in its key visual as well as a button that is part of the banner. When analyzing the effectiveness of the banner image, you want to know whether the key visual or the button caused more clicks. That’s why each of them gets treated as a unique CTA with its own Tracking ID, although they have the same URL.
2.2. The Tracking ID gets appended to the URLs found inside the Operation.
2.2.1. If it is a full URL, then append the Tracking ID and replace the original URL with a shortened URL (CampaignChain uses Bit.ly by default).
2.2.2. If the URL is already shortened, expand it, append the Tracking ID and replace the original shortened URL with a new shortened URL.
2.3. For each link, an entry is made in the CTA table with the Tracking ID and the related Operation as well as the original URL (full and short, if the latter was provided).
3. CampaignChain executes the Operation that now contains the new short URLs with the Tracking ID, e.g. it publishes a status update on Twitter that contains a link to a landing page.
4. When someone activates a CTA, e.g. clicks a link in a Tweet published by CampaignChain, the URL points to a Location. If that Location is part of a Channel that includes the tracking code and is connected with CampaignChain, then the following happens:
4.1. The tracking code checks whether the URL that pointed to the current page includes the Tracking ID. If yes, then it proceeds. If not, then it exits.
4.2. If the Tracking ID exists, the Tracking code sends this information to CampaignChain: Channel Tracking ID, CTA Tracking ID, URL of current Location, URL of target Location and additional information useful for monitoring.
4.3. CampaignChain checks whether the Channel Tracking ID is valid, i.e. if the Channel sending the tracking data is actually connected with CampaignChain.
4.3.1. If yes, then it performs some validity checks on the data, most notably whether the Tracking ID exists within CampaignChain, and finally saves the tracking data for monitoring purposes.
4.3.2. If no, then it will not save the data and instead notify the admin of an error (most likely, the Tracking Code has been included in a Channel that has not been connected with CampaignChain yet or this is a Denial of Service attack).
4.4. While CampaignChain processes the tracking data, the tracking code in the Channel appends the Tracking ID to the target URL (if another one does not exist yet, because the target URL is part of a new Operation) or saves it in a cookie. It then redirects the visitor to the target Location.
Passing on the Tracking ID enables CampaignChain to do two things:
- Understand, whether e.g. the visitor browses a website away from a landing page before coming back to it and activating a CTA that leads to another Operation.
- Track the effectiveness of Operations across Channels.
Types of Tracking¶
To track CTAs, different types of tracking are used with CampaignChain to monitor the inbound marketing funnel.
- Integration level: Useful if CTA is under control, but not the Channel.
- Example: We can add a Tracking ID to a link that will be published on Twitter, but we cannot install something on Twitter to establish a connection between Twitter and CampaignChain to exchange information.
- Tracking ID: The Tracking ID must be included in the CTA. It is important, because it helps to distinguish between Campaigns and Activities if e.g. the same Landing Page is being used as a CTA target within the same Campaign various times or in different campaigns.
- Pros: Simple to implement by adding the Tracking ID to the URL of the CTA.
- Cons: Ideally, CampaignChain would be in control of the Operation (e.g. posting to Twitter from within CampaignChain). If not possible, then a user would have to manually append the Tracking ID.
- Integration level: The channel sends information about the Operation, Location and CTA to CampaignChain.
- Tracking ID: At least the Tracking ID of the initial CTA should be available. Then CampaignChain is able to match the CTA’s URL provided by the Channel with the Campaign and Activity it belongs to. Information about the source and target Location is also provided by the Channel for CampaignChain to easily map the related URLs to the Locations inside CampaignChain.
- Pros: This approach has the security advantage that the third-party application is in control of the communication towards CampaignChain.
- Cons: There must be a mechanism inside the Channel that ensures that at least the Tracking ID of the initial CTA is being carried on to the target Location.
- Integration level: CampaignChain and the Channel are tightly integrated when it comes to creating Operations and Locations, thus providing maximum communication between the two when it comes to CTA tracking.
- Tracking ID: CampaignChain can pass all Tracking IDs for the CTAs in a Location to the Channel to be appended to each respective URL inside a Location for more granular tracking.
- Pros: The tighter coupling allows for more granular tracking, i.e. it is possible for CampaignChain to identify not just a Location, but also the Operation that includes a triggered CTA. Also, this approach has the performance advantage that the Channel as well as CampaignChain can handle the tracking more efficiently, because both are aware of all relevant information.
- Cons: Creating the tighter integration requires a higher investment in terms of time and money.