The Definitive Guide to Tracking UTM Parameters in Salesforce: Part II

In this blog series, we are tackling UTM Parameters including the why and the how of tracking them in Salesforce. Part 2 of this blog series provides an overview of the different out-of-the-box methods for tracking UTM Parameters in Salesforce and the gaps left by those native methods.

Missed the first part of the series? Check out Part 1 and learn about UTM Parameters and why your organization should track them in Salesforce.

How to track UTM Parameters in Salesforce

How you pull this data into Salesforce will depend on how the data is being pushed to your Marketing Automation platform (MAP). Some MAPs have the native ability to grab the parameter from the URL string and populate a hidden field on the form, and subsequently push that data to the corresponding Lead/Contact record in the system or in some cases (Eloqua) even the corresponding Campaign Member in the system. With other MAPs you may have to put some javascript on your landing page to grab the parameters and push the data into hidden fields on your form.

Once the data is in your MAP, you can then push the data to Salesforce either through the native Lead/Contact sync, or for those platforms that can write to the Campaign Member object, directly to the Campaign Member. Depending on whether this data lives on your Lead/Contact or Campaign Member will depend on how this data gets associated to Opportunities:

Direct to Campaign Member

 

Some MAPs, such as Eloqua, will allow you to post data from a form fill to a custom data object and have that custom data object integrate with the Campaign Member object in Salesforce. Once the data is in Salesforce, you can then run standard Salesforce ROI and Campaign Influence reports to better understand the sources, mediums, search terms, etc. that are turning prospects into customers.

 

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Sample ROI Report using utm_source

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Sample Campaign Influence Report using utm_medium

Direct to Lead/Contact

Many MAPs do not allow for direct access to custom Campaign Member fields. In order to track UTM parameters in these environments, you can write the data directly to Lead/Contact fields. The question you will want to ask yourself then becomes, if a Lead/Contact responds to multiple Campaigns, will I overwrite the utm fields on the Lead/Contact or keep the original? Some organizations may choose to have 2 fields for each parameter, an original and a most recent in order to track multiple engagements.

The fields on the Lead/Contact can then be mapped to the Opportunity when created, to better understand ROI. Influence is a bit trickier in this scenario since there is no one-to-many relationship between Opportunities and Campaign responses like the Direct to Campaign Member option. By having both original and most recent UTM parameter values, you can track the amount of revenue your lead generation Campaigns have generated as well as the amount of revenue your last touch before Opportunity Creation generated. Keep in mind that both of these examples are attributing the entire Opportunity amount to each Original/Most Recent UTM parameter.

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Sample Opportunities Report showing Revenue Generated based on original utm_medium

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Sample Opportunities Report showing revenue generated based on most recent (last touch) utm_medium

Gaps with these Native Methods

The standard ROI, Campaign Influence, and Opportunity reports available in Salesforce leave marketers with a few key data gaps:

Multi-Touch Attribution

Campaign ROI Reports (using the “Direct to Campaign Member” method) are driven off the “Primary Campaign Source” field. The “Primary Campaign Source” by default is the last touch prior to Opportunity Creation (if, and only if, the Opportunity was created by Lead conversion OR directly from the Contact). This method discounts the value other Campaigns the Lead/Contact may have engaged with as well as other related influencers on the Opportunity. When it comes to tracking UTM Parameter data in ROI reports, only the UTM parameters associated with the Campaign Member of the “Primary Campaign Source” are given attribution credit.

Opportunity Reports (using the “Direct to Lead/Contact” method) are able to pull in UTM Parameter data from the Lead/Contact if the Opportunity is created on conversion or if the Opportunity was created off the Contact, but these data points are usually just the original source or the most recent source, so these reports miss all the touches in between. Not to mention it’s only pulling the data from the originating Contact, so we miss all the touches related to other influencers on the Opportunity.

Campaign Influence Reports (using the “Direct to Campaign Member” method), unlike ROI and Opportunity reports, can provide marketers with a multi-touch solution in that any Campaign Member created during the influence timeframe related to a Contact on the Opportunity can be considered influential. However, there isn’t a way to split out the revenue across all the related touches. Instead the Total Opportunity Amount is attributed to each touch, bloating the actual revenue amount that marketing has influenced. In order to track UTM Parameter data in these reports, your MAP must also allow for direct access to custom Campaign Member fields. These limitations make assigning attribution to Campaigns unreliable, and thus make it more difficult for marketers to predict performance and allocate budget accordingly.

In summary, the out-of-the-box methods can provide marketers with a high-level view of the Campaigns that are driving revenue, but more advanced analytics require a more robust solution.

Data Overwrites

Using the Direct to Lead/Contact method, the UTM parameter data in the “most recent” fields can get overwritten as the Lead/Contact engages with more Campaigns. While this method can give marketers a good snapshot of the Campaigns that generated the Lead and the most recent interaction, data is lost on all the touches in between.

Process Misalignment

All of these methods assume that your sales team follows a strict process of only creating Opportunities during Lead conversion or off an existing Contact. Creating Opportunities off the Account, cloning an existing Opportunity, or creating an Opportunity through Quick Create, will leave you without any attribution. If your sales team isn’t aligned with your marketing team in agreeing on the importance of creating Opportunities off Leads/Contacts, your marketing team will be left with gaps in attribution.

 

Want to learn about a more robust solution? Check out Part 3 and learn how Full Circle’s customers track UTM Parameters in Salesforce.

Alison Rouse

About Alison Rouse

Alison is a Sr. Business Analyst on Full Circle's Customer Success team. She is a seasoned marketing strategist that guides our customers to create predictable revenue through the union of technology and process by implementing, customizing, and optimizing their use of Full Circle products. Prior to joining Full Circle, Alison worked with many enterprise companies, running their CRM and marketing automation systems, most recently as the Director of Strategic Services at B2B marketing agency, Yesler.