No matter what marketing strategy you are employing this year, it's incredibly important that you set up tracking to ensure you wind up with the best results possible. It's definitely not the most exciting aspect of marketing, but here at Digistorm, we'd argue it's vital. It stops you from wasting your marketing budget because you can easily see when something isn't working. It also helps you to funnel your resources into the activities that are having the most impact.

There are a number of digital marketing tracking tools available to schools. In this post, we'll run you through three of the most popular and provide a quick overview of how to get started with each.

1. Track your marketing channels UTM codes 

Google Analytics is the most popular free tool for monitoring your school website’s performance. We cover the basics of Google Analytics in our post, Why School Marketers Need to Understand Google Analytics — check it out! But did you know that Google offers a tool that helps you add tracking to individual links? 

Google’s Campaign URL Builder tool allows you to add custom tracking to a link from your website, and feed that tracking information back into your Google Analytics. This helps you to understand which marketing campaigns are driving traffic to a specific page so that you can compare them and see the campaigns that performed the best. These tracking links are known as UTM (universal tracking metric) codes.

For example, if you are promoting an event for your school using Facebook, Instagram, email marketing, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, you can differentiate the traffic that arrives on your landing page to gauge the ROI of each.

How to get started with Google's Campaign URL Builder

This one's pretty easy and will only take seconds to set up! You will need to open the URL builder and fill out the required fields with the relevant information for your campaign. The first two fields are mandatory, and the remainder can help you to further filter through your data. The fields are:

  • Website URL: the link that you’ll be sending traffic to (e.g. 
  • Campaign Source: the digital channel you’re using to advertise (e.g. Facebook)
  • Campaign Medium: the general marketing medium you're using to advertise (e.g. social)
  • Campaign Name: if this link is part of a digital marketing campaign, add a campaign name (e.g. early bird)
  • Campaign Term: add a specific keyword to your tracking, particularly if it's a paid search campaign
  • Campaign Content: differentiate between two versions of an ad or two links on the same page.

Once you've completed all of the fields, you will generate a campaign URL that you can use for your marketing efforts. Using the example above, our URL is transformed into

If you’re using the link in a public-facing area, such as on social media, you can click the Convert URL to Short Link button to make it look tidier.

2. Track user behavior using a tracking pixel

The second way that you can track your digital marketing is by using a pixel (otherwise known as a 'floodlight tag'). A pixel is a small piece of code that's placed on your website to track users after they view or click on an ad or email. Tracking pixels automatically collect user information, such as:

  • the user's operating system (OS) and device
  • what time they viewed or clicked on the ad or email
  • the type of email provider, social media platform, or website they viewed the ad on
  • their IP address. 

You can configure pixels to collect specific user behavior that is valuable to your business. This might include behavior such as completing a form, watching a video, or placing an online order. You will need to configure separate pixels for each new behavior activity that you want to track.

How to get started with tracking pixels on your website

Tracking pixels can be configured within your advertising platform, and then you can provide your developer with the code to implement on your website. When configuring a pixel, you will usually need to specify an 'attribution window'. This means the amount of time that you are willing to allow between when a user has viewed your ad and when they perform the desired behavior. For example, if your attribution window is 30 days, a viewer who places an order 31 days after seeing your ad will not have their purchase attributed to that advertisement. 

The two most common types of tracking pixels are:

  • Remarketing: used to show your ads to users who have visited your website previously. You've probably experienced remarketing after visiting an eCommerce site, such as Amazon, if you've placed items into your cart and failed to check out.
  • Conversion: this tracks the number of users who complete the desired action on your website.

Wrapping it up

Both UTM codes and tracking pixels can come in handy when you're measuring your digital marketing efforts. It all depends on what you are trying to measure.

If you want to find out which marketing channels are driving traffic to your landing pages or specific website pages, use UTM codes. If you are looking to track your users' behavior on your website after they view one of your ads, use tracking pixels. If you are looking to measure both, use a combination of the two!

Have you used UTM codes or tracking pixels to measure your digital marketing? How did it work out for you? Contact the Digistorm marketing team and let us know — we'd love to hear from you!

Published June 9 2020