Using Query Strings for Lead Information

 

Imagine you’re putting the finishing touches on a monthly report. It was a good reporting period – all of your traffic, leads, and interactions have improved! After spending several hours polishing your data, it is finally ready to send over to your client.

When your client responds, they have only one question:

“Can you show me the information from the leads that converted? I need to track the name and information in my system.”

Whether you work for an agency or are a business owner yourself, it can be difficult to determine who actually converted. Sure, we can tell you how they got to the site (PPC? SEO? Facebook maybe?), but Analytics and AdWords don’t capture the actual form submission.

Roadblocks can come in the form of third-party vendors who receive your lead information, a website development constraint like Iframes (forms hosted somewhere else than physically on your website), or form information feeding into a CRM system.  You may have to match the Google Analytics or AdWords conversion time and date to another system. This information could either be delayed or be a mismatch.

At some point, these flawed conversion tracking situations are common for digital marketers to encounter. The process is infuriating for both marketer and clients. It makes measuring your marketing campaign’s success foggy and destroys any attempt to make changes based on quality of the conversions.

While there are many situations that can block your lead information, if you do happen to have control over your website’s forms, there is a possibility you can track form information with a Redirect Query String.

For the purposes of this blog post, I will be referencing gravity forms (http://www.gravityforms.com/ ) a commonly used form plugin used with WordPress websites. Once installed and activated on the backend of your website, you can create a new form. Using the simple drag and drop functions, creating a form with the information you want to capture is easy.

  1. Once your form is created, hover over Form Settings and go to Confirmations.

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  1. Next, set up the redirect you want to happen after someone submits a form (in this case, a thank you page). When a user is redirected to the “Thank You” page, the query string that we are going to set up next will populate. *Note: this redirect page should be set up as a destination goal in Google Analytics. This way you can track the traffic that reached the “thank you” page with the populated URL string.

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  1. Next you will see an option “redirect query string” with a check box “Pass field data via a query string.” Check the box.

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  1. A new field will appear for you to enter your query strings. This field will merge the tags and the field number. This will become the information that actually pulls into your conversion URL.

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  1. When your query string is complete, you should begin to gather data in Google Analytics that will look something like this:

thank-you/?source=Other&fname=first&lname=last&email=email1@email.com&phone=(123)+456-7890

This information can be found in Google Analytics by going to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages and doing a filter for your “thank-you” page URL. If you want to filter by source type, add a secondary dimension for the source you need.

And there you have it. A URL with lead information you can send to your client. However, it looks really ugly. So we can take it to excel to clean it up. No one likes ugly reports.

Export your “thank-you” page URLs into excel. Highlight the cell that contains your URL and do a Find & Replace or CTRL + H. Enter a * and then add anything that comes before the first field of your URL.

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Hit Replace All. This should remove the URL from your lead information.

Next do a find replace for the first field and the equals sign, replace it with nothing.

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Next do the second URL field and replace with a comma (space).

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Continue replacing with comma (space) until you are done with your URL fields. You should have something like this.

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Finally, highlight the cell, click the data tab on top of excel and click the Text to Columns wizard.

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Hit the delimited option and choose comma as your delimiter.

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Hit next and finish the Text to Columns wizard. Your information should now be separated in different columns.

Fill in the names of your columns and you are now presented with a nice table to add into any kind of report document.

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Using Redirect Query URLs can be helpful in gathering information about leads that have come through your website. So the next time your client asks if they can see their lead information, consider if a query URL can be implemented into lead and/or contact forms on the website. They’ll be happy, and they can give you more insight about the quality of the leads which you can use to make more educated strategy adjustments.

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