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First, Last and Multi Touch attribution for UTM parameters and auto tagging emails

Level 6

Working with cross-channel marketing, where you have a lot of different entry points to your landing pages, it’s a good idea to keep track of which sources, campaigns, content variants and more are generating traffic and which are converting on your content.

One thing I noticed is that it can get quite messy to keep track of touch points, traffic sources and much more in a manner that doesn’t for example require exploring an activity log for an interesting lead, going through interesting moments for an individual, or sifting through the Opportunity Influence Analyzer (great report but requires manual follow-up).

Grabbing UTM Parameters in hidden form fields

This one is a pretty well-known tactic that allows you to autofill a chosen field with a value from any parameter in the query string of your URL, it will be key to set up for the following parts and more information can be found here: Set a Hidden Form Field Value - Marketo Docs - Product Docs

Preparing Marketo for tracking five different UTM Parameters

The normal uses of UTM parameters are Campaign, Content, Medium, Source and Term. More information on these and their uses can be found on Google’s URL builder: Campaign URL Builder — Google Analytics Demos & Tools

The first step would be to create a custom field for each of these parameters in order to allow for getting the data into Marketo when a lead converts on a form. If they came in to your website through a sponsored ad, you should know what source, medium, campaign and content drove this conversion. I would recommend using a naming convention for your custom fields so as to not get them lost/forgotten or mixed up with your fields that came out of the box, more on that here.

Now instead of only tracking a lead’s last touch on a UTM parameter, I would recommend creating corresponding First and Multi-touch fields to be able to track the first touch value a lead had when converting, the last one and a log of all values (this proves to be important in the next step), looking something like this:

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We use the prefix AMI for Avaus Marketing Innovations, you should decide how you want to name/structure your field names.

Setting up forms and a smart campaign for assigning values across fields

Once these fields are in place you should make sure to set them as hidden fields in all your forms. The ones that are needed for this are the Last Touch fields, as a form conversion will always be the last touch and a smart campaign will be used for assigning values to the first and multi-touch fields.

Form setup

Add all the LT fields into your form as field type Hidden, configure autofill settings for each field for the corresponding UTM parameter. From my example above, the field AMI_LT_Source would be configured with the parameter utm_source, like this:

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To make this process easier it would save you time and make everything more scalable to use global forms for your different form types (content, event, newsletter sign-up, contact, etc), which you can read more about here.

Smart Campaign setup

You will need a Smart Campaign to assign values to your First and Multi-touch fields. In order to avoid an excess of Data Value changes triggers, this can be done with 5 Smart Campaigns (one for each utm_parameter).

Trigger:

Data Value changes – LT field (the one used in your form) as well as a Lead is created trigger with the filter for the same field not being empty (since most times a data values changing from null to a first value does not trigger a data value change).

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Flow:

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1. If the FT field is empty, it will be populated with the LT field value, otherwise nothing will happen.

2. a) If the MT field is empty it will be populated with the System Date/time and the FT value. The system token here could get unnecessary and make the MT field quite long so it’s all up to the person making it.

2. b) If the MT field is not empty it will add the LT field first and concatenate the MT field after with a divider:

{{system.dateTime}} {{lead.AMI_LT_source}} | {{lead.AMI_MT_source}}

The Multi-touch field is great if you have a lot of touch points that leads run through and it can give a good overview that can be used in alerts.

Note: There are a few different ways of making this setup, if this does not work for you I would suggest setting up a separate smart campaign for when leads are created with a wait step and to assign values to first touch fields. Also you could optimize this by only listening for data value changes in the most common parameter/or form fills with filters and requesting other campaigns for the other fields. I will not cover this here because it requires a complex structure that is in most cases unique to your setup.

For more information on load balancing and slowdowns in instances, Josh Hill covered the topic in a well-written post here: Load Balancing in Marketo and Marketing Automation - Marketing Rockstar Guides

Auto tagging your emails with predefined UTM parameters

Now assuming you have a tagging strategy in place with naming conventions for Internal banners/CTAs on your website, Retargeting, Paid Social, Organic Social, AdWords, + more.

To give a holistic tracking for all your emails in Marketo (including Newsletters, Snippets, Nurturing, Events), you would want to ensure that these assets get tagged and are tracked both in Marketo on conversion but also in Google Analytics.

For this you would need both a set naming convention for your Marketo programs and to make some changes to your email templates.

Setting up local variables in your templates:

<meta class=”mktoString” id=”link-variable” mktoName=”URL” default=”#” mktoModuleScope=”true”>

<meta class=”mktoString” id=”utm-tag” mktoName=”UTM” default=”?utm_source=mkto&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign={{program.Name}}” mktoModuleScope=”true”>

Adding the variables to each module/link:

<a href=”${link-variable}${utm-tag}”>

Note: At the moment of posting, variables are not supported in text versions of emails and should be edited separately (for links) or removed (for parameters) in text versions. I have covered this in a separate post which can be found here: Email 2.0 Hack - UTM Parameters as local variables

This has definitely proven to be a good use-case when there are a lot of Marketers using the same instance, some work with only Newsletters, some with Content, others with Events.

Having the tagging in place with utm_campaign (or whichever you wish to use) with the default value {{program.Name}} gives you insights as to which programs are generating traffic to your website and is especially useful when you have goals setup in Google Analytics and even more interesting with E-commerce where you can track the exact revenue generated in your webshop from different Marketo programs.

Other uses for Multi-touch fields

Using a trigger for Program Status changed with Success = True:

You can use a LT field for populating the program name with a trigger token {{trigger.Name}}, then having a second flowstep for adding this to a MT log of program successes to see which programs a lead has converted on.

Creating a content download log:

Having two fields e.g. “Last Downloaded Content” and “Content Download History”, where the former is used in your program templates for downloadable content in a Change Data Value flowstep by default on conversion, “Downloaded {{my.Content Name}} on {{system.date}}”, and concatenating this value on the latter field. This creates a great log for lead alerts.

Hope this will help anyone who has the need to set up something similar

For more tips and tricks, feel free to check out more here

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61 Comments
Level 8

UTM Code Tracking and Reporting for Third Parties

Just wrote this up.  Fairly basic process, but it solves my needs.

Anonymous
Not applicable

We've always used a similar approach, but retained the Marketo default Lead Source. I am curious if you're able to modify RCE reports so that one of these custom fields could be used instead? I know the system is a bit harsh on customization in that regard, and I like to see FT Lead Source in my channel reports

Level 8

You could use First Touch UTM codes and Last Touch as well if you wanted, that's something we've been toying around with but we're too early in the adoption stage to commit that much database.

Level 2

Hi Erik,

Thanks for writing this up! I have one question: should the programs be set to allow each person through once or every time? In our implementation this has caused a little bit of confusion.

Thanks!

Hi Adam,

Campaigns for First Touch would usually be run once, but having these in the same campaign would mean changing the schedule to every time.

/Erik

Level 2

Thanks for clearing that up for me. When I have the schedule set to every time I am seeing duplication of the same touch in some of my multi touch fields. Looking at the log on a specific person it looks like each person is being run through the program twice per touch. This seems to be alright for campaign, term, and content because no more data is recorded as the log says "Skipped choice has one or more invalid tokens". However, source and medium are duplicating the data in the multi touch fields, so each touch is added in twice. I am not sure how to troubleshoot this, is this something you have run into before? utm_duplication.JPG

Thanks!

No problem. I see, do you have a separate campaign for each parameter (source, medium, etc..)?

From the look of it, if your mt_utm_term is changing to only a datestamp, you either:
1) Have all of your fields within one campaign

2) You don't have a filter applied for "FieldName is not empty"

I can't answer this directly if I don't have an exact view of how you set this up.

Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Adam raises a potential issue here.  Not sure if this is what's causing his issue, but here goes:

Lead converts on Marketo form using source URL:

page.com?utm_campaign=cloud&utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social

All three parameters are processed as explained in this thread.

A month later, the lead converts again - this time with the source URL:

page.com?utm_campaign=digital-workplace (note that this is the only UTM parameter here.

Since there are existing values for the utm_source and utm_medium in the person's lead record, the history field - which is built by concatenating a date token and the three utm tokens (last touch) - will contain all three parameters (which is not accurate).  So the challenge is, how to maintain an accurate "UTM history" field when all five UTM parameters aren't being used?

We have a smart campaign for each:

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Each smart campaign looks like this (the "Campaign" smart campaign includes a third flow step (UTM history) - since there will always be a UTM_campaign value):

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The UTM History field is built like this:

{{system.datetime}}: CAMPAIGN = {{lead.Avanade UTM Campaign}}, SOURCE = {{lead.Avanade UTM Source}}, MEDIUM = {{lead.Avanade UTM Medium}}, TERM = {{lead.Avanade UTM Term}}, CONTENT = {{lead.Avanade UTM Content}}{{my.line-break}}{{lead.Avanade UTM History}}

That is a great point Dan, so you're adding a new array every time they run through this with all the values to ensure it tracks all parameters at this point of conversion.

Regarding Adam's issue I am pretty sure this may be due to filtering as I mentioned before but can't say with complete certainty.

Level 10 - Champion Alumni

After doing some testing, the way around this is to place "NULL" in the "Default Value" field.  This will then change the prior value (for the LT and MT/history fields) to NULL, overwriting their prior values.

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