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Gaining more intelligence from paid search clicks through URL tagging

If you are using paid search you might be interested to know that there is a relatively easy way to get more information about each click on your ads. This is accomplished by tagging your destination URLs with parameters that trigger Google or Bing to send you additional data about each click. Let’s start with a discussion of ads and URLs. When you create an ad in Google AdWords or Bing Search Advertising, you have two places where you can set the URLs to be used for the ad. The first, called ‘Display URL’ is the URL that web visitors will see in your ad when the ad is displayed on a search engine web page. The second, called ‘Destination URL’ is the URL the visitor will actually be sent to when they click your ad. This destination URL can be appended with special parameters which tell Google or Bing to send you back additional information about each click. Below you can see an example of one of our Bing ads.

Notice that the destination URL is clickdimensions.com/tour/email-marketing.asp but that is followed by a question mark and then a series of parameters. For example, the first parameter is utm_source which is set to bing. In this case we are setting bing as an absolute value because clicks on this ad are always coming from Bing Search Advertising. However, the second parameter in the URL, query is set to {QueryString} which, as indicated by the curly brackets, represents a dynamic value which Bing will pass back to us in the URL when the click is made. For this parameter, Bing will pass back the actual keywords that the visitor typed into the search engine. Bing parameters are explained in detail at http://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/product-help/adcenter/topic?query=MOONSHOT_CONC_QueryStrings.htm


An example of what the URL will look like when Bing passes it back to us is shown below. Looking at the query parameter we can see that the visitor typed the query ‘microsoft dynamics crm’ into the search engine. What we actually see is microsoft%20dynamics%20crm and the %20 is inserted by Bing wherever there is a space. This is because the spaces would break the URL so they must be filled.


If you are using ClickDimensions marketing automation for Microsoft CRM, you can create a query on the entry page field of our visit records to look for visits where the entry page contains the text utm_source=bing. This will let you know which visits came from your Bing Search ads so that you can see which ones turned into sales opportunities. Below you can see the query we use to find these visits…

Of course, since we can query this data we can include it on dashboards and use it in workflow. We have dashboards that we use internally to show us the visits that are coming from Google and Bing. Note that we can display the keywords in this view because ClickDimensions captures that data natively (i.e. without having to tag your URLs)…

We’ve also created a workflow that emails us with information from any new visits that came from paid search. This produces emails like the one you see below. These emails are helpful to our Sales Development Representatives who are responsible for finding new leads for the sales team. The emails help them uncover organizations that might be early in the discovery process. The sooner we can reach organizations that are searching on solutions like ours, the sooner we can begin to influence the buying process…

In this post we have mainly talked about URL tagging with Bing Search ads but you can also do this with Google. Instructions can be found here http://support.google.com/adwords/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2375447

About the Author:

The ClickDimensions marketing team is committed to helping marketers using Microsoft Dynamics 365 achieve their goals.

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