If you use paid search then you most likely have a number of different campaigns running across a number of different providers. You might use Google AdWords, Microsoft AdCenter, LinkedIn, Facebook, private blogs, etc. With each one of these ad platforms you can login to their respective dashboards and see how many clicks they have sent you and what you’ve spent. But that requires you to go to a lot of web sites and it doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of the visits you’re getting.

Wouldn’t it be better to login to one dashboard and see all the visits from each source along with an indicator of the visit quality? Of course it would, so let’s see how you can do that with ClickDimensions and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

To start, we need some background. When you place an online ad you have the opportunity to specify the URL that the visitor will be directed to when he/she clicks on the ad. LinkedIn refers to this as the ‘go to URL’ while other platforms call it the ‘destination URL’. You can make this URL unique by adding a parameter to the end of it. Then it will be easy to locate visits from that ad inside Microsoft CRM if you are using ClickDimensions. Here’s an example:

For the LinkedIn ad below I want the visitor to be directed to our home page at http://www.clickdimensions.com/. However, I also want to know that they visitor came from that LinkedIn ad so, to make the URL identifiable, I add the text ?s=linkedinad5 to the end of it.

Let me break down the ?s=linkedinad5 part…

? – this indicates that a parameter will be next

s – this is the name of the parameter. I could have written out the word ‘source’, or any other word, but all I need is something short

linkedinad5 – this is the parameter value. It is the part that tells me that this is one of my LinkedIn ads

Every time someone clicks on this ad the ClickDimensions visit record created inside my Microsoft CRM will show this URL in the entry page field…

With this information it is easy for me to create a CRM view to show all visits from LinkedIn ads…

So, if I follow this same technique for my LinkedIn ads, my Google ads, my Bing (AdCenter) ads, etc. it is easy for me to create a CRM 2011 dashboard with cells to show me the visits from each different ad source. I can look at this one dashboard to see the quality of each visit as indicated by the visit’s score, duration and number of page views. My view can also show me the keywords used (where relevant) so I can then understand which keywords lead to the highest quality visits. When I see that one of my ad campaigns is leading to a series of 1 page visits I adjust accordingly to improve the visit quality so I know that, instead of just getting visits to my site, I am getting visits from people who stick around to learn more.

Can you see the effectiveness of all your paid search visits in one place? Happy marketing!