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The Changelog: Power Your Distribution Strategy with Campaign Tracking

parse.ly changelog 10-2016

This post summarizes our latest software release and will be mostly interesting to current Parse.ly users. Not a Parse.ly user? See the full dashboard here.

“If you build it, they will come” only works for Kevin Costner.

For marketers with digital audiences, just as much effort has to go into distributing content as creating it (sometimes more!). Readers may find content on their own in search results or on social networks, but deliberate efforts of social media managers, audience development experts, and newsletter editors make sure discovery isn’t left to chance.

Yet there’s a disconnect between the metrics that indicate how an audience engages with content and the way we track promotion.

While publishers (like Slate) have started to consider a broader suite of metrics to understand their audience, marketers spend most of their time in tools that emphasize opens, clicks, and impressions—divorced from any data on how long their audience actively read or watched content after clicking through.

Now you can use UTM parameters to track distribution efforts right alongside content performance in the Parse.ly dashboard.

What can I use campaign tracking for?

Here are just a few ways campaign tracking can help you understand what is and isn’t working in your distribution strategy.

What content resonates with newsletter subscribers?

You may already look at Top Posts in Parse.ly to decide what to include in your newsletter. Now you can single out traffic from a specific newsletter to see which posts held your subscribers’ attention.

Switching metrics can yield surprising results. Watch how “Picking a cloud database for analytics: the SQL options” rises to the top when the metric switches from Visitors to Time Engaged.

With this feedback loop in place, you’ll only get better and better at recognizing the stories that matter to your subscribers.

How long do visitors stay after clicking a Facebook ad?

Facebook reports on what happens before someone clicks through a boosted post or a news feed ad: reach, impressions, and clicks.

With Parse.ly, you can see how long someone stays engaged after the click. Did the post match the expectations set by the headline and image on Facebook? Which ads were best for keeping readers around and which made them bounce immediately?

Showing how long visitors engaged with content after clicking on different Facebook ads.

Which distribution efforts are better at fostering loyalty? Acquiring new readers?

Where you distribute content matters. Take a look at what happens when we compare average time for new visitors and returning visitors who came to the Parse.ly Blog through a Buffer campaign.

New visitors stay engaged for roughly the same amount of time whether they come from LinkedIn or Twitter. But returning visitors engage for over a minute longer when they click-through a Tweet instead of a LinkedIn post. In this case, LinkedIn might be better for driving new leads than it is for encouraging visitors to come back.

Knowing where to reach a specific audience lays the foundation for more targeted campaigns in the future.

How do I start tracking campaigns?

If you’re not currently tracking campaign parameters, get started with this best practices guide.

Parse.ly collects campaign data from UTM tracking codes (and other parameters) attached to the end of your URLs. If your organization is already tagging URLs with parameters like utm_campaign or utm_medium, your campaign data will automatically show up in the dashboard.

Still scratching your head? We’re hosting a webinar on May 10th to walk you through campaign tracking in the dashboard and answer all your questions! RSVP for the webinar.

Campaign tracking is available to customers on the Analytics Tier. Contact your success manager to set up campaign tracking and learn how to do more with your audience engagement data.

Notice anything else new?

The main navigation has moved to the top so there’s more room to display your data. The context of the page sticks with you as you scroll. Click the bar to jump back to the top of the page.

Now you can log into Parse.ly using your Google account (if your company is using Gmail). One less password to remember!

We always want to hear what you’re jazzed (or not so jazzed) about in Parse.ly. Drop us a line anytime.

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Webinar:
Audience Engagement:
What We Know, and
What We Don't
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