How to Track Content and Create Reports for Marketing Automation - dummies

How to Track Content and Create Reports for Marketing Automation

By Mathew Sweezey

After you have content for your marketing automation campaigns, it’s time to learn to manage it. Tracking your content — knowing who is engaging with it and where it is being engaged with —helps you figure out how to present it better the next time. Marketing automation makes content management very different from how it used to be.

Easy ways to track your distributed content

When you have a third party send out content for you, or your content is hosted on another site, you’re distributing content. Sending distributed content is very common if you ever put on list rental email campaigns or engage in comarketing with your partners. In these cases, you need to be familiar with ways to track your engagement when your assets live off your website.

Uploading a sales presentation into an online tool like SlideShare and posting videos to YouTube are both good examples of assets living off your website. If you learn to utilize your marketing automation URLs and custom redirect URLs, you’ll always be able to track your assets. Here are some methods for tracking distributed content:

  • Given URL: Your given URL is the URL you are given by a tool or program. This is the URL your marketing automation tool gives you when it hosts your asset.


  • Redirects: A redirect is a URL that allows you to track a person back to another location. Using a custom redirect is great when you are doing a comarketing campaign and using assets hosted on other sites.


  • Master campaign. If your campaigns include many different content pieces and assets, you might want to create a master campaign, which allows you to tie a lot of assets together to track the full campaign much more easily. Creating a report is something you do for any campaign you run on your own site; however, you should go to this trouble only if it is a large campaign.

    To do this for every small comarketing piece might be overload. Having a master campaign makes your life a lot easier when trying to digest the effects of a full six-month marketing campaign that uses many microsites and assets.

  • Automatic redirects. If you want to protect content that you’re not hosting, you can do so. Your forms or landing pages can automatically redirect a person to another web URL after the person completes the form.

    You can easily set up a redirect on your form or landing page; how to do it depends on your tool. Having a redirect allows you to have your lead capture form on your site while driving people automatically to other third-party sites so that you can track the action.

How to create new content reports

If you use the tools of marketing automation for tracking your content, the guesswork is now gone: You know exactly which content is getting engaged with, by whom, and when. This is the biggest difference you will notice about your content between pre- and post-marketing automation.

Before marketing automation, you knew whether people filled out a form to download your content. Post-marketing automation, you know when they actually read it, watch it, or share it.

Here are a few basic reports to consider creating after you have this visibility:

  • Engagement/time report: Now that you can track every person who engaged with your content, you need to be able to look at the data and determine whether your content is trending up or down. Some content will have timelines, but other content (such as evergreen content) won’t.

    Make sure that you can export a CSV file of your content engagement and can see a trendline of engagement. If you notice that your content has declining engagement, look at the content and the distribution. Have you reduced the distribution of the content? Or is the content in need of an update?

  • Influence report: Much of your content can now be tracked to see what influence it has. An influence report helps you see whether your content is helping to move people through the funnel. This is also easily seen in a stage-based report. A proper stage-based report will show the last content engaged in by a lead moved to the next stage.

    Both of these reports will help you identify which content to send to people and at which time. This allows you to easily build an automated program to send the correct content at the correct time.