Automating Campaign & Customer Journey Tracking Validation - Stockton Knotts & Jordan Hammond, ObservePoint

When it comes to marketing emails and campaign sends, are you ensuring that all your links function properly with tracking? What's the attribution impact? How can you create an iron clad campaign strategy? Discover the answers to these questions and more.


Stockton Knotts

Technical Success Manager


As a Technical Success Manager at ObservePoint, Stockton helps companies like Marriott, Mastercard, and NFL manage the data collection on their websites to ensure it’s consistent and accurate.


Jordan Hammond

Technical Success Manager


Jordan Hammond is a technical success manager responsible for world-class enterprises like Comcast, Harley-Davidson, and Texas Instruments. With a background in communications, Jordan has nourished his passion for software by spending time working for tech companies like Mozenda, NUVI, and ObservePoint.



Stockton Knotts - Welcome to our validate session. We're excited to have you here and talk about automating campaign and customer journey tracking validation. This is our first session with the people over at EMEA, and we're really happy to be working with you guys and showing you a little bit how ObservePoint can help you with your campaign tracking and campaign URL creation. Validate, as you guys know is an annual conference. This is our first time going virtual. So this is a little bit new for us, but we're really excited to bring this to more people around the world, make this accessible to more of our customers, more people who are learning about ObservePoint or maybe you're working with some of our sales team. So this virtual conference, it's kind of the way to go. I think we can really expand our reach and, help other people who aren't ObservePoint customers learn more about some of the benefits of using a tool like ObservePoint can bring. So a little bit about, about myself and my co-worker here, Jordan, just introductions to get these out of the way. 

My name is Stockton. I am a technical success manager here at ObservePoint and working at ObservePoint for almost three years now.  First I started on the sales team and then I transferred over to the customer success team, to help build relationships and help our customers get the most out of the tool. Jordan, do you want to take a minute to introduce yourself? 

Jordan Hammond - Yeah. Thanks, Stockton.  Like Stockton, I am a technical success manager. I've been with ObservePoint for about two years now.  Stockton, I work with a lot of our different clients here in the US.  So you're probably familiar with a lot of them.  We have a lot of good experience together and we're excited to share today a little more about experience validation. 

Stockton Knotts - Awesome. Thank you. So there is a section for you guys to post any questions or comments in the chat. So as we go through this, feel free to post any questions there and we'll have Jordan be moderating that, and he'll be watching that comments sections. Hopefully we can address some of your questions here at the end of the presentation. 

So like I said, this session is called automating campaign and customer journey tracking validation. Now I'm sure a lot of you guys deal with a lot of issues when creating your campaigns and then automating or testing your journeys. And that's what ObservePoint can help you with, there's a lot of different things that you can do in ObservePoint to help validate your customer journeys and make sure your campaign URLs are working properly. So in this session, we're going to talk about some of the major pain points that marketers experience when they're creating their marketing campaigns. And then when they're testing to make sure that those journeys are tracking data correctly. So one of the first things that we do after the, after the campaign's been created the first thing that we do is we need to create a campaign URL.

Now this is typically a cumbersome task especially with some of the home-baked solutions that many of your companies probably use. I'm sure a lot of you watching are familiar with this spreadsheet that we have here on the screen. I know a lot of companies just have their own home-baked solution, home-baked spreadsheet where they create their campaign URLs, pulling in all of those UTM parameters that are needed for that specific campaign. So this is one of the most common pain points that we hear from customers. It's that they use these kinds of odd methods for creating these campaign URLs. If they're not using an Excel sheet, then they're probably using something like the Google URL creator, but methods like this really prevent you from adding additional tracking attributes. They come with inconsistent standards.

A lot of times you can type in something and that UTM parameter or that marketing variable is not being tracked properly really because of a typo. And another thing is these are rarely governed, not a lot of our customers who have a home-based solution like this really spend a lot of time making sure that those URLs were working properly, that the marketing standards that were available to them in these spreadsheets were working properly or, really contributed to their marketing campaigns. And then again, like I said, insufficient tracking attributes. So then they're kind of locked with the attributes that they can add to their marketing URLs,  which really prevents them from creating kind of a granular marketing tracking in all of their campaigns. Now I know that there's some incredible things that can be done with Excel and with Google Sheets, but it's difficult to achieve everything that your business needs with something like this. 

And I know this from experience. One of the companies I worked with when I was a CSM,  there they actually built an entire CRM tool out of Excel, and it did some really cool things, but it was really difficult to use and it didn't help us achieve all of the things that our business needed the CSM team to achieve.  So how ObservePoint Touchpoints can help with creating campaign URLs. It's really simple. So we have this tool called Touchpoints and in Touchpoints, creating URLs is extremely simple. Essentially you can have a template for all the different marketing standards or marketing channels that you need. So you could have one for Instagram, YouTube, email, and each one of those templates will have all of the marketing attributes that are applicable to each channel.  Once you have that template created, all you need to do is select the template. 

And then you can select from a defined list of pick lists to select those attributes that you want. So at this defined pick list, you can avoid all of the inconsistencies or human errors that you experienced previously with a solution like the Google URL creator, or an Excel sheet.  Another thing that this can help with is with Touchpoints you can create and add as many attributes that you need to create a more granular tracking and attribution model. So you can customize attributes that allow you to create as many marketing, standards or marketing variables as you would like. So the more attributes, the more granular your marketing data can be. Attributes in a marketing campaign, or a campaign URL are like each item in a recipe or each spice in a recipe. And you need everything that recipe calls for to get that recipe just right. 

And going along with this analogy, I remember maybe five or six years ago I was living in Bolivia in South America, and I just had this crazy craving for spaghetti. And it's just, you know, spaghetti, it's super simple. But all I could find in the Bolivian market was tomato sauce,  ground beef and spaghetti noodles. Now you could think of this as I had three UTM parameters, and I wanted to have a full campaign URL that had all of the tracking variables, for a more granular campaign data. But when I made that spaghetti with my tomato sauce, ground beef and spaghetti noodles, it was disgusting. And the reason for that it was, I was missing a lot of different spices and a lot of different things in that recipe to really make it what it needed to be. 

 So with attributes, you can add everything that you need, or you could add every spice that you need to make that food just right. So you can add every different marketing variable that you need to make that campaign just right and give you very detailed and granular campaign data. And then finally with ObservePoint Touchpoints, as you create more and more attributes, you can store all of this data in what we call the Strala ID. A Strala ID can really simplify your URLs, and it really helps you avoid truncation. So instead of having this long string of UTM parameters, it will shorten it. So it's just your base URL with a Strala ID, which is typically an eight digit string there just after your base URL. Now, going back to my nasty spaghetti and Bolivia analogy, the Strala ID would kind of be like a spaghetti sauce with all of the right spices and ingredients needed to make it just right. 

You can think of it as like your Prego or your Ragu spaghetti sauce. And if we have any Italians here on this call, they're probably rolling their eyes at the mention of Prego or Ragu spaghetti sauce, but the Strala idea, it really contains all of that metadata or all of the ingredients to make for a granular and detailed campaign URL without, you know, extending your URL all the way past your browser. It keeps it short, concise, and with Strala, we're able to read that metadata and send it to your analytics softwares, whether you're using Adobe analytics, Google analytics, and Google ads and can send that through the integrations that we have with many of the different analytics platforms or an ad platforms to store all of that metadata in your touchpoints. So the next issue, I'm going to have Jordan speak on this which is testing your URL validity. 

Jordan Hammond - Thanks, Stockton. Yeah. To go along with our Touchpoints attribution once all this is done, we really want to guarantee that each of these URLs are functioning. It's a horrible user experience when your user's trying to click through a CTA in an email you send out and it lands on the patient doesn't exist, or it just takes them back to the home page. So this is something from experience we've all probably had where we get an email. So within Touchpoints, we want to be able to avoid that. So some common pain points,  like it says here is it's really time consuming just to check a lot of different URLs. There's a lot of different branding and ways we're branching out. And so there's a lot of URLs we're probably using to track how these campaigns are working. 

And a lot of times these tests go by the wayside and it's kind of an afterthought. And so we really want to guarantee that each of these are working. One, to make it easy for you. So,  it's just really critical. The other thing we really want to control is after the post. So it's already been launched, sometimes URL's can break. There might be something weird going on on the site that doesn't allow it to function. This could be from an architect view where the website updates it's main URL, and it completely changes the user's experience. So we want to avoid those 404 errors that we all loathe and continue to do URL validity. So once you're finished creating a campaign URL, you can actually validate the URL status at the click of a button. 

So you can quickly go through and click through all of these and see if the URL works or not. It will send back a status code, if it's a 200 status code, that means it's good. And then if you get anything else, like a 404, any 400 type error, it will return red. So all URL or Touchpoints statuses are really easily visible from the touchpoints view. This constant monitoring will help you know which campaign URLs are valid and active while letting you know which you are also willing to take the user to the intended pages. So,  again, this isn't going to be a very useful and easy way to manage all of these URLs inside of this,  solution in a normal spreadsheet. There's probably not an easy way to just go and click those. You have to go copy it, load it, and then repeat over and over. And so the things again emphasizing just the ease of use inside of Touchpoints, being able to do this type of URL validation is going to be key and saving you time and pushing these updates a lot quicker than having to go through and manually check hundreds of URLs.

Stockton Knotts - Yeah, thanks Jordan. And it really helps you to maintain these URLs after the fact. So after your campaign is created, maybe that campaign is running for a month or so. I mean, 20 days down the road this will be able to tell you if that URL is still valid, if there were any code changes that might've deprecated that URL from the site, this will essentially show you if that URL is still valid. So a lot of my customers that are using Touchpoints currently, they love the simplicity of checking if that URL is valid within the Touchpoints user interface.  so it's been really beneficial for those that have been able to use it. I know it's been a solution that they have never had before using any other solutions. So it's great to be able to use this in Touchpoints by ObservePoint. The third issue, and last issue that I wanted to touch on is testing your analytics and MarTech tracking. 

So this is kind of closing the loop. Our Validate session is talking about automating campaign and customer journey tracking validation. So it really talks about how ObservePoint can help you create those campaign URLs and make sure that those URLs are functioning properly, but we haven't really touched on how ObservePoint can help make sure that the journey tracking is being validated and it's working properly. And we're kind of closing that loop and making sure your analytics platform is collecting the data as it's being shown, or as it's been generated using different attributes in the Touchpoints solution. So one of the most common pain points or some of the common pain points that people have when testing their analytics with their marketing campaigns is again, it's time consuming. I think when we talk about QA, one of the first things that come to mind is it's time consuming. 

It takes, it takes a long time testing to make sure things are working properly. And the same can be said for this. When we create these URLs, a lot of times you'll visit that URL. You'll pull up your network tab, you'll find your Adobe analytics call or your Google analytics call and then you'll kind of go through all of those variables to make sure that the applicable eVars and custom dimensions are firing for that specific campaign. So it takes a lot of time. If you do find issues, we find that you typically have to work with various teams and send a lot of different emails to the same people, making sure those items get fixed. And then once after that campaign's been created, maybe it's working initially, not all that data could be tracked properly after the fact, just like with URL check testing the URL validity. 

Sometimes you don't, after a couple of weeks something might change and that data is not being tracked properly. The same can be said for this. A lot of times code releases or changes on the site can affect how our analytics implementation is working. And maybe these changes or these errors may go unnoticed. And from that point on you could be losing out on a lot of the data from your marketing campaign. So you'll have these massive data gaps, and you don't know if people are actually landing on your site or if they're clicking on that link in the email. So the purpose of ObservePoint is to automate this testing process for you. If you guys are familiar with ObservePoint's, kind of the vanilla ObservePoint solution, we are all about testing your analytics implementation to make sure that all of your tags are firing properly. 

And all of the applicable eVars, custom dimensions, and all variables are firing when they should, and as they should. So with this solution, you can pull in all of those touchpoints, or all of those campaign URLs that you've created for your marketing campaigns, and you can put them into an ObservePoint audit and have that scan daily, weekly, however often you would like. And make sure all of the analytics or the vendors and the variables and values are firing as they should. One of the greatest benefits of using a tool like ObservePoint is you can create rules for your marketing standards and validate all of the appropriate variables are firing with the expected values. So you can set aside.

So if in Adobe analytics you have eVars 20 through 25, that are just for your marketing campaigns, we can create a rule in ObservePoint that validates eVars 20 through 25 to make sure that those values are being populated. And we could even be as granular or as detailed as to say, you know, eVar 25 should equal this specific value. So running these tests daily or weekly, or however often you would like can significantly reduce data gaps caused by broken tags. And if you guys are familiar with tagging implementations then you should be familiar with the term broken tags. It seems like if there's one thing that we can count on when it comes to data analytics or, or analytics implementations, is that things break. Whenever there's a code release or whenever we have too many hands in the pot, seems like a lot of times things break. So ObservePoint is there to provide that constant monitoring to allow you to trust that the data that you are receiving in your analytics suites is accurate, and it can be trusted. 

And you can trust that the campaigns that you're putting out there and the data that's being generated from those campaigns is accurate and reliable, and you can make decisions based on those insights. So that's the whole purpose of ObservePoint, close that gap and make sure that all of your analytics are firing properly. So, as a recap we kind of talked about those three different issues or those three different pain points that people experience. The first, creating the URLs. We all know how cumbersome that can be. It takes time to create those URLs and a lot of times there's really not a lot of standards. ObservePoint's Touchpoints can help create those URLs by defining marketing standards, and by really helping you avoid any inconsistencies that can be generated from using an Excel sheet or a Google sheet. 

The second issue is testing that URL validity, which Jordan talked about. Once those URLs are created, a lot of times we're not testing to make sure those URLs are working properly. And especially after the fact, not a lot of people are, you know, 20 months after their campaign is launched, they're not going back to that campaign landing page to make sure things are working properly. So with Touchpoints, you have the ability to check that URL validity just with the click of a button. It'll give you a list of all of your URLs, and then you'll have a little green dot there. If that URL is valid, and a red dot if it's not.  And then the third issue is testing your analytics, implementation, testing, your MarTech tracking. That's another cumbersome and time consuming task that a lot of people don't do, especially after the fact. 

So once those campaigns have been launched,  you know, two weeks later, a lot of times people forget, or they don't have time to go back and test their analytics implementation. So, Touchpoints by ObservePoint will actually pull in all of those touchpoints or those URLs run audits, run journeys, and have rules applied to them to make sure those expected values are always met.  So we still have about five minutes left in this session. Do we have any questions or any, any comments from those that are watching? 

Jordan Hammond - We don't have any questions. I just make a note from Stockton is as we continue to build out and expand into a new area of testing, we really want to put emphasis that this is going to be a great way to manage all of your campaign codes and being able to keep track of all these UTM parameters inside ObservePoint Touchpoints. It's going to be a great tool. And those who do have questions feel free to reach out to your different reps,  and ask questions, schedule some time to review Touchpoints with them, and learn a little more about how it can help you and your team. If it doesn't involve you, that's probably going to involve someone else in another department that'd be really interested. So again, just to put an emphasis on that. And if you have any questions, feel free to shoot them over. 

Stockton Knotts - I'm sure a lot of people who are watching this session, especially if they're ObservePoint clients, they may have never heard of Touchpoints because it's a relatively new product in the ObservePoint platform.  And it came from a recent acquisition that we made, maybe a year ago, a company called Strala who focused on creating campaign URLs for marketers. So if you guys are familiar with the ObservePoint, and this is kind of new topic for you, feel free to reach out to your ObservePoint reps, and we'd be happy to set you up with a full demo of the Touchpoints platform, because we barely scratched the surface on today's session. So there's a lot more to unpack from a tool like this, that we didn't really have time to do in just a short 30 minute session. So reach out to us. We're happy to go through a full demo with you guys and have you connected with one of our Touchpoints representatives, and they can give you a full walkthrough of the of the entire platform. But thank you so much for joining. Like Jordan said, if you have any additional questions, you can send them to your ObservePoint reps and we're all happy to help.

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