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Lead Source Tracking & How To Understand Your Online Traffic

This post explains what a lead source is and how to create the right lead source tracking on your website. I also discuss, how to generally improve your understanding of your online traffic.

In digital marketing and marketing in general, the more you understand your audience and online traffic, the better equipped you are to making the right decisions. And the better your marketing strategy is going to be.

One of the biggest questions in online marketing is where our traffic is coming from. But equally important, is understanding how your various channels are performing in terms of cost of acquisition.

The first step in understanding your online traffic is to set up lead source tracking on your website.

But first, let’s talk about what a lead source is.

What’s a lead source?

A lead source is the marketing channel from which the lead visited your website. Imagine getting 10,000 leads a month but you have no idea if they came from your Facebook Ad campaign, Google search, Google Ads, or any other channel driving traffic to your website. It would be a disaster.

There are a ton of ways people can reach your website. The below categories encompass the majority of businesses use to generate traffic.

  • Organic Search (Google, Bing, Etc.)
  • Social Media Platforms (Organic)
  • Social Media Paid Ads
  • Native and Display Ads
  • Influencers
  • Referrals, Backlinks & Other Websites
  • Cold Outreach (Calls & Emails)
  • Email Marketing
  • Non-Digital Media (TV, Radio, etc.)
  • Network Marketing
  • Shows, Conferences & Expos

Why is measuring the lead source important?

There are many benefits to tracking the source of a lead.

For starters, when you identify the source of leads, you’ll be able to structure your marketing budget more accurately. You’ll know where to allocate resources and money. If you spend too much money on a channel that doesn’t generate leads, it might be a good idea to dial it down and invest somewhere else.

Second, you’ll be able to get context on why and how people find you. For example, let’s say you’ve written a blog post on “5 Ways to improve memory without using supplements”. And it generated a lot of traction. This might help you understand what your audience is interested in. But also, what other relevant content you can create on various platforms.

Third, tracking the lead source allows you to improve the overall experience of your audience and customers throughout the buyer journey. By knowing where leads are coming from, you can personalise and contextualise future emails and communication.

around why and how your audience members find you. As a result, you can improve the customer experience and buyer’s journey with targeted content, communications, interactions, and more.

And finally, tracking lead sources allows you to create a more effective sales funnel. For instance, in your email marketing platform or CRM, you can structure lead scoring based on where they came from. If a lead came from an organic search channel, it might be more important than a lead that came from another source. Lead allocation by priority and importance is an important aspect of any effective sales process.

Traffic Source vs. Medium

People often confuse a lead source with a lead medium. They are not the same thing. A lead source refers to the platform or channel it came from. For example, if a lead came from Google, the lead source is Google. However, the medium could be Organic Search, Google Ads, Display Ads, etc. Traffic medium refers to the type of media that the traffic found you through.

A lot if not all of the analytics platforms will show that clear distinction. If you use Google Analytics, in the Acquisition data, you can see ‘Source/Medium’ as an option to view your data. But you can view data by source/medium throughout the platform.

Other Parameters To Track

Aside from the traffic source and medium, there are a few other parameters to track especially if you are running Advertising campaigns. Most Ad campaigns are structured in the following manner

Campaign -> Ad Set or Ad Group -> Ad Name

Tracking the Campaign Name, Ad Set/Group Name, and Ad Name is very important because it allows you to ascertain how your campaigns are performing on a detailed level.

Lead Source Best Practices

Here are simple steps to create a lead source tracking framework.

Lead Source Tracking Best Practices
Lead Source Tracking Best Practices
  1. Identify all the traffic sources you are currently focusing on.
  2. Tag your traffic with the parameters you’d like to measure.
    • Source
    • Medium
    • Campaign Name
    • Ad Set / Ad Group Name
    • Ad Name
    • Audience Name (Based on the platform)
    • Keyword Name (Google Ads)
    • Form Name
  1. Use the right Analytics platform. I suggest starting with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to measure your lead sources.
  2. Pass lead source information to your email marketing platform and CRM.
  3. Use attribution modelling to accurately allocate the contribution of various sources.
  4. Measure the performance of leads and sales conversions.
  5. Prioritise and allocate leads by priority and weight.
Author avatar
Rani Arsanios
Founder and Director of SAVV Digital, Rani has spent over 15 years working and consulting brands and businesses globally on how to improve and optimise their sales and marketing capabilities.

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