How to Track Inbound Traffic from a Press Release

There are many advantages of using Business Wire to distribute your press release. One of the biggest advantages is the high visibility the news releases we distribute receive within media and search spaces. The instant accessibility of your news release ensures audiences can find it the minute it crosses the wire, or in the middle of the night when they might be looking for a solution.

Tip: Use hyperlinks. We encourage our clients to include hyperlinks in their news releases. Hyperlinks are extremely important because they lead readers back to your website to find additional information about your organization, product or service. Tracking this inbound traffic is a great way to see if your news content is of interest to your reader and, if so, whether your landing page converts leads to ensure you are meeting your business goals.

Business Wire’s NewsTrak reports[1] will tell you how many times a hyperlink is clicked, but you can get much more useful information if you append your hyperlinks with UTM links (sometimes called URL builders).

What is a UTM link?

Provided by your analytics program, UTM links are lines of text you add to the end of a URL that allow the program to track the inbound traffic activity you are generating.[2]

In this example, adding custom UTM parameters to this URL allow us to track the inbound traffic directing readers to our blog post on news release measurement. We might share this link on our social channels or on a relevant landing page. UTM links allow you to connect the dots between your reader and your website, tracking the impact of your communications program directly on your business goals.

When should you use a UTM link?

Anytime you link content on the web. Don’t limit your data gathering to just your news releases. Create UTM links for your blog posts, social updates, advertising and other marketing collateral to keep your program’s activities separated. You can create new URL builders for every release and identify traffic by platform (one link parameter for all news releases vs. blog posts) or topic (one link parameter for all earnings vs. products). This helps you see what readers are interested and where they found your link.

How to create a UTM link in under 5 minutes:

If your company has a team that oversees analytics, email them and ask for a UTM link you can add to the end the URLs you are including in your news release. If you manage the analytics yourself, here are the instructions for creating a Google Analytics UTM link.

Open the UTM link creation page here:[3]

  1. Enter the complete URL of the link you’d like to track (required)
  2. Enter the Campaign Source (required, e.g. “BusinessWire”)
  3. Enter the Campaign Medium (required, e.g. “PR”)
  4. Enter the Campaign Term (usually to identify keywords or topics, e.g. “earnings” or “product”)
  5. Enter the Campaign Content (usually for tracking versions or tests, e.g. “newsrelease”)
  6. Enter the Campaign Name – this can be any name you want (e.g. “Q3,” “PR” “IR”)
  7. Click “Submit”
  8. Now you have an expanded URL that contains all the analytics tracking data.
  9. Hyperlink this expanded URL within the Business Wire news release document.
  10. Create a weekly report to receive the data these URLs are gathering so you can use this to correct your landing pages, conversion concepts and more.

What are the limitations to a UTM Builder?

Not all of your inbound traffic is going to come in to your website from your appended link. Some websites hosting your Business Wire news release will strip out that appended data. Also, some consumers still enjoy typing a company name into the search bar versus clicking a link. It is best to view this data as a snapshot of all the traffic you are driving in, not a reflection of all the traffic and activity you have initiated.

Reading your data

Every time someone clicks on your appended hyperlinks, you can now track their actions across your website. You can determine:

  • Is your landing page working? News releases frequently drive traffic to home pages without realizing the home page is not strong enough to convert the reader. To identify issues with your landing page, look at how long visitors are staying on your landing page and within your website. Are they leaving your page in under 30 seconds? Or are they going deeper? Make the necessary changes to convert your inbound traffic.
  • Who are you reaching and activating? You’re likely to uncover whether you are reaching new audiences with your news releases, or perhaps decreasing the consideration time it takes for someone to buy your product.
  • Where is your audience? Are you activating the right markets? Are they on their smartphones or on a desktop?
  • What actions are they taking? Are your news release readers downloading your promoted content? Are they subscribing to your marketing channels?
  • Which news release topics are driving the most inbound activity?

Few departments generate as many discussions as your PR team. Capitalize on these discussions and the traffic they generate by tracking the activities your news generates on your website. With URL builders, you can see if you are driving in the right traffic and if your audience is taking the actions you want. This will provide you the hard data needed to increase the ROI of future marketing efforts such as landing page revisions, keyword research needs and more.

Click here to learn more about Google Analytics’ UTM/URL Builder[4] or email us at[5] today to learn more.

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