Getting Granular with External Tracking Codes

Contextual Websites via External Tracking/Codes

Tracking Codes and URL Parameters for Customization

In part one of this series we looked at handling contextual content changes for anonymous users, part two we looked at personalization for people with a user account on your site. In part three we are looking at tracking codes and a more scripted approach to contextualization.

In many marketing situations, for example, email marketing or direct mail, there is an opportunity to send unique URLs or codes to customers, and these can take a couple technical forms.

  1. Parameterized URL which look like www.yoursuperlandingpagesite.com/landing-page?type=x1x1x1
  2. Simply sending a customer a print or direct mail piece, asking them to enter a unique code on a landing page. Code could be: “x1x1x1”

Let's dive in and take a closer look at how these two work.

Parameterized URLs

That code can be used to provide context. For example, if you're the VP of Marketing for a company in the fruit industry and you have a large database of all apple lovers and orange lovers. For obvious reasons, you would not want to send apple marketing to orange people and vice-versa. What you could do, to make sure apple lovers receive apple content is to send a parameterized URL in outbound email communication.

With this, an apple person can enter in on an apple page URL parameterized with an ID for the type: www.myawesomefruitsite.com/apples?type=grannysmith

There can be a single page called /apples, but it will be dynamically adapted based on the parameters passed through the URL as the page is loaded.

  1. The copy can be adjusted on the apple landing page with messaging specific to Granny Smith apples.
  2. The hero image block can swap out with Granny Smith apple images.
  3. Promotional offers can be presented that are specific to Granny Smith apples.
  4. The database can pre-loaded with email addresses & codes, so you can track use of the links.

From the site administration perspective, in the above example, there would need to be a content type called “type” that allowed editors to add custom copy, feature images and promotions. This will then be dynamically assembled into the single /apples web page.

Direct Input Codes

Another scenario is a promotional landing page that accepts codes. This is commonly used to send discount codes to customers for sales. But it can be used in a landing page to enter a code to access a special deal site or provide unique content.

Technically it is the same approach for either parameterized URLs or codes entered by users. A code is used to set the “state” of the page when a user enters.

When you know some simple bits of information ahead of time, email + type of apple our user prefers, it will provide you an opportunity to get your users to a relevant, more personalized, contextual web experience easily.


If you have any questions about our contextualization series or this post on Contextual Websites via External Tracking/Codes, please feel free to contact us directly or connect with us on social!