Marketing Leads: 6 Ways to Track Where Leads are Coming from

Laura Caveney
Date Posted:
11th May 2021

Do you struggle to measure your digital marketing ROI? You’re not alone. Many marketers are reporting on their efforts but lack the ability to track marketing leads. Without this data, you can’t accurately measure what’s working, and what isn’t. This blog will help you track your marketing leads with six easy methods.


Revenue attribution is a great way for marketers to better understand how their marketing is working to drive their business’ bottom line. But there’s a hurdle in the way. Many marketers struggle to track their marketing leads, meaning they’re left reporting on vanity metrics like clicks, impressions and likes.

Without proper lead tracking for your marketing, you won’t be able to knuckle down and understand how many sales each channel, campaign and keyword is driving.

This blog will explain:

So, without further ado, let’s get stuck in.


What is lead tracking?

Lead tracking is the process in which marketers track their leads across their full customer journey. It begins with tracking a lead’s initial touchpoint and ends with them closing into revenue.  By tracking your lead’s full customer journey, you’ll better understand how your marketing is driving new leads and driving revenue. It will also help you to improve your sales funnel to drive new sales, quicker.


What is the best way to track marketing leads?

The best way to track every lead and every interaction is by using a marketing attribution tool.

Using a tool like ours, you’ll be able to track every new lead, every interaction, and you’ll be able to attribute their closed revenue back to the correct marketing channel, campaign and keyword.


Why is it hard to track marketing leads?

Your data is out there, it’s just disconnected. If you think about how many apps and tools you use to both drive and close your leads, imagine how much data each one of those holds.

And the issue is, these apps can’t speak to one another.

Let us explain with some examples.


Tracking a marketing lead’s conversion

If you don’t rely on offline conversions, well then, lucky you. But if you use conversions like phone calls, live chat or form fills, they can be hard to track.

And we’re not talking about lead volume, we’re talking about lead quality.

P.S. Learn more about offline conversion tracking with our FREE eBook.

While you might have a Google Tag Manager action set up to track each new form fill, how are you linking the person behind that form fill back to a marketing channel? When that person converts into revenue, you won’t be able to attribute it back.

And you know what that means? Inaccurate ROI which leads to poor optimisation of your marketing efforts.


Tracking a marketing lead’s full customer journey

Even if you work in eCommerce where tracking your marketing is much simpler as it’s pulled directly into Google Analytics, you still haven’t got full visibility of your marketing leads.

Remember, most customers go through the buyer’s journey which consists of the awareness stage, the consideration stage and the decision stage. Each of those stages could be made up of multiple touchpoints, leaving you with reams of data that you can’t get visibility on.


Let’s use an example.

Ella visits your website for the first time from an organic keyword search. She views your ranking content and then leaves. She returns a day later via a direct search.

3 months pass, and Ella hasn’t returned to your site. But, thanks to some smart retargeting, you reach her via a PPC campaign. She again visits your website, but takes no further action.

Ella's customer journey - where do marketing leads come from


A week later, she visits your social media profile and clicks onto your website from a shared link. A day later, she converts into a lead by filling out a form. She visited your site this time via a direct search.

Ella's customer journey continued - where do marketing leads come from


So, according to Google, that lead came from direct. But if you work in marketing, you know a direct search result has had prior engagement with you. Without proper lead tracking, you can’t understand how your marketing channels worked together to drive Ella from a website visitor into a lead.

With all of this data floating around for each of your marketing leads, how can you even begin to compile this data to understand where your marketing leads are coming from?

Well, we compiled 6 easy methods you can use to start tracking your leads. Let’s get stuck in.


How to track your marketing leads: 6 easy ways to track your leads

The issue with tracking leads is that the data all exists, but it isn’t easily viewed in one place. Without this key data, you’re marketing blind.

We compiled six easy ways to track your marketing leads so you have greater visibility of where they came from, and how much revenue they convert into.


1. Call tracking and marketing attribution

Call tracking is the use of dynamic numbers on your website. That means, for each website visitor, they’ll be served their own unique number. If they call, it allows you to easily track where they came from.

This is great for understanding not only call volume, but also call quality. Ruler’s call tracking software allows you to playback calls too so you can identify training opportunities to help your sales team upsell.

But Ruler goes one better than just call tracking.

Marketing attribution closes the data gap between your marketing outputs and your sales.


Ruler will monitor every single visitor to your website and store data on their browsing history, referrals and more.

When that user converts into a lead, whether that’s by phone, form or live chat, Ruler will send all of the data held on that individual over to your CRM or wherever you’re storing your leads.

In the meantime, Ruler will continue to monitor and refresh the data on that lead.

Then, at the point of sale, Ruler can scrape revenue data assigned to that user and attribute it back to the marketing channel and campaign that influenced it.

So, no matter if your leads take six months to convert, or if they convert offline, you’ll be able to view accurate revenue directly in marketing apps like Google Analytics.

Note: Not sure if Ruler is right for you? Download this eBook to learn the three core elements of Ruler and why they’re so vital to any marketer. 



2. UTM Tracking and Google Analytics

You can set up goals in Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager for key actions on your website, such as a form fill or a phone call. However, this won’t break it down much by channel or campaign.

One workaround is using UTM tags.

google url builder - new url


These are bits of code you add to the end or your URL which lets you track channel and campaign success directly in Google Analytics.

Here’s a complete guide to tracking links in Google Analytics.

However, this doesn’t tell you much about lead quality. While you can count the volume of form submissions, and click to calls with goals and tracked links, you can’t see which go on to convert into a sale.



3. Asking leads directly

The obvious way to track your marketing leads, is to ask your leads directly. You’ll often see forms online with a ‘how did you hear about us’ box. But how accurate are these?

Often, they’re inaccurate, or even ignored. And while it can provide valuable insight, it’s completely dependent on the person you’re asking.

For example, it’s not unheard of to be told a user found you on Google, but they actually clicked a PPC ad. That lack of attribution doesn’t help your ROAS!

form field how did you hear about us


And what did we say earlier, about long sales cycles? Leads aren’t usually generated in one touchpoint, so you’re missing data on all the other marketing channels. We’d advise including a ‘how did you hear about us’ form field for major conversions, but primarily rely on marketing attribution to give you conclusive insight.


4. Hidden Form Fields

If you have access to a web developer, then one way to understand where your leads came from is to use hidden form fields on your form submission boxes.

Remember, this can obviously only be used for forms, meaning any other entry point goes unattributed.

You can add hidden form fields to a channel specific landing page, or in combination with UTM parameters. When a new user visits that page and fills in the form, the hidden field will fill in dynamically to add in their lead source.

This can be really useful for PPC campaigns for example, but their scope is pretty limited beyond that. And, while you might get insight on what channel promoted them to fill in the form, what about the rest of their customer journey? You’re missing key data on how consumers are engaging with your content.


5. Using CRM systems

There are hundreds of CRMs out there and each offers a slightly different array of features. Some however, offer the capability to track lead source directly by using their own built-in forms.

Take Salesforce for example. Their web-to-lead forms allow you to scrape the data of the referring source for each lead.

web to lead form salesforce


This can be really insightful, but it’s still limited data.

Other, more costly CRMs offer more lead tracking capabilities but the price quickly starts to skyrocket. And while they do offer better features and allow you to get your data all in one place, their capabilities don’t quite match that of a marketing attribution tool.

And remember, marketing attribution tools like ours can pass data over to your CRM, so you can get all the data where you need it most.


6. Using promo codes

If you’re running a specific campaign, then of course you want to know how many new leads, or sales, you’re creating. Promo codes are a great way to entice new customers, but they’re also great for tracking purposes.

By using a promo code, you can essentially add a quick filter to all of your purchases to see which were influenced by your campaign.

But remember, a promo code still won’t give you a clear indication of where a lead came from. If you’re using a promo code across channels, then what more is it really telling you?


Wrapping up

And there you have it, six ways you can track your leads to understand where they’re coming from. If you’re keen to get started understanding where your leads are coming from, then you’ll want to try Ruler. Book a demo with us today to learn how you can collate your lead data and use it to optimise your marketing.


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