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Link Decoration Explained | Why should you use it?

Learn about:

What is link decoration?

How does link decoration work?

Using MailChimp as an example

Why should we use link decoration? 

Are you familiar with UTM tracking? Then you are familiar with the concept of link decoration!

For UTM campaign tracking, Google has its Campaign URL Builder to aid marketers and advertisers to gather insights and measure the overall efficacy of the campaigns so that they know which campaign is driving the traffic to the destination URLs. 

However, there are a lot more other types of information we could track with decorated links i.e. any combination of letters and numbers which represent information can be attached to a link! 

 

It is a practice commonly used by marketers, advertisers, and publishers to track their customers’ or prospects' online behaviour, understand conversion, and complete the digital journey.

Example

If the person clicks into the decorated link that leads to the client's website article, we will receive a unique email ID that is tied to the person.

Original link

https://client_website.com/article

Decorated link (for implementation) 

https://client_website.com/article/?e=*|EMAIL_UID|*}

Decorated link (after clicking) 

https://client_website.com/article/?e=6254e6d91a

 

Here’s a summary to explain:

  1. A marketer from Company XYZ will need to insert an identifier in the destination URL e.g. email ID for an email campaign or  AppsFlyer ID for in-app advertising.
  2. When the customer clicks on the destination URL, a hash of the unique ID is generated.
  3. This hashed ID can be used as a parameter in the link and hence the link becomes personalised.
  4. At the same time when the customer lands on the designated website page, we have the Meiro Events SDK to capture all web events including the personalized URL which was clicked through.
  5. From the hashed ID collected, we can match the clickthrough with existing customers from other data sources in the database. 

Remember: A hashed email ID means that the customer’s email will not be visible to anyone.

 

Using MailChimp as an example

Let’s use Mailchimp link decoration as an example to explain.

In MailChimp, |MERGE TAGS| are used for campaign personalization. It is a unique, text-based identifier that corresponds to the data in an audience field.

If the following merge tags are defined in the decorated link for the campaign e.g. 

https://client_website.com/article/?e=*|EMAIL_UID|*&*|CAMPAIGN_UID|*

After the recipient of MailChimp EDM clicks onto the link, the decorated link will show the following: https://client_website.com/article/?e=6254e6d91a&f150163192 where 

  • 6254e6d91a = unique Email ID natively derived by Mailchimp
  • f150163192 = unique ID from your Mailchimp campaign

Meiro Events SDK will capture the decorated link and a Meiro analyst will extract *|EMAIL_UID|* (6254e6d91a) from the query parameter of the URL and apply it for the identity stitching algorithm.  *|CAMPAIGN_UID|* can also be extracted as an attribute to identify the MailChimp campaign where the user comes from. 

Learn More: Mailchimp link decoration

Remember: Identifiers in the decorated link can be customised depending on the use cases involved

Screenshot 2021-10-18 at 12.03.17 PM.png

Why should we use link decoration? 

In today’s martech stack, companies are using many platforms to reach out to customers or potential prospects.

By adding an identifier to the link, we can identify users coming from different data sources for data-driven attribution modeling and mainly for a single customer view which is only achievable with a Customer Data Platform.

With a single customer view, marketers and advertisers now can better personalise messages for their customers and achieve better results with their marketing campaigns.

Screenshot 2021-10-18 at 12.04.32 PM.png

Learn More: about Customer Identity Stitching

 

References:

  1. https://docs.meiro.io/books/meiro-business-explorer/page/segment-export-mailchimp-link-decoration-personalization 
  2. https://digiday.com/marketing/wtf-link-decoration/