When (and How) to Use Brainshark Tracking Codes to Capture Viewer Info

April 25, 2013 | Wahl Allison
When (and How) to Use Brainshark Tracking Codes to Capture Viewer Info

The Brainshark City Tours not only afford us a great opportunity to share a day of thought leadership with industry experts, Brainshark users and new audiences, but the events themselves are a great way to hear what exactly is on the minds of our customers.

For example, at a recent event in Washington, D.C., the topic of tracking codes was brought up:

From a macro perspective, how exactly do you get these tiny, yet powerful, pieces to work with your presentations?

Last month we wrote a blog post on when and how to make the most out of the guestbook feature with Brainshark presentations. To recap, tracking viewers is important, but the guestbook is not always the best vehicle. Depending on your use case and presentation distribution method(s), tracking codes may actually be more suitable.

So when would you use tracking codes?

It can depend. Say, for instance, the only piece of information you need about your viewers is their email address – this might be a good opportunity to use tracking codes instead of a guest book. Or perhaps you are only trying to gauge the mechanism by which they are viewing your presentation (social media versus webpage, for example). Then again, maybe this is just a particularly sensitive audience that could be scared away by a guestbook because they are afraid of how their information will be shared or used.

Whatever the reason(s), the bottom line is this: to obtain the information and generate more views, simpler is better. And while the phrase “appending tracking codes to the end your presentation URL” sounds like crazy complicated technical speak, the process is actually far easier than you might realize.

The first option is through the Share functionality. To use this method:

1. Log in and edit your presentation.

2. Click Share in the Things You Can Do menu

3. Once the Share box pops up, find the Tracking Code field at the bottom, and enter in the text that will be used to identify the tracking code (just make sure spaces or special characters are not used).

using-brainshark-tracking-codes

4. The email preview screen displays the URL string with the appended tracking code. You can copy this URL to use in your own communications, or you can send out the link through the Share feature.

Another option is to add the tracking code on your own as a URL parameter. (Don’t worry, it is not as scary as it seems.) To do this, simply:

1. Copy the stand-alone player URL from Presentation Properties

2. Paste the URL where it will be needed.

3. Add &tx=text to the end of the URL, where “text” can be replaced with any text that should signify the tracking code. If using a custom URL (such as www.brainshark.com/company/custom), the tracking code will be slightly different: ?tx=text

But what happens if you need to email hundreds or thousands of people and you do not want to create the codes one by one? Yes, you can create unique tracking codes for each recipient using Excel.  This will reduce the pain of creating each separate link manually.  Basically, all you need to do is create a spreadsheet with three columns:

  • One containing the Brainshark URL with &tx= appended

  • A second with the actual tracking code text (like the recipient’s email address)

  • A third with the concatenate formula (=CONCATENATE (column A, column B)) added to merge the first 2 columns.

Click here for some screenshots and to learn more about this process.

So you’ve added the tracking codes, shared the links, and people are viewing… how do you know it worked?

Tracking code data is available through the reporting options that Brainshark offers, but we tend to recommend running any of the Viewing Details reports, which will give you more control over how to view the tracking code data that Brainshark collects.   

To report on the viewing activity associated with the tracking code, make sure to include the “View Tracking Code” field in your reports. This option can be added while on the Report Options tab by bringing the field from Available Columns on the left into Columns in Report on the right.

using-brainshark-tracking-codes

Additionally, to filter your reports based on specific tracking codes (so that you can only see results from your presentations you embedded to your webpage, for example), choose the Filters tab and designate the Filter Column to be “View Tracking Code,” with the Value being whatever the tracking code text string was (for example a tracking code of &tx=text has a Value of text).

using-brainshark-tracking-codes

 The tracking codes will be available in the tracking codes portion of the report, shown below.

using-brainshark-tracking-codes

Moral of the tracking tale?

Tracking codes allow us to gather important information on the back end without bothering the viewer. They demonstrate one of the most valuable assets that Brainshark provides -- not only the richness of the data you can report on, but also the multitude of tracking methods available.

More tips and advice for working with Brainshark video presentations:

More Presentation Resources: Animations Templates

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