Making a Solid First (Internal Promotion) Impression

One of the cornerstones of a successful Digital Marketing implementation is the external campaign. In baseball terms, the external campaign is the starting pitcher of your Digital Marketing efforts. But there’s another player in your rotation who’s almost as important – the internal promotion. Simply put, the internal promotion is your closer. While the external campaign may have helped draw people to your site, the internal promotion is responsible for sealing the deal and making sure they follow through to your conversion process.

A recent trend I’ve noticed with my clients has to do with measuring the number of internal promotion impressions. While measuring the number of internal promotion Clickthroughs is a well-established best practice in digital analytics, measuring the number of impressions that internal promotions receive is an idea that is growing in popularity.

The main point of counting internal promotion impressions is to gauge which promotions a visitor saw on a given page before a click-through occurred. By collecting this information, marketers can understand which of their internal promotions resonate more strongly with customers and can lead to optimizing their placement on a given page.

We typically recommend that our clients collect internal promotion impressions into a delimited variable – either a List Prop or List Variable. The benefit in using these types of variables is that they split each delimited element in the list into its own line item in a report, making it much easier to understand and interpret the resultant data.

While List Props are very easy to set up, they have their limitations. All props (even List Props) are subject to a 100 character limitation, so a page with multiple internal promotions may run into truncation issues or missing data. Additionally, you cannot pull success events into any traffic report, so you’d be limited to using the Page Views, Visits, and Unique Visitors metrics.

Here’s an example of how you’d set a List Prop with a list of internal promotion impressions:


My preferred method to collect internal promotion impressions is to use a List Variable (commonly known as a “List Var”). The biggest advantage with a List Variable is that they can accept very long values. While each delimited field is limited to 255 characters, the variable itself has no length limitation. Additionally, you can pull success events into a List Variable report, which makes them much more useful in terms of understanding conversion. If you’re setting multiple internal promotions on a page, you can also add a field-level “sub-delimiter” which allows you to add additional detail to the items contained within the list.

Here’s an example of a List Variable without a field-level sub-delimiter, as well as a success event to increment an impression for each element in the list:

if (s.list1){ = s.apl(, “event1”, “,”, 2);} //if list3 is present, call event1

This is how the list would show up in a report using the code above:

And here’s an example of a List Variable with a field-level sub-delimiter, as well as a success event to increment an impression for each element in the list:

if (s.list1){ = s.apl(, “event1”, “,”, 2);} //if list1 is present, call event1

When using a List Variable, there are a few things to consider. Like Conversion Variables (eVars), the expiration and allocation settings for a List Variable can be modified. Make sure that you pay close attention to these settings and modify them as needed for your specific implementation. Each report suite only has three List Variables available, so make sure you plan accordingly! Also, in order to tie your impressions to clickthroughs, make sure that the IDs passed in your internal promotion impressions are the same as those passed upon a clickthrough!

If you’re looking for a more automated way to collect internal promotion impressions, there are a number of plugins that have been written by members of our consulting team for you to leverage. If this is something that you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to ask your friendly Analytics consultant for more information!

In a future blog post, we’ll dive into how you can optimize your reporting by analyzing the relationship between the impressions and resultant Clickthroughs that your internal promotions receive. Until then, feel free to leave a question or comment below!