WebEx Event Center gives you a built-in ability to track the effectiveness of your web seminar promotion and marketing through various channels. You do this by adding a Source ID parameter to your registration URLs for a scheduled webinar.
Let's say you schedule a webinar and you want people to register for it in advance. WebEx gives you a web page address (aka: a URL) that everyone uses to register for the event. But how do you tell which people registered because they saw your press release, who came from your newsletter sponsorship ad, and who came because of an email sent through a rented list? Simple... You add a special code at the end of the registration link. The code can be different in each location that you use the link.
For instance, if your registration page is found at registerhere.com, in your press release you write it as registerhere.com&SourceId=PR. In your newsletter ad you encode it as registerhere.com&SourceId=NL. In your home page banner ad you code the link as registerhere.com&SourceId=HP. The codes can be any length you want (I used two letters to keep the examples short) and you can use as many different ones as you want to track.
When a person clicks through to register, the Source code is automatically stored along with the rest of their registration information. Your registration reports give you a way to check the numbers of people who came from each source, easily letting you see which promotional channels are effective and which aren't working so well.
I love this feature and I can't believe more vendors haven't built it into their registration systems. But WebEx needs to finish off the functionality so it works better in practical use.
For one thing (as I previously reported), the Source ID is only tracked if you send people directly to the registration page for a single event. If your promotional activities are designed to send people to a WebEx page that lists several upcoming webinars, when they click through to the registration for one of the listed events, the SourceId is lost. It would be SO easy for WebEx to build a pass-down feature that copies the SourceId for a listings page to the individual registration pages, but they don't do it.
The second design quirk is that registration sources are listed only on the registration report for an event, not the attendance report. There is a column in the attendance report with the same "Lead Source ID" title as the one in the registration report, but it doesn't have any values next to the attendees' names. I thought this was a bug and got WebEx tech support to work on it. Eventually they came back with my favorite phrase from the world of software support... "That's Not A Bug, That's A Feature."
They say that the attendance Lead Source ID is reserved for sending people different links in the instructions to join an event. Considering that WebEx makes a big deal out of using their automated instruction email templates, which send the same text to every registrant, I can't see this getting used a lot. Do I really want to create a manual process to change the instruction email for each attendee? And then repeat that for reminder emails before the event?
WebEx says I should just use the registration report to track the Lead Sources by looking at the Yes/No field for whether they attended. But I get different names and information on my attendance report that aren't included in the registration list. I don't want to spend my time bouncing back and forth between the two reports, trying to match and merge data. The situation is not helped by the fact that the registration report lies... It will tell you a person didn't attend if they join the event by typing in their email address using different capitalization than they used upon registration. So if Joe.Schmo@xyz.biz registers and then email@example.com attends, your registration report says he didn't make it to the event. This is outrageous and has caused me plenty of wasted time in manually reviewing report lists.
I hope WebEx upgrades the lead tracking functionality soon. It's a tremendously valuable tool and it's a strong competitive differentiator. But it could be so much more useful with a little tweaking to match real use cases.
PS: [Attention -- This postscript is completely unfair and off topic, but I know that WebEx employees read this blog and I simply haven't been able to get my frustration up the chain through repeated comments to my tech support reps, so I'm going to use my blog as a bully pulpit.]
Hey, WebEx... When I call tech support as a paying customer with a problem, the last thing I want to hear while on hold is an overly enthusiastic voiceover giving me nonstop advertisements to buy more WebEx products. It's pretty safe to assume that I'm not in a receptive mode for purchase and benefit exhortations while waiting for someone to deal with my confusion or frustration.
And when I call repeatedly as an account administrator, it gets a little tiring to have to spell out my name, email address, and phone number before I'm allowed to say anything else to the support rep. I know I'm in your computer system. Can't you do a lookup on my info based on one identifying piece of information? Heck, I'll even write down a reference ID for myself and use that. I want to feel like you (the corporate You) recognize me and acknowledge the fact that we have an established relationship and history.
Ahhh... It felt good to get that off my chest. I'll probably regret airing these snide comments in a public forum, but you are the market leader by a mile and frustrations build up when I use you for so many client events. Thanks for listening!