Press releases can be tricky ani­mals to track since they get dis­trib­uted all across the web to var­i­ous con­tent providers and you really have min­i­mal con­trol over the site to which it is posted.  Since it’s sim­ple HTML, you can’t embed any JavaScript, which makes the fully fea­tured s_code and/or Site­Cat­a­lyst plu­g­ins unavailable.

How­ever, even with these lim­i­ta­tions it’s pos­si­ble to track not only how many peo­ple viewed an arti­cle, but you can even see the web addresses from which peo­ple were read­ing the article.

The key to suc­cess is embed­ding a sim­ple “hard-coded” Site­Cat­a­lyst image request in the press release that looks some­thing like this:

<img src=“http://company.112.2o7.net/b/ss/reportsuiteID/1/H.24.2/0?v1=PRESS_RELEASE_TITLE&v2=PRESS_RELEASE_ID&v3=D=Referer”/>

Here’s what each of these para­me­ters mean:

  • The “v1” and “v2” para­me­ters rep­re­sent eVars 1 & 2, which in this exam­ple are used to store the title and ID of the press release.  In fact, any eVar can be used, how­ever it should be noted that light server calls can only track eVars, not props. If it’s nec­es­sary to use props, use “c1” and “c2” instead.
  • Para­me­ter “v3” is used to store the dynamic vari­able “D=Referer”.  What hap­pens here is the most mag­i­cal part.  Site­Cat­a­lyst dynamic vari­ables have the abil­ity to actu­ally pull the web URL where the press release is posted using the http request head­ers (in this case the “Ref­erer” header)– no JavaScript nec­es­sary!  For this exam­ple, eVar 3 would be pop­u­lated with the URL on which the press release was located.  It may seem like “Ref­erer” (inten­tion­ally spelled “Ref­erer” rather than “Refer­rer”) would cap­ture the refer­rer to the page, but it actu­ally stores the URL of the actual press release.

Once the image request is embed­ded in your press release, Adobe Engi­neer­ing Ser­vices can cre­ate a VISTA rule to pop­u­late a 4th vari­able with the domain where the press releases were found, which can give you an idea of which sites were most suc­cess­ful for your press release.

Press releases may be tricky to mea­sure, but tag­ging these releases with Site­Cat­a­lyst server calls pro­vides an awe­some, JavaScript-free way of under­stand­ing what press releases are really doing for your business.

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