Start Teaching
Back to Stories
Ad tracking helps you improve sales
  • Nov 18, 2020
  • 2 minutes

Ad tracking helps you improve sales

Why should you track ads? Tracking helps you decide what is working and what isn't. What's more, tracking will help you improve your advertising results incrementally but steadily.

Ad Tracking Metrics

Here are the important metrics:

Click-through rate (%) = number of people who click on your ad. This tells you how effective your ad is. As you improve the copy on your ad, this should increase.

Conversion rate (%) = number of sales/number of visitors to your landing page. This tells you the effectiveness of the sales copy on your landing page. As you improve your copy and your process, the rate should go up.

Marketing Cost per Sale ($) = cost of ad/number of sales directly attributable to the ad. This metric is the gold you must determine. It shows you which ad campaigns you want to scale up (if they are scalable) and which aren't good investments.

The Poor Man's Tracking Method

The "poor man's" ad tracker requires no cost. Set up a separate landing page for every ad and a separate SKU for every landing page. You can find the click-through rate to each landing page by checking your traffic logs and the number of sales by seeing how many of that SKU you've sold. Then just do the math to find the conversion rate and the marketing cost per sale.

Tracking by Tagging URLs

Here's a handy trick I've used for years for quick and dirty tracking. Include a code following a question mark in your URL. Anything following a question mark in the URL won't affect the page the customer lands on. This URL with the tracking tag will show up in your traffic logs.

PPC Ad Tracking Programs

A better way to track ads, however, is to use software that allows you to track ad click-throughs, webpage visitors, and sales.

If you're doing primarily Pay Per Click (PPC) ads with Overture or Google AdWords, you can use Overture's Conversion Counter or Google's AdWords conversion tracking feature. These work by pasting some JavaScript code on the "thank you" page of your e-commerce ordering system. They tell you the number of sales, but not the amount of those sales. The tools described below require a bit of programming on your "thank you" page to capture the sales total, but they give you substantially more information.

If you're doing a lot of PPC ads, you can sign up for Atlas OnePoint with the ProfitBuilder module that will track and organize sales numbers and amounts from all your keyword buys on OvertureGoogleFindWhatKanoodle, etc. Atlas OnePoint is a bit pricey but will help you consolidate and fine-tune your campaigns - and save time and money if you are active in PPC advertising.

Multi-Purpose Ad Tracking Programs

Other ad tracking programs that I recommend include:

ProAnalyzer, a CGI program written in Perl that installs on your website. Does ad tracking and simple split-testing.

ClickAlyzer is a service that tracks both sales and a visitor's path through your site, plus split-testing capabilities and a built-in affiliate program.

ConversionRuler is a service that builds simple tracking codes into each URL you use in an ad - with up to three parameters including keyword, if you like.

1ShoppingCart is a multi-purpose service that includes a built-in ad tracker, listserver, autoresponder, shopping cart, digital delivery system, and affiliate program. 

Once you begin to track ads by the number of actual sales, you have a handle on exactly what's happening and will be able to fine-tune your advertising. You'll know which ads are most effective and you'll be able to isolate the problems in an ad campaign – in the e-mail subject line or PPC ad title, the ad content, or the landing page. You'll know how much you need to allocate in advertising to sell a certain amount of product. So by all means track!

Recommended instructors

Find instructors for your goals & budget.