How to Track Online Results Yourself

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” – John Wanamaker (attributed)

What can we learn from this quote? Perhaps that John Wanamaker didn’t have Google Analytics installed. Actually, Digital Throttle supplies all advertisers full reporting, but you might still want to track results on your own. For the price (free), Google Analytics is the best tool to use for tracking clicks upon ads and also monitoring your own website.

Why track your campaigns?

First, while we will report every click sent to your landing pages, you will want to verify our reporting. Secondly, the biggest error advertisers make is relying on "referrer" website reports from Google Analytics or other web-tracking software. While it's true online ads are SEEN on a specific website, the ads technically appear through an "ad server" which is it's own URL. As a result, your website receives a click not from the site URL, but from the ad serving software used to place your ad on the website page. In essence there are two URLs at work together when it comes to online advertising: (1) the actual site the consumer is looking at and (2) the ad serving software URL that renders your ad on the page. Your "referrer reports" will only record the URLs associated with the later (2) mentioned.

How do you set up tracking codes?

You should use tracking codes on ALL paid advertising. Not only are these paid spots you want to measure, but most ads appear within ad servers such as our own ad serving or Google's DoubleClick. As mentioend above, most clicks on ads will not be attributed to a website unless you use a tracking code. Also, if you have multiple creative ads running, you'll want a tracking code to measure each ad. The three (3) primary values you'll want to monitor through your tracking code are:  

  • Campaign Source: such as the name of the audience (i.e. "Drag Racing Sites") or target where your ad is running;
  • Campaign Medium: used to specify the type of ad, such as "banner", "video", "Facebook", etc.
  • Campaign Name: which helps you differentiate between different campaigns, such as “April Rebate” vs. “May Tire Promotion” or to test different banner ads.

 Now, if that seems overly complex, don’t worry: Google offers a tool called the URL Builder that will generate your links for you. Simply enter four pieces of information:

  • the website URL you’re linking to,
  • the campaign source,
  • the campaign medium, and
  • the name you give your campaign.

Then click on the “Generate URL” button…Google will provide you with a URL ready to cut-and-paste. 

Measuring Your Results

Once your campaign has launched, you’ll be able to measure your success in Google Analytics. Please see the attached PDF on exactly how to navigate through Google Analytics to locate the click results.



In Conclusion The takeaway is that you need to use tracking codes for your ad campaigns in addition to using our online reports. By measuring your results you can continually improve your ROI and build a stronger, more effective web presence. If you need help setting up your own tracking, or even advice on what metrics you should be tracking, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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