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AD Tracking: The Overlooked Key To Your Success

Feb 4, 2008
Though often misunderstood, ad tracking is at its core a process for simply counting how many people respond to a particular advertisement. Typically this tracking is usually done by tracking the number of clicks or visitor actions.

Using ad tracking (also known as analytics) on your own site can be done using via Active Server Pages (ASP), Common Gateway Interface (CGI) or Personal Home Page (PHP) script - or can be done through a third party ad tracking service provider, also known as remotely hosted servers or through a combination of these.

Software of this type ranges from free - as in the case of Google Analytics (at the time of this publication) to twenty five thousand dollars a month for the very high end tracking solutions.

Ad tracking platforms & software vary but all monitor the traffic coming onto your site and the results or goals achieved from this traffic, and can mean the difference between making little to no money on your site, and making a killing.

Ad analytics tracking software relate traffic directly to marketing activities and then translate those activities into measured results, giving you the ability to calculate a return on your advertising dollars spent.

Ad tracking also monitors the clicks that you receive for all your advertizing campaigns, such as e-mail marketing, banner ads, affiliate programs, classified advertising, bulletin board, e-zine advertising, forum, links on other websites, pay-per-click ads, among others.

Some tracking software also offers integration into legacy systems, sales management, customer profiling, and scheduling.

With most service providers and software It is possible to set up an unlimited number of tracking links or URLs in advertisements, such as on a web page, in an email, a pay per click ad, etc.

Ad tracking helps save time and maximize results from your marketing expenditure by giving you access to the following information:

* Number of visits generated by each of your ads
* Number of unique visits generated by all of your ads
* Which ads generate the most visits and the most sales
* Number of sales (or other actions) generated by each ad
* Cost-per-click, cost-per-sale and click-to-sale ratios for each ad
* Return on investment for each ad, so as to know which are profitable
* Organization of the important details about your ad campaigns

Overall, ad tracking is an invaluable tool in understanding the response to any promotions you run in your messages or in your website.

But the real hidden advantage of ad tracking is targeted conversion improvement. Lot's of businesses just don't get this but if they did, their profits would skyrocket!

For example let's say that your testing indicates that you are running three news letter ads, in three different newsletters. If you are tracking your sales, and where they came from you would have no way of knowing which of these newsletters pulled better for you and so you'd just keep paying to run your add in all three.

However, if you track the sales, you might find that newsletter #1 generated ten sales, newsletter # 2 zero sales, and newsletter # 3, one sale.

Now if you made a profit of $50 per sale and each newsletter ad cost $50.00, you're your ad newsletter #1 made you $500, your ad in newsletter #2 COST you money, and newsletter #3 you broke even on.

With this information you can quickly see where your ad is working and where it's not.

Using the example above you would be better served by taking the money you spent on newsletter # 2 and advertising elsewhere.

Ad tracking gives you the power to know where your advertising is working, where you are making money and where it's being wasted. This allows you to focus your advertising budget on only the ad sources that are profitable.

Here are some of the better tracking solutions on the market. The depth of features offered varies by price, but all will allow you to track your ads and make more money.

http://analytics.google.com
http://www.clicktracks.com
http://www.onestat.com/
http://www.1automationwiz.com/split-testing-software.htm
http://www.webtrends.com

The bottom line is that if you are not testing and more importantly, tracking your advertising results, you could be leaving money on the table. Worse yet, you could be losing money.

The take away here is do not even consider spending a dime on advertising until you have a tracking mechanism in place.
About the Author
Don Schnure is CEO of 1AutomationWiz.com, the the all-in-one ecommerce software provider,used by smart entrepreneurs' world wide.
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