Track Online Ads to Get Better Results

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Are Your Online Ads Not Working?  Do You Even Know?

Recently I had someone ask me “I’m running some Bing Ads, how do I track this?”.

If you’re running Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, or even Bing/Yahoo PPC for your business, one simple tracking tip will greatly improve your online ads.

To know if these ads are being effective, there are a few things I’d recommend that greatly help with tracking:

  • Do you have any website analytics currently tracking visits to your site?
    If not, DO THIS NOW! Seriously, stop reading now and go install this on your blog/website right this minute. I always recommend adding Google Analytics to every website simply because it’s FREE, easy and pretty much used everywhere on the web. You’ll need a Google profile to do this, but chances are if you’re reading this then you already have a Gmail/YouTube/Google+ account.

  • Add tracking code to the end of your advertising URLs
    Don’t know what this means? Well, read on and I’ll show you.

Over the years, I’ve seen far too many online campaigns not include campaign tracking codes to the end of URLs. This is such a simple thing to do that offers so many advantages. Taking just an extra 30 seconds before you start your campaign and building specific URLs will offer you tons of more insight into what’s working than you’ve ever had before.

Google URL Builder

Now I’m not sure if people just don’t know that Google URL Builder exists, or if they’re too busy (read lazy) to create specific URLs for each campaign, but this trick will open up a world of insight to your next online marketing campaign.

Using the URL Builder will help you:

  • Easily track the source/referring website
  • Distinguish which medium people came from (sponsored post, video ad or image ad?)
  • Which creative worked (did they click on image A or image B? This is great for split testing ad creative)
  • Finally, which campaign they came from.

Many times I see people creating multiple ads, and using different types of posts all driving to the same URL, and without adding the extra tracking code (technically called UTM code) then you can’t effectively tell which link they clicked on.

For example, say you’re linking to your website sales page from Facebook. Typically this would mean you’d have several status updates/posts promoting your product, as well as maybe a paid image ad or boosted post, or even a dark post video ad driving to your site. Without “tagging” unique information to each URL you cannot really tell which post worked to drive people to your site. In this example if you were to look at the website analytics all of the clicks to the website would appear as coming from “facebook.com”. Not very effective if you’re trying to determine what people actually clicked on.

Below are some screenshots that outline how you can add custom tracking codes to the end of each URL you’re advertising.

Here’s the step-by-step process I’d use when creating destination URLs for my online advertising:

  1. Go to the Google URL Builder page (https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033867?hl=en)
  2. Enter the website URL — this is the full page URL of where I’d like all of the advertising to go to
  3. Define the Campaign Source — typically this is the website I’m advertising on
  4. Describe the Campaign Medium — describe what type of ad it is (e.g. sponsored post, image ad, etc.)
  5. Name the Campaign Content — this is IMPORTANT if you’re running different variations of the same ad. This is where you’d mark down if this is version A, and then create a new URL for version B.
  6. Give the Campaign a Name — just call it something good that you’ll remember when you later look at your analytics.
  7. Hit Submit — and then copy the URL that gets displayed in the box below

You’ll notice new add that’s created will have all this extra information tagged to the end of your URL so it’ll look like this:

http://www.yourdomain.com/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=sponsoredPost&utm_content=creativeA&utm_campaign=MyAdName

 

Then repeat this process, changing just a few variables for the different ad placements and types of creatives for your ads.

Now that you’ve effectively tagged your URLs, when you log in to review the analytics, you’ll be able to easily see exactly which advertising is working best for you.

GoogleURLbuilder
GoogleURLbuilder_help

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