The art of tracking has existed for as long as mankind itself.
In the natural world, the savvy tracker would follow signs to sniff out their prey. Tracking is a primal survival technique that early human beings needed to learn pretty quickly if they were going to live a long life or any kind of life at all.
In many ways, these rules to our survival still resonate as much as they did all those many moons ago.
However, in this modern digital era, tracking and the tools used for survival have become much more complex, much more automated, and the prey is now the consumer.
You see we are still putting food on the table – just in a different, more civilised and sophisticated way. Let’s hope so, at least.
In this blog, we will cover:
- What is digital ad tracking?
- Why is it important?
- Benefits of tracking?
- What can be measured?
- What tools do you need?
So, what is digital ad tracking?
Fundamentally speaking, digital ad tracking is the process of using digital tools to collect user data. Then once the data is collected, marketers track just how well an ad performs. Its success is then measured by how wide its reach is and, most importantly, the results and revenue it generates for your business.
Pretty straight forward. But why is it important to track your digital ads?
Good question. Let’s answer it together.
Why is digital ad tracking important?
Digital tracking provides you with measurable data that can prove what is working and what is not with your marketing and advertising assets.
Remember, tracking applies to just about everything in life. It’s not just specific to you and your businesses ads. For instance, when a doctoral candidate sets out a hypothesis, they don’t just give a really good argument of why they believe it to be true. They must go out and test it and get hard evidence to prove it is indeed true.
So too is marketing a science that requires measuring data along with understanding, testing and revising it.
Benefits of ad tracking:
Here’s 5 good reasons why ad tracking is important to your organisation and its marketing and advertising campaigns:
- Gives you insights into your audience, their interests, motivations, buying patterns, and behaviours.
- Allows you the chance to tailor targeted messaging to different target audiences.
- Allows you to monitor conversions, test them, tweak them, and know how to target future ads for greater ROI.
- Provides you with an opportunity to set growth goals and have a comprehensive strategy for achieving these goals.
- Shows you where to invest your money and where to cut back your expenditure to lower ad spend and potential waste.
So, just what can be measured?
There are many metrics that can be measured via ad tracking, but here are a few useful ones:
1. Website Traffic
With website traffic, you have the opportunity to see just how many people visit your site from a well-placed ad, how long they stay for, what they search for, and at which point they leave, so that you can improve the ad content, the user experience and sales funnel.
2. CTR – Click-Through Rate
This metric shows you just how many people clicked on the link in the ad and can also reveal to you just how effective your landing page is in both engaging and servicing the relevant need/s of your audience.
3. CPC – Cost Per Click
This represents the fee you pay for the digital platform you use every time someone clicks on your ad, determined by a combination of factors such as your bidding strategy, keyword competition, quality score, and more. Your CPC results are affected by how compelling your ad is (CTR), its use of relevant keywords, and the quality of your landing page.
4. Sales Conversion Rates
Sales conversion rates demonstrate to you just how many people have actually clicked on the ad and actively went on to purchase the product you are offering. This is a vital statistic because sales conversion rates equal revenue and income for you.
5. ROAS – Return on Advertising Spend
Return on advertising spend essentially allows you to see your ad spend and compare it to your income from a particular ad spend. It’s important to also know your margins. Remember, it takes money to make money. But you don’t want to be spending more than you receive.
What tools do you need to track ad performance?
Like anything, to master the art of ad tracking, there are a few main tools that you need to get to know and master namely: Cookies, Tracking Pixels, and Tracking URLs.
Cookies are small pieces of data stored on a user’s device when they visit a specific website. These are important as they allow you to:
- Collect user data to customise the user experience by saving things like login details, search activity, location, and language.
- Track visits to your website – if one user visits multiple times in a day, a cookie will ensure you only count it as one visit.
- See consumer activity, what they viewed, and where they left the site, so you can retarget them.
This is a minuscule image you can insert into emails, newsletters, display ads, or webpages to track user search activity and retarget them with Facebook ads. Tracking pixels are useful for the following reasons:
- They track user behaviour and see where they fell off the sales funnel so you can retarget them.
- They also track how many times your ad gets clicked, and how successful your ad campaign was at conversions.
A tracking URL is one you create to track campaigns. It looks like a normal URL but with a tracking token or UTM parameter attached to the end.
They allow you to:
- Measure the effectiveness of your specific campaign.
- Measure the effectiveness of your chosen platform i.e., Google, website, newsletter.
- Measure the effectiveness of your medium i.e., email, banner, CPC ad.
iOS 14.5 and your ad space
You may (or may not) be aware that Apple recently released the latest version of its mobile operating system, known as iOS 14.5. Why is this important to you and your ad space?
Well, if anything, it’s a timely reminder to all business owners to reassess how you store, manage, use and track data. And, if you haven’t done so already, then now is the time to bring it all in house, as it will save you in more ways than one in the long run.
The new operating system features a new privacy feature, which provides users more control over their data and allows them to avoid tracking in apps, which is great for the user but not so great for you or the giant tech companies.
Facebook, Google and all the major players have long relied on this information for years in order to track and monitor consumer behaviour, which means it really is time you took better care of your own ad tracking yourself, without relying on external parties to do all the work for you.
Ad tracking takeaways
Tracking is the formula that leads you to increased success and ROI. If you have the time and energy, it’s possible to learn to do it yourself. If you don’t, a digital agency can set up, test, analyse, and update your ad tracking for you. Either way, it will get you on the right track to achieving your marketing and business goals.