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Eliminate the Guesswork with Ad Tracking Software

By June Campbell

When marketing gurus ask you if you test your marketing campaigns, do you mumble, blush and change the subject?

Or do any of these situations sound familiar?

  • You've placed an ad on a web site or ezine. You wonder how many people clicked through to your site.

  • You've bought keywords on a pay-per-click search engine. You wonder if you can trust the number of click-throughs that they say you are getting.

  • You've sent your articles to a number of publishers. You wonder if anybody is clicking through from your resource box.

  • You've started a new marketing campaign. You wonder how long you should pay to keep the ads running.

  • You have two ads or two banners. You wonder which one will attract the most hits.

  • You've agreed to exchange ongoing ads with another ezine publisher. A few weeks have passed and you wonder if your ad is still generating hits.

  • You want to change the web location of your sales letter. If you do, you will have to change the URL on perhaps dozens of ads, articles and other material that you have posted here and there on the Internet. You wish for a way to do this once instead of dozens of times.

Ad tracking software will solve all of these problems for you, and more. Various flavors of ad tracking software are available; some come with a range of features that you may or may not need.

Essentially, they all work like this:

Suppose you want to place an ad in two different ezines. You want to know if one ezine will generate more hits than the other. You write your ad as always, but you instruct the ad tracking software to give you a unique code to place in each URL.

  1. The URL for Ezine A could be http://www.something.com/?$#234
  2. The URL for Ezine B could be http://www.something.com/?%#4583

When clicked on, both URLs will lead the visitor to the same web page -- in this case, www.something.com.

However, the ad tracking software will register the click and include it in a report that you can access at your leisure -- either on a web page or through email.

By analyzing your reports, you can see which ezine resulted in the most clickthroughs to your site. The reports give you the answers to the questions asked earlier on.

But wait! There's one thing more.

Ad tracking software tells you how many people clicked through on which ad or banner. Wouldn't it be nice to know how many of these people made a purchase? If you could add this piece of information, you would be well on your way to having solid control of your marketing campaigns.

Some of the more sophisticated ad tracking software includes an additional feature -- a piece of coding that is added to the sales form on your web site. Now you can track the number of people who first clicked on your ad and then later clicked on the sales button to make a purchase.

Take this hypothetical example. Suppose you paid $100 for an ad in an ezine with 10,000 subscribers. With ad tracking software, you would know that the ad generated 300 clickthroughs. A little basic arithmetic will tell you that one out of 333 readers clicked through on your ad, giving you a clickthrough ratio (CTR) of 333:1.

Because you are using coding in the sales form, you also know that ten of the 300 clickthroughs also clicked on the sales form and purchased your product at a price of $29. Your rate of converting targeted visitors to buyers is 30:1.

Your campaign brought in 10 * $29 = $299 dollars. Since you paid $100 to run the ad, you made $199 profit.

And when the gurus ask you if you test, you'll be ready for them!

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