An ad (link) tracker is useful for many reasons
Ad trackers normally help you discover how many views, clicks and conversions have been generated from your ads (text ads, banners, links, posts, etc.). The most sophisticated tools (like ClickMeter) also provide many additional bits of info about the source and let you compare different ads and campaigns. Some, including ClickMeter, allow you to redirect your visitors based on the rules you setup in advance, e.g. a visitor browsing from an iPhone can be redirected to the mobile version of your website (all redirect options are listed here: many ways to redirect your visitors
In this article, we would like to list some of the most common problems addressed by link tracking tools.
If you are managing web-marketing campaigns for your customers, then an ad-tracking tool is essential to optimize your efforts in many ways:
- Track performance of the web-marketing campaigns you manage for your customers without asking to integrate code in their website and without requesting passwords to access their existing tracking platforms (e.g. Google Analytics).
- Track your web-marketing campaigns (also for different customers) all in one place.
- Re-brand reports with your logo.
- Let your customers access results from their marketing campaigns online and in real-time.
- Provide third-party impartial reports.
- Access to single clicks (or views) detailed list. This allows proving data are true and eventually ask for the refund in case you discover low quality or fraud clicks.
- Compare performances from different campaigns and customers.
If you are promoting products and services for online merchants, then a link tracker is an indispensable tool you cannot live without:
- Use short URLs (instead of long and ugly URLs) in your ads.
- Optimize for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). A URL like mydomain.com/product-name is much more Search Engine Friendly than merchantdomain.com/productID?affcode:1234¶m=re33212 and the SEO is particularly effective if the tracking tool allows 301 redirect.
- Stand out using your domain in the ad link instead of the one provided by the merchant. This is essential to enforce your brand and not that of the merchant.
- Track all your promotions and links in one place without opening tons of different affiliate accounts every day.
- Cloak (mask) your affiliate codes. This will prevent someone else from changing your code with another in the redirect process (this happens quite often). This way you will not loose your commissions. More info here: how to mask my affiliates links
- Easily change your destination links: if an affiliate company changes their links, then your existing ads, wherever they are posted, become worthless. But if you use a tracking URL, you simply revise the affiliate URL at the tracking control center. This applies also if an affiliate program is discontinued: you can use the existing links to promote another merchant.
- Double-check merchant and/or affiliate network stats. They may not be truthful or detailed.
In case you are the publisher for a news website, a blog, an e-book, an e-zine, a forum or whatever produces traffic, then a link tracker is essential to optimize your traffic in quantity and quality, as well as to sell visibility to external companies:
- Detailed and real-time reports by a trusted third party provider. Whether you have or do not have an ad advertising platform, a link tracking service allows you to provide your advertiser's third party detailed reports shared in real-time. This will increase your credibility (trust) and your advertiser spending.
- Measure your readership. How many readers are really accessing your articles? What is the most read article? Which article is producing the best results (conversions) for your advertisers? From which country, organization, city are your readers coming from? Which external source/partner is sending you the most qualified readers?
- Public reports. Allows your readers to access the list of most viewed articles and promote them.
For Companies and anyone else
In case you are managing the web-marketing for your company, then a link tracker is very helpful to check your campaigns and optimize them by concentrating your time and money only on the ones that are working:
- Track all your campaigns and ads in one place. Which source is producing value? You do not have to log in to multiple control panels and access many different kinds of reports to discover what is working and what is not.
- Access very detailed reports. Most of the publisher and visibility vendors (including Google AdWords and Facebook ads) do not allow you to see stats for every single click, and some of the smaller ones do not even provide reports at all. Accessing detailed reports allows you to better target your efforts.
- Share reports with partners and colleagues
- Manage your online links propriety. When you start advertising, you publish a lot of links online. These links may remain live for years and can be compared to an online version of real estate property. Monitoring their status and productivity and being able to easily change the destination URL (e.g. in case you change the pages of your website) is very important to maximize the quantity and quality of visits to your website.
- If you want to create your own affiliate program then you need to track and share results (views, clicks and of course conversions) with your affiliates.
- Track CPC ads and stop click-fraud. You can determine if the clicks are coming from a bot or a spider or if many clicks are coming from the same IP address, etc...
- A/B testing. Discover which ads, which landing pages, which messages and so on, are providing the best results.
- Conversion funnel. What is the process your customers are following before they purchase or subscribe? Where are you loosing them? Where in the funnel do you need to optimize?
- Track ROI. Input your costs and setup conversions to track revenues. This will allow you to track in real-time the ROI (Return On Investment) for each campaign and ad.
There are many other cases where an ad tracker can be very useful, here are some:
- Track classified ads. E.g. ads in back page or CraigsList
- Stop piracy: If you use tracking URLs in your content, you can detect if someone is copying them because the unique-tracking link will most likely be copied as well.
- Privacy: You may want to post a URL somewhere and - for reasons of your own - not let it reveal your website. You can do this with an Ad Tracking program where an alternative domain name is used in the tracking URL.
- In offline marketing use the QR code to track the interest of ads and articles in newspapers, flyers, billboards, shop notice boards, magazines, and so on.
- A list of some other cases is available here: examples about using ClickMeter (real use cases)