The importance of effective tracking on your advertising

The article below is a guest contribution from Matt Vann of Oxegen Media, a London based company whose focus rests solely on advertising for retail trading of commodity futures and forex.

[dropcap color=”#000000″ font=”tahoma”]I[/dropcap]t really baffles me that in this day and age, when computers have been around for an eternity, and web marketing has been with us in one form or another for over a decade, that we routinely have conversations with advertisers about tracking results from their digital advertising. Usually the conversation goes something like this:
Oxegen: “So, how are you going to track this?”

Advertiser: “What’s that now?”

What usually follows at this point is a long drawn out conversation about ROI, and the marketing guy I’m talking to professes that Google Analytics gives them all the tracking information they need, and they neither need nor want anything else.

Well, guess what? Analytics is good, but it simply doesn’t allow for trackable reports to the back end of a decent marketing platform and on-the-fly optimisation. For example, with a number of our campaigns we tend to stipulate the use of tracking pixels on landing pages and conversion pages. That way, if a user clicks on a display creative such as a banner and hits your landing page, we can see that via a tracking pixel, because we serve that pixel to them as they land. Simple, right? However, if they fail to interact with an application or form on that webpage, and bounce off without going further – as a lot of traffic does – we can see that too, because they’ve only picked up the Landing Page pixel, not the Conversion pixel that was placed on the Thank you page; that’s the one they’d have been given right after they’d signed up, or completed an application.

So, because we know they’ve not gone through the application process, we can actually serve them a different creative, perhaps to try and tempt them back, with some kind of bonus offer, or an educational offering. Something that makes them think “Hey, I remember X brand … maybe I should have another look”. Likewise, if they have gone through the process and picked up that conversion pixel, we can see that too and remove them from further marketing, saving on ad spend – because they’re already a converted prospect at that point.

This is the kind of advertising that can really make a difference to ROI, targeting the same people who’ve already visited your site, and are now a little familiar with your brand – certainly it’s something we see work, time and time when it’s correctly implemented. With different pixels in different places on your site or application, we can even see how far people have got through the application, and combined with a system such as Analytics, together it’s possible to figure out just where things are going wrong in your conversion funnel. If we can pixel all the pages on the site, we can closely follow a users’ behavior and see exactly what they’re looking at.  Okay, some organizations may have a problem with third party pixels, and to that I say “Get over it”. We’re trying to help you with your campaign here!

However, the “maybe I should have another look” approach I referred to a couple of paragraphs ago is the marketers nightmare and heaven-sent wish at the same time, partly because a lot of advertisers simply do not attach view-through statistics to their campaigns. View-through refers to the number of conversions that happened within 30 days of a user seeing, but not necessarily clicking, an ad to which they’ve been exposed. Brand awareness, if you like – and it’s these smart advertising campaigns, focused on brand awareness and using view-through as a metric, rather than the eons-old first-click metric, that really show us the effectiveness of smart digital marketing. Anybody can throw a banner up on a plethora of webpages through the miracles of RTB (Real Time Bidding) and GDN (Google Display Network), but tracking it and focusing on what is really bringing you results is what’s important in your marketing budget. Get it wrong and you may as well set fire to that budget instead.

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