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Tracking The Success Of Your Ad Campaigns

A common concern of advertisers is how to cost effectively track ad campaigns without having to have expensive tracking software or complicated scripts.

Below are guidelines for dealing with banner management and click tracking:

1) EMAIL: Because link popularity is not an issue with email campaigns using scripts for tracking is fine. However, if you want you can write the link as follows http://www.yoursite.com?campaign#person-name where the person's name could be scripted into the link so you can see if certain individuals are visiting the site as a result of the email blast. For larger campaigns I recommend putting 1 pixel by 1 pixel image (call the image for example campaign#.jpg) into the email that loads of your server and just have a link that is in the following format http://www.yoursite.com?campaign# In your web logs you can see the number of times the emails were opened from the number of image loads and what number of people visited as a result.

2) RADIO: Here I recommend providing a short easy to remember link for people to visit. (for ex. yoursite.com instead of http://www.yoursite.com/radioad.html) Tracking the success of a radio ad can be achieved by tracking the visits before the radio campaign and after the campaign. There should be a spike if the campaign is successful. Remember look at your past weekly/daily trends to know for sure if the spike in traffic is due to the ad and not a weekly trend. I recommend doing radio ads on a Tuesday or Wednesday because people most often go online on Wednesdays and the site would be fresh in their mind. Another thing you can do to encourage a stronger conversation and success of your radio ad is to have a banner on your front page that directs those that heard the radio ad to click her for more information. You can easily track this in your web logs.

3) BANNERS ADS: There are many ways to deal with tracking banner ads. First you must decide whether you wish to benefit from the resulting link. Scripted links in a banner are not indexable by the search engines. So if you seek benefit from the banner link for link popularity than use one of the following. For the banner link use a question mark after your URL and some description so that you can track the ad campaign. For example http://www.yoursite.com?campaign# The search engines will ignore the stuff that appears after the question mark and you web server will ignore it too. So link will result in the user going to http://www.yoursite.com instead of some broken link. However, your web logs will show it. I recommend keeping the number of characters after the question mark below 8.

The reason is traditionally search engines will ignore long URLs so it is best to play it safe. Also, remember to use an ALT tag for the banner image. The ALT tag should be one keyword phrase, this will count as anchor text for the link and improve ranking toward that phrase. The reason to avoid multiple phrases or keyword stuffing is Yahoo seems give benefit to the whole phrase rater the individual phrases or keywords. For example using "keyword phrase1 and keyword phrase2" will improve ranking for only the complete phrase and not the individual phrases and it is unlikely that someone would search for this long phrase. Another strategy is to create landing pages that are only linked by the banner ad or Adword campaign. If the landing page is a duplicate page Google will ignore it but if it is a clone of another internal page Google might give some link benefit to the original page. Do not duplicate content/pages from other sites this will cause problems.

by Allan Pollett CEO of Global Net Trade

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