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ServerOwl™ How to Track Your Online Advertising?

Last modified: March 17, 2019

There are a number of tactics used to get a better idea of what advertising is working and which ads are bring people to your website. A variety of tactics are needed because different advertisers have different rules that prevent one tactic or another.

The ideal method of tracking online advertising is to track both impressions for the ad and responses or clicks from that ad. Ideally we can achieve that in a similar method to tracking visitors to your website with an embedded pixel. If your advertiser allows you to upload either HTML5 JavaScript ads, or bland HTML ads, then embedding a dynamic or static pixel is an option.

However many of the larger advertisers such as Facebook and Google Ads will prevent you from adding content that's downloaded from a remote third party's server to record an ads impression. In these situations you are forced to take the advertiser's word for the amount of impressions your online ad receives, but we are able to track and verify the results from the ad.

Within ServerOwl, you can create Campaigns or Properties to represent your online ad. Once you have embedded the pixel on your website's landing page, you can then use the landing page parameter to identify which source your website visitor used to come to your website. If used in conjunction with the ad's impressions, you can see just how affective your ad has been.

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Using ServerOwl to collect statistical information on your online advertising, a large pinch of salt is needed when interpreting those statics. In our experience comparing online adverts with one another, you really need to understand what service that advertiser is offering you.

From our own empirical evidence, you need to classify advertisers into two groups, the first being advertisers like Google whose AdWords on their search engine are displayed once a consumer has decided to purchase the good or service they are currently searching for and therefore will naturally have a very high impression to result rate.

This is compared to advertisers like Facebook who display their ads to a class of people who may or may not know that your good or service exists, and rarely has already made the decision to purchase your products at the time they see your ad.

This creates the situation where a customer might see your ad on Facebook, then a couple of days later decide to investigate or purchase your products and use Google to re-find your website. The statistical information will record that the purchaser came from Google, although it was your ad on Facebook that introduced the consumer to your products and made them decide to purchase.

It is these effects that have taught us to compare the effectiveness of one ad to another by only comparing like ads to one another and not all potential advertisers to one another. Also it has taught us to use somewhat extrapolated KPIs to compare the overall effectiveness on an online campaign then the stright this customer came from this advertiser.

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