Conversion Tracking is the process of placing a small piece of code in your ad, landing page or thank you page to record the movements of your visitors. The recorded data can be used to find out what aspects of your advertising and website design are working and what ones aren't. Tracking allows you to test multiple ads, keywords, landing pages and offers, and compare the results. In this lesson we'll take a look at How Conversion Tracking Works and How to Use it Effectively.
Why should you bother with tracking? Because simply knowing how many sales you are making isn't enough.
If you are spending a lot of money on a particular pay-per-click campaign or you've spent quite a few hours setting up what you hope is a killer email blast, then it's nothing less than basic business sense to use some sort of tracking to find out whether that time and money is paying off.
Let's say you start promoting a learn guitar product like Jamorama. After about a month, you can see that you are making, on average, 10 sales a day. If you are making a profit, that's good - but what if you're not? At this point, you have no idea whether that's because your pay-per-click ads aren't very good, whether your landing page is putting people off, or whether you are spending too much promoting the wrong keywords!
On the other hand, let's say you are making a profit. In this case, tracking might not seem so critical — but consider how much more profit you could get if you found that, for example, your pay-per-click ad for the keyword 'learn how to play bass guitar' was getting twice as many conversions as your ad for the keyword 'how to play acoustic guitar'. You could then reduce your spend on the 'acoustic guitar' ad, and increase your return on investment!
There are several different methods of tracking:
If you are a Clickbank affiliate, then you can use Clickbank's tracking codes to precisely follow a visitor's path to purchase. By assigning a unique tracking code to different adgroups and promotions, you can determine exactly which ad or promotion brought you the sale.
If you use Google, Yahoo or MSN pay-per-click, then you can set up tracking to find out which keywords and adgroups are most effective.
Or, you can use a third-party tracking software, such as Xtreme Conversions, which will combine data from all affiliate networks and pay-per-click advertising to show you exactly what keywords are the most profitable.
Google, Yahoo and MSN allow you to place their conversion tracking codes on your "thank you" pages so that you can see how many sales resulted from each adgroup, and how much each sale cost you.
Let's take a look at Google:
Setting up Google tracking is very simple and involves placing a small piece of code on the conversion page of your website or the website of the merchant. The conversion page is the page that confirms the particular action you wanted your visitors to take, such as the page that says 'thank you for purchasing X software' or 'thank you for signing up to my email list'.
Remember that tracking isn't restricted to sales. Adwords tracking lets you follow leads, signups, page views of an important page on your website or any other detail specific to your business.
Here's the process:
1. Log in to your Google AdWords account and click on "Conversion Tracking" at the bottom.
2. Click the large "+ CONVERSION" button to get started. Give your conversion a name, and select the source of your conversion (which is likely to be "web page" for affiliates.)
3. You'll then set the value, count, window, and category of the conversion you'd like to track. These will all change depending on the type of conversion you're tracking. For example, if you were tracking sales where you get a 59% commission, it might look something like this:
Whereas if you were tracking leads, you might select different options like so:
If you're ever confused about what to select, the little question marks to the right of each setting name are very helpful.
4. Then you have the option of choosing whether or not you want the little tracking indicator to appear on your page. If you're tracking on your own website, such as on a thank-you page, this is a good idea because Google is quite fond of that kind of openness.
5. Next you'll get the code! There are options for you whether you do your own page code, or you get someone else to do it. You can either send it to whoever does your code, or copy it to your clipboard.
6. You should put this code on the page that appears after your visitor has carried out the action you want them to do. If you wish to track sales, then you will need to ask the product merchant to paste your Google Adwords code into the "thank you" page of the product that you are promoting. Most merchants who are serious about helping their affiliates achieve great sales will do this for you.
7. As you start to gather clicks and sales, you'll be able to see some new details appearing in your Google account: cost, conversion rate, cost per conversion and conversions. You can drill down to view this data at either the adgroup or keyword level.
8. To find your return on investment for keywords or campaigns, go to the Reports tab and run a keyword performance or campaign report.
Adding tracking code for Yahoo and MSN is a very similar process, and there is nothing to stop you from having all three codes in one conversion page.
Unfortunately, Google tracking isn't always entirely accurate. If there are other affiliates also making sales off the product that you are promoting it's not uncommon for their sales to be mistakenly registered by Google as yours; this is why we recommend that you only use Google conversion tracking as a rough indicator of how well each keyword is performing - you will need to use an alternative method if you want more accurate tracking.
We will discuss the first of two methods that we currently recommend:
Google Adwords tracking let's you narrow down which ads are working, but what if you are using several different promotional methods for each product you promote? How do you compare how valuable a pay-per-click adgroup is compared to your newsletter advertising for example?
The answer is by using Clickbank tracking.
Clickbank affiliates can choose an 8 character tracking code to put on the end of their hoplink. The code you create might represent a particular keyword group for example, so that when you view your Clickbank analytics, you can see every sale resulting from that ad.
For instance, you might choose your assign the ID 'quit0988' to your 'quit smoking' adgroup, and the ID 'stop0998' to your 'stop smoking' adgroup.
Then you can login to Clickbank, go to Reporting/Analytics and see how many sales came from each adgroup.
Assuming that you own a website and are sending traffic to a landing page on that site, before sending them onto your affiliate offer, this means that, in order to get extremely accurate results, you'll need to create different landing pages for each adgroup that you set up.
Each landing page will need to have a different Clickbank tracking id attached so that you know which landing page generated the sale.
You can either do this manually, which is fine, or you can save yourself a great deal of time by using a tool such as Speed PPC.
Speed PPC will generate all of your landing pagesm adgroups, ad text and keywords, saving you hours of time.
Check out SpeedPPC.com for more details.
With Clickbank tracking IDs, you can also create separate tracking IDs for blog promotions, email promotions and viral PDFs, resulting in some extremely valuable information that will help you optimize your ads and find out where you should be focusing your efforts for best return on investment.
Clickbank tracking codes are very easy to set up: just enter your code into the provided field when creating your hoplink. Be sure to keep a list of each code and what it represents in a spreadsheet somewhere – if you're tracking a lot of different things at once it's easy to get confused!
Xtreme Conversions is an innovative software package that precisely tracks what keywords are making money. It works in combination with Google, Yahoo, MSN and about 100 affiliate networks, including Clickbank, Commission Junction, Azoogle and Amazon.
The program works in a similar way to Clickbank and Google tracking, in that you just ask the product owner to insert some code into their "thank you" page. However, the advantage of Xtreme Conversions is that it accurately shows you the most profitable keywords in any market within a couple of weeks of set up. Among other things, the software ensures you don't spend more money on pay-per-click than you have to; it also improves your click-through rate, which in turn, increases your quality score! Amir Darwish, creator of Xtreme Conversions, has put together some excellent tutorial videos and case studies that take you through installation and set-up, so we won't bother with that here.
Let's just skip ahead and look at the most interesting part — the data it provides:
If you are a Clickbank affiliate, then all you need to do is download the CSV report that contains your tracking IDs and sales information and upload it to Xtreme conversions to find out exactly which keywords generated those sales.
In this example you might see, for a campaign promoting a "cure yeast infections" product, you could drill right down to find that the keyword 'what causes yeast infections' has brought in more sales than any other keyword.
Armed with this knowledge you could now increase your return on investment by setting up an adgroup around that keyword. Although you won't be earning any more by doing this, you will be paying less and increasing your click-through rate.
It would also then be a good idea to create a special landing page for 'what causes yeast infections' to increase your quality score and hopefully, your conversion rat; you may also want to start advertising on this keyword in Yahoo and MSN.
The benefits of Xtreme conversions don't stop at pay-per-click - once you know that a keyword is profitable you can then look at optimizing your landing page or website for the search engines.
We highly recommend Xtreme conversions software to Affilorama members because it reduces a lot of the risk of pay-per-click advertising and ultimately saves a lot of money.
You find out more information about Xtreme conversions, or purchase a copy at http://www.affilorama.com/redirect/conversions