Do you know where your conversions, downloads, sales, inquiries or leads are coming from?
Tracking the effectiveness of your advertising placements, whether they be on pay-per-click search engines, ad swaps with fellow publishers, or paid sponsorships, is the only way to know what’s working and what’s not.
How many people clicked the ad? How many bought your product? How many subscribed to your newsletter? Do you know? You should! Relying on log files and landing pages simply doesn’t cut it when it comes to tracking post-clickthrough activity. Here are 5 low-cost tools that help you answer the question of conversions.
Overview: PromotionStat reports and separates visitors from different advertising vehicles/sources, and tracks their behavior once they’re on your Website.
- Detects artificial/fake traffic.
- Measures the effectiveness of individual pay-per-click search engine keywords.
- Also measures "product demand" – find out which products your visitors find the most interesting.
Pricing: Starts at $19.95/month, which allows the monitoring of up to 5 pages and the serving of 100,000 ad impressions.
Overview: A collection of tools which includes an autoresponder, Web Page Spy (monitors URLs that you specify for updates), FFA Submitter (worthless in my opinion), a Lifeline (server up-time monitor), search engine submitter, and AdTracker.
The AdTracker tracks advertising campaign effectiveness and reports referring URLs, browser used, operating system used, and orders placed.
Noteworthy features: You can set up an unlimited number of personalized autoresponder messages.
Pricing: $17/month flat-fee for everything.
Overview: NetAuditNow is a service which logs onto your Web server, grabs your log files, and then uses them to spit out reports. This means NetAuditNow can replace other forms of tracking such as the use of WebTrends or Webalizer.
One of the reports that NetAuditNow generates is the advertising quality and return-on-investment report. This report compares the quantity (total and average number) to quality (time, pages viewed and purchases) of visitors who came to your site from various ad banners and links.
Noteworthy features: Can report on everything from search engine traffic to total monthly page views and unique visitors.
Pricing: Starts at $495/month (eek!)
Overview: Online reports reveal which placements generate the most sales, registrations and any other activity you want to track.
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Noteworthy features: None
Pricing: Free tracking of up to 5 campaigns. $195/month for 25 campaigns.
Overview: When you create a campaign with AdMinder, you have the option of entering the cost. This allows AdMinder to calculate not only the cost per click, but also the cost per sale (or action), and the return-on-investment for that particular campaign.
Noteworthy features: Great interface. Allows for easy management of multiple campaigns by displaying ads that are scheduled to run in the near future, and ads that are about to expire. Allows for the export of data to Excel or any other spreadsheet software.
Pricing: $19.95/month flat-fee.
Bonus: AdMinder has agreed to offer SitePoint.com visitors a free month-long trial.
In my personal opinion, after having investigated all five options presented here, AdMinder is the best choice for small business owners and entrepreneurs who are wise about their expenditures. ROIBot is a close second with slightly less comprehensive ad tracking features, but lots of other tools which may well come in handy.
Considering how long it would take to program your own tracking solution (or have your programmer do it), these services represent excellent value for anybody who spends more than a few dollars a month on advertising, or carries out extensive cross-promotions.
Matt is the co-founder of SitePoint, 99designs and Flippa. He lives in Vancouver, Canada.
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