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Display Advertising Tracking

Display ad tracking is a critical element of the campaign, as it enables advertisers to determine how many conversions the campaign is producing and calculate ROI. If tracking is incomplete or improperly set up, advertisers may grossly overestimate or underestimate the effectiveness of their display ads.

Display Advertising Tracking in Google Analytics

Within the Google Analytics platform, advertisers are able to track several key campaign elements, including:

  • CPC Tracking — Cost per click (CPC) is a major factor in ROI calculations for display advertising.
  • Event Tracking — Event tracking in Google Analytics allows advertisers to monitor how users are interacting with its website; for example, how many times a particular call-to-action button was clicked.
  • Goal Tracking — Goal tracking monitors how many users complete a campaign goal, such as downloading a particular PDF or ordering a particular product.
  • Conversion Rate Tracking — Another key campaign metric is conversion rate -- the percentage of users who complete a conversion activity. The higher the conversion rate, the more effective the campaign.
  • E-commerce Tracking — For e-commerce campaigns, e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics allows advertisers to measure transaction data and item data to evaluate where the profitable conversions are.

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Conversion Tracking

Display ad tracking occurs on several fronts. Managing this area correctly requires a sophisticated understanding of online tracking details.

  • Google AdWords Conversion Tracking — Google provides advertisers with special conversion code to track various types of conversions, including purchases, sign-ups, conversions through Android apps, conversions through iOS apps, phone calls generated from ads and phone number clicks on a mobile website.
  • Bing Ads Conversion Tracking — The Bing advertising platform gives advertisers similar tracking capabilities through the use of special code.
  • Form Tracking — Form tracking enables advertisers to tie form submission data back to a keyword and a date/time. This data is vital to continuously improve campaign tactical efficiency by focusing on high-performing keywords and peak activity times.
  • Call Tracking — Call tracking ties inbound phone call data back to a keyword and date/time. As with form tracking, this data is essential for optimizing display ad campaigns.

Split Test Tracking

Speaking of continuous improvement and optimization, split testing is (or should be) a major component of any campaign. Rarely do the first ad and landing page hit an ROI homerun; far more common is achieving high conversion rates through methodically testing various elements of the campaign, from ad text to landing page call-to-action button color. A variety of software tools provide tracking and metrics for A/B and multivariate testing.

Without display ad tracking, advertisers are truly in the dark about the success (or failure) of their campaigns. A common shortcoming of tracking setup is failing to properly track phone conversions. Be sure to cover that base, because phone leads can be the best and most urgent. And, with mobile Internet access climbing, keep in mind mobile users are more likely to call when interested than to submit a form. When vetting display ad agencies, be sure to ask for details on their display advertising tracking process.

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