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Ad Tracking

What is Ad Tracking, and How Do You Do It?

Ad engagement and impact tracking have traditionally been hit-or-miss. This is because there was no consistent metric for determining the success of a marketing campaign. In reality, until the mid-1960s, the word ROI (return on investment) was not generally used.

Since then, a lot has changed. For example, advertisers now have access to detailed ad tracking information for each campaign they run. Thanks to ad tracking, marketing teams can utilise this data to precisely assess, test, and adjust ads based on how users interact with their online campaigns.

What is Ad Tracking?

The technique of collecting data and user insights on the performance of internet advertising campaigns is known as ad tracking. Advertisers can obtain this data using a variety of methods, including tracking URLs, tracking pixels, and cookies.

If you’re new to internet advertising, take some time to consider the specific metrics that will determine the success of your campaign. Ad monitoring is now available through various technologies and platforms, allowing advertisers to track everything from views and clicks to impressions and behaviour over numerous sessions and websites.

Because the amount of data available might be overwhelming (not to mention distracting from your goals), settling on one or two key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you focus your efforts and make reporting more straightforward and effective. But the key is to figure out which are the right metrics to track based on your ad campaign’s objectives.

Once you’ve selected the data you want to track for your ad, it’s now time to choose the appropriate ad tracking strategy for your needs. Of course, the specific ad tracking methods accessible to you will vary depending on where you run your advertisements and which technologies you use. However, there are a few fundamental techniques that you should be familiar with.

It’s vital to note that the ad tracking strategies listed below aren’t mutually exclusive; they can yield even more potent results when utilised together.

Techniques of Ad Tracking

Cookies, URL trackers, tracking pixels, and more complex approaches that require specific scripts, such as browser fingerprinting, are all examples of ad trackers. Each of these strategies collects and logs data in a slightly different way. However, by effectively spying on your browsing habits, they all help corporations develop an advertising profile of you. While it might sound like an evasion of your privacy, it is all legal and done under the preview of strict regulations. 

The following are some of the most frequent ad tracking techniques websites use.

  1. Pixel tracking

Tracking pixels are tiny, frequently 1×1 translucent pictures that are put atop adverts, in emails, or on websites to track their location. As these pixels load, they indicate that the ad, email, or website has been viewed.

This Approach Works Best in the Following Situations

When it comes to determining the performance of a campaign, tracking pixels can be handy. For example, if an advertiser installs a pixel atop an ad and the pixel loads more than the ad produces traffic, the advertiser can figure out how many times the ad has been seen vs clicked.

This could signal the advertiser that they need to tweak their creative, targeting, platform, or other factors that influence campaign performance. 

  1. Cookies Tracking

Cookies are small text files stored in a user’s browser that collects information such as their behaviour, preferences, and location. Using cookies to provide advertising can be alarming when done ineffectively. If you don’t utilise it correctly, it can even become a criminal offence.

They can, however, be an excellent asset for both advertisers and consumers if used correctly. For example, advertisers can use cookies to create tailored profiles of their visitors. As a result, visitors will see more relevant information.

This Approach Works Best in the Following Situations

Cookies, for example, are essential for sending targeted retargeting adverts for offers that have been seen but not claimed by a visitor. These can be found on social media sites such as Facebook, as well as ad networks such as Google Display.

  1. URLs Tracking

A tracking URL is a link to a page on your website that includes a tracking tag. The code at the end of a tracking URL is the only distinction between it and a regular URL. This extra part at the end is called a UTM parameter. 

When someone hits this URL, analytics software receives information about the visitor and the channel through which they accessed the link. URL tracking is a valuable method to track the success of multiple ad channels used in the same ad campaign.

This Approach Works Best in the Following Situations

This tracking form is helpful for PPC, email, and other online ad campaigns. They assist you in determining who your most profitable audiences are. It also helps you plan your future ad strategies and invest in the right platforms.  


Competitive ad tracking can assist a company in determining how well the marketing efforts and campaigns are doing at a large scale. This begins with tracking URLs, pixels, and cookies to see how users engage with the business. Then, it’s bolstered by search and social-focused technologies that assist brands in figuring out which advertisements are working, which aren’t, and which need to be improved to boost user engagement and sales conversions.

Ad tracking also aids app developers in maintaining and improving their products, making them more user-friendly. Google, for example, can use GPS tracking to improve the accuracy of routes on its maps and provide real-time traffic information.

Advertisers can target their adverts based on the audiences’ geographic location and viewing habits. Ad tracking can alert them of products they might be interested in, local discount deals, and products they would not have known about otherwise. So if your audience has no choice but to deal with commercials, they might as well be relevant and engaging.

If you are running or wish to run campaign ads online, select the suitable parameters to track them. You can always engage professionals who understand the digital landscape inside out to manage the ads and the ad tracking for you. It would not only save you time but also help you get the most out of it.