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Using Ad Tracking Tools

By Pamela Heywood
Posted Saturday, June 19, 2004

You HAVE to know how well your ads are doing. You cannot just
cast thousands of them into the wind and HOPE that maybe you will
get the odd result. You must know where is good for your offer,
which ads pull best, etc. You need to test and test some more.

Indiscriminate free advertising will not generate sufficient
results for the amount of effort you'll put in. It will get some
results, but you'll be working hard, not smart.

In order to not have to post ads 48 hours a day for 2 clicks in
return, you must narrow it down by testing so that you can then
spend your precious time concentrating on what works best.

So how do you test?

There's lots of methods, but let me show you how to make use of
some of the simplest online tracking tools for your URLs.

The first one I have been testing myself is the free service from (

Go there and set up a FREE account. You paste your "real" links
(the web addresses you want people to actually go to) into their
system and they give you a "new" link that you would publish in
your ads. How easy can it get?

You can set up as many as you like and keep adding to them, as
you wish. You only need one account to track multiple links, ads,
websites, offers, affiliate schemes, whatever.

Every day, they send you a report by email that tells you how
many clicks you got on each of the different links you set up.

Here's an example from my report:

Link Title: EACZ Bravenet Classifieds
Link URL:
Link : (
Date: Clicks
2000-12-11 2

I gave it the title I wanted to see so that I could identify it.
The Link URL: is the real one (online classifieds) and Link:
is the one I publish, which is the one that 2 real live people
actually clicked on that day. (Impressive eh?)

I can see several benefits and uses for this:

=> If you have a very long URL, it saves it getting chopped in
half in a newsletter or any other email message as the original
one in this example obviously would.

If it gets chopped, it won't be "clickable", which means to work
someone would need to copy and paste it in bits into their
browser. Yeah! You think so?

No-one bothers, because that takes too much effort. In reality,
they will either click what comes in the first half ending up at
the wrong place -- usually the right place, but without your
reference on, or more likely, they will just skip it altogether.

=> is generic -- it doesn't identify your program
so there is an element of "surprise" that will help you get the
click. People don't click if they think they've seen it before.

=> It's cheat-proof. It is still a URL with a number on the end,
but if anyone tries to take the numbers off this, they'll just
get an error or go to linkcounter. If they knock the numbers or
reference off your affiliate URL, then they may still end up at
the program, but you won't earn the commission.

=> You will find out if anyone actually IS clicking!

Track a whole ad campaign

If you use different linkcounter links, for the same URL, but
with different ads or for the same ads in different ezines, (give
each one or "campaign" a title that you'll remember), you'll find
out which ones work best so you know where to advertise again or
if you should maybe "tweak" your ads for better results.

You can also use this on your website, but you don't need to have
one to use it. You can also enter an amount, say if you are in a
program that pays you 10 cents per click and it will add them up
so you can double-check this against your commission check.

This doesn't mean you should NOT get your own website, domain and
home on the web. If you have that already, then you can use this
to see how many people are clicking away to certain links within
your site, both internal or external. Your log files should tell
you where people go internally, but if you don't have them,
here's an alternative. Your log files don't send you email each
day as this does!

You'll also find a similar concept at:

Or you can do your own ad tracking. At the most simple, give each
campaign it's own page with a (preferably invisible) counter on.

If you do have access to log files on your site, "key" your URLs
with references of your choice so you can count the responses
to each. Or set up different redirect pages for each ad to see
which ones get hits. You can get the code for a redirect page,
here: (

Just don't leave it to chance, or you'll spend more time chasing
your own tail than actually making progress or PROFIT.

About the Author
Pamela Heywood is webmistress of (
- Building Your Online Business Instinctively. Subscribe to the
weekly TuCats Mewsletter (sic)
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