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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Top 10 Ways to Use Ad Tracking

Most companies have advertising and promotion budgets. It's almost impossible to run a business without one!
But what if you could use a crystal ball that would give you almost immediate feedback on the success or failure of your promotional campaigns? Can you image the increased profits you might realize, if you could confidently eliminate those areas that underperformed, while concentrating on those that were overwhelmingly superior?
Imagine if you could know for certain which headline on your web site created more opt-ins? Wouldn't you like to know which email subject line caused more people to click through to your web site?
Ad tracking can do exactly that. But it can do much more!

Below are 10 reasons you should be using ad tracking:

1. Learn the true cost of your Internet advertising. Ad tracking eliminates budgetary guesswork because you'll have statistics such as cost-per-click and clicks-to-sale. This information will allow you to drill down and find the real and total cost of your online advertising.
As an example, let's say you are doing pay-per-click advertising and banner advertising. Let's further assume that your cost-per-click is much higher than your cost-per-impression. Before you throw up your hands trying to compare apples and oranges, be aware that a good ad tracking program, like Hypertracker, can allow you to compare disparate mediums with ease.

2. Keep only those ads proven to be the most profitable and eliminate the others. Ad tracking can show you which ads to eliminate immediately (the obvious losers that are costing you real money for NO results!), but it can also show you the most productive channels. After all, wouldn't you rather trade a 1% ROI for a 20% ROI (return on investment)?

3. Verify the best target market or niche for your product. Ad tracking can also be used to track things like subscribers. Trying to decide the best niche for your products? Promote your opt-in list to two potential niches and you'll quickly see if one is a better potential market than the other based on the percentage of new subscribers. Can you imagine the time and money this will save you?

4. Compare the ROI on various free promotion methods to determine which provides the highest return. Many times, a marketing mix is based on time vs. money. And, if you're relatively new to the business world, or have a small marketing budget, rolling up your sleeves and doing some experimentation is a great way to build a subscriber list, prospects and sales! But many free methods are time-wasters that provide little in return for the hours spent.
Ad tracking is a great way to tell if forums, articles, social networking, traffic exchanges, search engine optimization (SEO) or hundreds of other "free" methods work. Pick a few and use an ad tracking system like Hypertracker to compare the clicks all the way to sales attributed to each method. Soon you'll only be spending your time in areas that you know are effective!

5. Determine how much traffic your ads are bringing to you. Sure, you can check raw server logs to learn whether your traffic has increased over time. But ad tracking lasers down to pinpoint exactly where that click originated. And it can further drill down to tell you how many sales resulted from those clicks!

6. Fine-tune your ads. Should I change my headline? Is red more effective than blue? Should I use a header graphic? Audio? Video? Professional marketers know that what works for one product or company may not work the same for another. The only way to find out is to test.
Ad tracking allows you to set up alternate tracking links, so you can split-test headline, colors, audio, video and more. Know for certain which element increases subscribers, referrals, leads and sales!

7. Develop a list of your most profitable products or affiliate programs. If you knew for certain that Product A out-produced Product B by a factor of 30, would that be of interest to you? Of course it would! Ad tracking boils all these statistics down to easy-to-understand information that will allow you to make smarter business decisions. You'll quickly see which products or services are duds, and should be eliminated.

8. Test product price points. Not sure which price point will return the highest revenue to you? Use ad tracking to test them! By assigning different tracking links to each price (suggestion: not to exceed 3), you'll quickly learn which price point is likely to produce the highest income. (Remember, the highest sales don't necessarily translate into the highest income!) Take the guesswork out of product pricing!

9. Track the entire lifespan of a campaign. It is common knowledge that there are four stages to a product's life: introduction, growth, maturity and decline. This same theory holds true in advertising and promotional methods and it correlates to diminishing returns.
You've probably noticed how commercials change and evolve over time. The Coke commercial entitled "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" was tremendously popular decades ago, and was attributed to a large increase in the sales of this soda. But increased exposure over a long period of time creates an "advertising life cycle" known as "diminishing returns". To protect profits, it is critical that marketing knows when that commercial goes through the first three stages and its effectiveness is about to produce diminishing returns.
Now you can do the same…without the million-dollar budget. By tracking your campaigns and comparing the results over time, you'll see whether they are still producing, or entering the decline phase. By being aware of the signs of diminishing returns, you can immediately redirect your efforts from the declining campaign to one producing solid (and, hopefully, growing!) results.

10. Compare online and offline promotional methods. It should be made crystal clear that online ad tracking is not restricted to online advertising methods. Your tracking codes can be used in newspaper advertising, business cards, magazines, direct mail campaigns, and more.
By providing statistics on both online and offline marketing methods, you can compare the effectiveness of online vs. offline marketing in general, to determine which produces the highest ROI to you. You'll also be able to fine-tune the methods you use to move your offline prospects to your online assets. For instance, do they respond more to a free report offered online or a 30-minute webinar? Will they be more likely to add their name to your email list if you offer a discount coupon or a contest?

As you can see, there are a multitude of reasons to incorporate an ad tracker, like Hypertracker, into your marketing efforts. Although this list is far from complete, I hope it will give you a starting point to develop your own tracking criteria. By tracking this kind of information, you'll soon be making more informed decisions that will positively affect your budget – and your bottom line.

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