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What is Ad Tracking? 3 Things You Should Know

If you run an online business, you have to market effectively to get traffic, convert visitors into customers, and profit overall. However, knowing how to market effectively is contingent on having plenty of data to analyze.Where do you get that data? Ad tracking.Ad tracking is incredibly important for modern online enterprises that leverage any type of online advertising or marketing, including video ads, pop-up ads, or social media marketing. Ad tracking lets you fully discover which parts of your marketing campaign work and which parts need to be cut to save money.Let’s break down three major things you should know about ad tracking, including what ad tracking is and how to leverage it for your online business.

Ad Tracking in a Nutshell

Ad tracking means tracking the impact or success that an advertising channel has on your marketing goals. In simpler terms, ad tracking helps you determine the return on investment you see for spending on a particular type of ad.For example, say that you launched a recent ad campaign focusing on high-quality video ads that you posted on Instagram. In that case, you can use ad tracking to determine:

  • How well the ad resonated with your core consumers
  • How many times viewed the ad
  • Whether the ad generated any click-throughs to your business

Ad tracking is a key part of any modern marketing campaign. Without ad tracking, it's almost impossible for you to determine which advertising channels are successful and to figure out where you should spend your marketing budget for the most bang for your buck.We’re fortunate to live in such a data-driven time. In previous generations, marketers had to rely on their gut instincts or other, less accurate data collection methods to figure out which ads clicked with the public.

What Can You Track with Ad Tracking Systems?

A lot of things. These days, ad tracking is a very sophisticated industry. It’s the cornerstone of digital marketing regardless of your niche or what you sell. Here’s a simple, non-exhaustive list of what you can track with ad tracking and systems:

  • The click-through rates for paid ads or even advertisements embedded in emails to your customers
  • Social media post impressions
  • Pageviews
  • The return on investment in dollars for PPC ad campaigns
  • How long do visitors spend on your website before purchasing something or clicking away
  • Where visitors spend most of their time on your website
  • Which products are most popular
  • What types of ads generate the most revenue
  • What types of ads improve your brand’s awareness or brand equity the most

In short, ad tracking let your marketing team gather data. Eventually, you can use the data to create better ads that convert even more highly than before. Or you can use the data to modify your existing ad campaigns and reduce wasting your money on ineffective advertisements.

How to Use Ad Tracking for Your Business

You can get started with ad tracking at any time, even if you haven’t used it for your business up to this point. Let’s explore the most common ad tracking methods so you can determine which tools you want to use for your marketing goals.


Cookies, in short, are temporary Internet files stored on visitors’ home computers. They’re eventually automatically deleted or wiped upon computer reset or by antivirus programs. But before they are wiped, cookies transmit data back to your marketing or advertising teams, giving those teams useful data about user behaviors while those users are still on your website.Technically, cookies are a type of tracker, but they only send data while someone is on your website. Through cookies, you’ll be able to figure out:

  • Which pages are clicked on most often
  • How long a visitor spends on your website
  • And more

However, because they track user activity so blatantly, your website must have a function that asks for permission to use cookies for each visitor that lands on your site. If someone declines to use cookies, there’s not much you can do.

Tracking Pixels

Tracking pixels are another common type of ad tool. These 1x1 pixel spaces fit into the bodies of email messages, like those used by email marketers. They’re also added as code snippets to your site’s HTML so that your marketing team can track where a visitor comes from; an ad, another site, social media, or an email.For example, whenever the email recipient opens their message, the tracking pixel then transmits data back to its host (i.e., your company’s marketing team). This pixel notifies you that the email was opened. If the recipient then clicks over to a page on your site, the pixel will track this, too.In this way, tracking pixels can help you figure out how often your emails are opened, whether your ads or social media are sending visitors to your site, which ads and social media are working, and more.

Facebook Ad Tracking

Facebook, naturally, does a lot of ad tracking by itself. When you make advertisements on Facebook, you can use ad tracking pixels to:

  • Create custom targeting audiences for your ads
  • Gain insights into how users interact with your Facebook page or advertisements
  • Learn how Facebook influences the total number of visits to your website

It’s a good idea to use the tracking tools available from Facebook whenever possible. These features are baked into the platform’s advertising functions, so there’s no reason not to include tracking pixels in your marketing strategy.

DoubleClick Ad Tracking

DoubleClick is one of the Internet’s most favored advertising platforms, and Google acquired it in 2008. Now the search engine giant uses it to run ad campaigns for large companies across several channels.For example, if you searched for “cat food” and later found that advertisements for cat food started popping up on other websites, it was because DoubleClick was tracking your searches. These days, DoubleClick is still around as Google Ads/Ad Manager and Google Marketing.

URL Tracking

URL tracking is arguably the simplest form of ad tracking available. Whenever a user clicks a link attached to your ad campaign, you’ll get a report about which of your advertising channels generated the link and click.In this way, URL tracking can be very helpful for determining which ad channels are most worth your time and money.For example, say that your ad campaign uses social media marketing, Google ads, and banner ads. URL tracking could let you determine which of those three channels drew the most people to your website every month. Then you could double down on the most successful channel and increase your conversions even further.


In the end, ad tracking is something you should lean into with your future marketing efforts to gather as much data as possible. Data is the name of the game when it comes to successful marketing, and digital marketing agencies like VisCap Media can help you master it.We can not only help you craft meaningful and engaging content for your target consumers. We can also help you drive conversion on your website through informative video content and high-quality video ads. Contact us today to see what we can do for your business!SourcesWhat are computer cookies? | NortonEnterprise Advertising & Analytics Solutions | Google Marketing PlatformUse tracking pixels - Publisher Center Help | Google Support

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