Clicks, impressions, conversions – oh my! As an online retailer, it’s easy to get lost in the world of ad tracking – especially with the iOS 14.5 update causing a ruckus in the ecommerce world.
If you’re new to running online ads, it’s vital you spend some time getting to know the specific channels, metrics, and tools you may want to use. With so many moving parts, we’ve mapped out the basics of ad tracking for ecommerce – plus some strategies and helpful tools to consider in 2023 – so you can feel confident on how to plan your marketing strategy and ad spending.
At the end of the day, ad tracking is still the most effective way to measure campaign performance. Ad tracking refers to using data to measure performance. Such data is collected and used, in turn, to increase engagement and optimize your return on investment AKA Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). It’s all about ROAS for ecommerce – the best metrics to figure out whether an ad is working.
However, ad tracking is a broad term. There are really two layers to ad tracking - the channels you can pull data from and all the different actions you can analyze within them. Let’s talk about that further.
Note: conversion trackers can often be set to whatever action parameters best suit your business. Using the default settings is great to start, but customization of your tracker tools is worth investigating!
These are just some of the main types of ad tracking marketers are using today. With so many options to dig into, you might be thinking: why?
Two words: brand awareness! Being able to measure all of your digital advertising data from multiple streams and audiences in real time provides a unique advantage to e-commerce businesses. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these build the foundation for a positive relationship with your marketing goals:
At its most basic use, having ad tracking tools at your disposal gives you a broad view of the numbers over time. You don’t have to wonder – the status of your advertisements is always available to you, 24/7.
While there may be initial guesswork to figure out what clicks with your clients, over time the numbers won’t lie. You can test out campaigns and pivot them when they aren’t as effective with your potential customers. The digital space lends to more flexibility. Don’t be afraid to use it!
Don’t throw money at your ad spend when the latest set of advertisements suddenly aren't working the way they used to. Being able to run reports and notice dips in engagement or impressions allows you to pause or pull ads as you see fit. The tools are basically begging you to be proactive.
If you’re a small business hoping to eventually expand, ad tracking gives you the power to scale your shop and have the numbers to back up your decisions. Feel confident in your moves and pitches when you can prove what’s worked really well, what mistakes you’ve made, and how you’ve learned from them.
Ad tracking can highlight suspicious activity, like a flurry of conversions that happen so quickly that they have to be bot-driven. Alert to fraudulent actions early, before it can hurt your bank account.
If all of this sounds like you need to hire more staff just to digest it all, remember there’s tools available to take some of the load off. Optimization tools can notice the trends in data for you and make adjustments as needed.
If you were creating online ads in 2021, the massive change brought on by Apple’s iOS 14.5 update is likely no news to you. If you have an iPhone, you’ll recognize the pop-up every time you download a new app that asks whether or not you’ll allow the app to track your data.
Putting this setting front and center for all Apple users has had a big impact on conversion campaigns. The data pulled by ad trackers isn’t as accurate as it once was, and often requires more digging or creative thinking to make it work for your business. If nothing else, it’s definitely impacted how you run Facebook ads. That’s because, unless a Facebook user has opted-in to sharing their data with Facebook, you can no longer track a user's path toward the conversion liek you once could.
Don’t hone in on just one channel’s data, like Facebook or Google, and instead look at the big picture of your online ads. With these recent changes, short-term tracking isn’t as accurate because the day-to-day data is mostly skewed to non-Apple users.
Checking for big trends across blended data via apps like Triple Pixel will give you a more informed approach. Using first-party data, you will now have the ability to more accurately attribute ad clicks (from places like Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Pinterest & TikTok), to real conversions – hello, again ROAS!
In addition, it can help you:
Ad tracking services are becoming a must-have for companies looking to get more return from their online ads and to help them navigate ad performance after iOs 14. Stay ahead of the (many, many) curves with knowledge and, of course, the right help when you need it.
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