Beginners Guide to Tracking Your Stats

“I know half of my advertising is wasted. I just don’t know which half.”
John Wanamaker

Do you feel the same way?

I can tell you from my own experiments that at least half the ads I test don’t work out.

If I wasn’t tracking everything, I wouldn’t know which half either!

Sometimes I feel one of the primary reasons I need to recommend Google Adwords to marketers is because of the tracking it forces you to do. If you run a successful Adwords campaign, you know what I’m talking about.

You test keywords. You test ads. You test landing pages. It’s a constant process of refinement to find out what works best in your market.

If you’re not testing and tracking every detail, you’re losing a fortune.

Becoming an expert at tracking is an essential skill for any long-term Adwords advertiser. It’s a skill that will serve you well in all other forms of advertising as well.

Where should you get started in tracking?

1. Install Google Analytics

This is one of the basics. Sign up for a free Google Analytics account.

They’ll provide you with a code you simply add to the bottom HTML of all your pages on each of your domains. Now they’ll track your incoming traffic for you. In addition, I’ve found very few people use the “Goals” section.

You can set up specific goals on your site. For example, let’s say you have a squeeze page, sales page, order form, and thank you page for buyers. You could set up goal #1 of people subscribing. This goal would be set as your sales page since people go through the squeeze page first. If they subscribe they are taken to your sales page.

Analytics will track the conversion numbers of how many of your overall visitors get to this first goal of arriving at the sales page.

Next you could set a goal of buying the product. The end page someone would visit here is the buyer’s thank you page. If someone on the sales page goes to the order form and orders, they would be taken to the thank you page. Analytics will track the number of visitors who make it to your thank you page to give you a sales percentage.

Having Analytics installed will give you some of the basics. You’ll know how much traffic your site is getting, where those visitors are coming from, and through looking at your goals you’ll see the conversion rates.

If someone asks your conversion rate, you’ll know this number. You can also figure out your income per visitor through these stats. If you’re selling a $100 product and have a 2% conversion of overall visitors to sales, you’re earning $2 per visitor.

2. Google Optimizer

After you have the basics down you might want to expand out to testing different pages on your site. The easiest way to do this is with another free Google tool, Optimizer. You’ll need to sign up for an Adwords account (although you could pause that campaign after you set it up if you’re not ready to run it).

This gives you the ability to use the Optimizer. The very first time you use it you might want to do a simple A/B experiment. This simply means you create at least two different sales pages (changing possibly the headline, a photo, etc.). You can have multiple pages you’re testing at once if you like.

Optimizer will then rotate the pages and track your thank you page code (after they subscribe or buy). You’ll see the conversion rates for each of the pages whenever you view this experiment.

Once you feel more comfortable with tracking you can expand out to a multivariate test. Optimizer allows 5 sets of 5 combos to test at once. This means you can test 5 different headlines, 5 post headlines, 5 photos, 5 intro paragraphs, 5 prices, etc. The software rotates through all the options you provided to show you which ones are giving you the best results.

One thing to keep in mind with these tests is if you’re really running all 5 tests at once it may take quite a while to receive good reliable results unless you have a large amount of traffic (that’s another reason to use the basic A/B tests when you’re first starting out).

3. Tracking Specific Ads

You will also want to track specific ads, because you can have wildly different results from each source of traffic. While you may pull 25% conversion on your squeeze page from PPC traffic, you may be doing 50% or higher from joint ventures.

You have several options here.

If you’re doing Adwords advertising, you can use their conversion tracking code to separate all your sales by keyword phrase and ad.

You could setup another page on your site for a specific ad. In other words, instead of driving them to your normal landing page, you setup a separate landing page you can track specifically for that campaign.

Or you could use an ad tracker such as the one built into When I use this option I set up an “Ad Tracker” and the software gives me a unique URL for just that one ad. Any subscribers or sales made through my shopping cart can be tracked back to that ad.

Another option I haven’t used in a while is to simply sign yourself up as an affiliate in your own program. Then use your affiliate link to track that ad. Any sales that came in to that affiliate account you setup are from that source of advertising.

No matter what option you choose, the key here is to track all your advertising. What works and what doesn’t?

Let’s root out the 50% of your advertising that’s not working for you right now.

Related Entries:


Comments are closed.