We’re going to look at a broad spectrum of PPC tracking platforms in this post to help sift the good traffic from your poorly converting traffic and keywords.
Hosted Tracking Platforms Are My Recommendation
Marketers and affiliates tend to get very paranoid when they’re asked to test out a hosted tracking platform. “They’ll steal my converting traffic sources” is often heard, but the facts just don’t bear out that fear. A hosted tracking platform is in the business of providing that platform as a service. If they were to try and snoop on any of their customers traffic sources and converting keywords, they’re reputation would be destroyed and they’d lose everything that they spent time building up. If you’re not the trusting type, ask the tracking company if any of their employees run campaigns. It’s totally understandable that you don’t want other affiliates looking at your conversion data, but I think you’re better off worrying about your affiliate company stealing your campaigns. Here are some more reason to opt for a hosted PPC tracking platform:
- If you use a self-hosted solution like CPV Lab / Prosper 202, you’ll need to have a VPS and keep your server stack running smoothly. Any slowdowns and hiccups means lost money, and most marketers are better off leaving the system administration to a dedicated team.
- You kind of don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to system administering an ad tracking platform on your VPS or dedicated server. Some questions that may come up beyond getting the whole thing to work include how do I backup my data, how many database rows can I store before I start seeing slow downs on the front end, what do I do if the email service stops sending mail, how do I rotate my log files etc. etc. With a hosted service, you just take the keys and drive.
- CrazyEgg remains among the most popular of mouse-tracking / heatmap apps for webmasters.
- Inspectlet, Mouseflow and ClickTale take it a step further and allow you to watch recordings of your visitors mouse movements.
- Good old Google Analytics has its own heatmap function located at Standard Reporting -> Content -> In-Page Analytics.
Hosted Media Buying / PPC Tracking Platforms
• Improvely looks to be run by a small team in Pennsylvania. Someone on the WarriorForum had this to say: “I have tried Improvely – they are good, but I can’t track intermediate events with their software. Plus, their support is not as fast responding or detailed as I’d wish – this is due to the fact that they are a smaller company. The interface is rigid and ordering everything so I can analyze trends takes a not inconsiderable amount of work in excel.” An interesting fact is that they also offer their own traffic source. Improvely does have the ability to track complex funnels, but I didn’t see any geolocation features are the ability to rotate the redirect URL based on criteria. $29/month is their cheapest plan and allows tracking 10K clicks.
• We’ve covered Voluum before, and they’re level of segmentation is quite in depth. Like Improvely, they also run their own traffic source. If you end up trying ZeroPark for traffic, I’d recommend signing up for the Voluum free plan (only tracks using their domain) to track the traffic.
• ClickMeter advertises a ton of metrics that they track on their homepage although I don’t find their tracking as power-user oriented as Click Magick. They do have a free plan (with conversion tracking removed) so you always have the option of taking an extended test ride with them. They also have a WordPress plugin which can help track your content marketing efforts, and their help desk is well stocked with helpful articles.
• Bevo’s ad tracking platform joins a tracking platform with a backend that allows affiliates to re-sell their traffic to the highest bidder. I’ve not really gotten to try their platform yet (their website is poorly designed) but it’s reported to do many of the things that Voluum is able to (rotate links and redirect according to location, browser / operating system and dayparting). Bevo also offers “Step Campaigns” to track clicks that originate well beyond the initial entry page in the sales funnel.
• ClickMagick remains my favorite click tracking platform for paid media. It’s got sophisticated algorithms for gauging the quality of your traffic, when to rotate a link (“send the visitor to a different page if they’ve already been here”), geotargeting and even has the ability to spawn exit pop-ups on web pages you don’t even own. It’s a true power user’s toolbox, but even for the beginning user most of the features are straightforward and non-intimidating to setup.
Traditional In-Content Tracking
Once your visitors land on your page there’s still lots of info you can capture outside of your link tracking software. You’ve got a few options for checking where users are clicking and where they’re not, always good things to check when you’re trying to optimize your landing page.
Just to sum up, you want to use tracking software when you’re paying for traffic to gauge the quality of the traffic you’re getting. Together with click fraud monitoring and powerful features like dayparting (which allows you to shut off your traffic at times when it doesn’t convert), getting a PPC tracking solution that works for you is imperative to maximizing your ad spend.