A Simple Display Advertising Tracking Solution – Part 1

Let’s imagine the following situation; you’re in a meeting with your marketing team along with your advertising agency. They tell you that they’re planning a brand new ad campaign that is going to be supported by hundreds of thousands of dollars of online display advertising comprised of dozens of sites and hundreds of placements. Next they tell you they’re going to be looking for reporting down to the creative level and the banners are going to be trafficked by the end of the week for a Monday launch. Uh oh, now what? You’re looking at generating hundreds, if not thousands of unique tracking codes.

If you’re using one of our excellent Genesis integrations for Doubleclick for Advertisers (better known as DFA or simply DART), or MediaMind, your job is pretty much done. You can stop reading now. Thanks for stopping by.

If you’re not using either of the Genesis integrations, you’re in luck, because each ad server has a built-in solution that can take the pain out of generating unique tracking codes for you. The beauty of this process is that you’re able to use the same exact string for every creative since the tracking codes are generated dynamically upon click.

DART calls them “macros” whereas MediaMind calls them “tokens.” I like to call them huge timesavers. While each platform has an extensive list of macros/tokens, for this example, we’ll stick with the basic DART macros:

Most are familiar with the concept of appending a tracking code onto a click-through URL. We’re going to take the same idea, only we’ll append the DART macros instead. The end result will look like*: http://www.yoursite.com/index.html?cmpid=DFA:%esid!:%epid:%ecid!

When a potential customer engages (better known as clicked) with your display ad, the click is first routed through DART’s servers where those macros pick up a numeric value based on what site the ad is being shown on and which placement and creative are being served. Then it’s on to your desired URL where the final rendered URL will look something like*: http://www.yoursite.com/index.html?cmpid=DFA:935117:75577238:45376751

Your tracking code in this instance will be displayed in your SiteCatalyst reports as DFA:935117:75577238:45376751

https://blog.adobe.com/media_f4ad901643ce124295226c12cdf526c723a5111e.gifI always like to recommend that you use a prefix, like “DFA”, for tracking codes similar to this. It makes easier to create rules for your Marketing Channels implementation when you have a clean prefix to work with.

In my next post, I’ll describe how best to classify all of these tracking codes using SAINT for ease of reporting.

(*Side note: your campaign query parameter may not be “cmpid”. Please be sure you have the correct query parameter in place before going live with any click-through URL)