What is an Ad Tracker & How Does it Work

Ashwin Krishnakumar
Ashwin Krishnakumar

Chief Technology Officer, Airtory

Published on: 02 Jun 2021

Reading time: 4 minutes

Digital advertising is all about how you grow your online brand awareness and a more efficient way to talk to potential customers. As a brand owner, you always want to make sure every campaign you run offers an acceptable return on investment. This, in turn, highlights the importance of ad trackers.

Ad or advertising trackers are for keeping a check on the campaign/ad performance. The method is a decade-old strategy that helps to collect insights on the performance of the running campaigns and optimize the campaign accordingly. Airtory’s ad trackers are near real-time, which is unique in the market. These advanced trackers help advertisers gather insights beyond the initial summary of impressions, clicks, and conversions and hence, optimize campaigns better and therefore achieve higher ROI. Let us begin by deep diving into the concept of ad tracking.

What is an ad tracker?

Ad tracking is a big business owing to the wealth of data available on the internet. It is used by marketers and advertisers to uncover insights about how people engage with the content online, especially the ads.

All the data gathered from everyday tracking help the stakeholders effectively target their audiences for better reach, performance, and ROI. Ad trackers help get answers to the following questions about an ad.

  • How many users viewed the ad?
  • How much time did the user spend on the ad?
  • Did the user try to interact with the ad, play a view, etc.?
  • Did the user click on the CTA to visit the website and get more information?

Marketers and advertisers track the ads for many reasons, but mostly to serve their audience with better and relevant ad experiences. This not only helps them sell their ads but also improves the online experience of the audience.

Types of Ad Tracker

The five key methods used by advertising trackers are explained below.

1. Impression Tracker

Ad tracker monitors impressions through small 1x1 transparent images that are placed over the ads, emails, or webpages. These pixels inform the analytics platform about the activity happening from the users’ end while the page is being loaded. The method is best used to determine the reach of a campaign. The number of times these pixels load translates to the amount of traffic, thereby aiding better performance analysis. 

2.Viewability Tracker

It is an active view functionality that helps track the viewability and dwell time along with the impression’s value of an ad that is served. In this method, a tracker is inserted into the ad during rendering to locate and measure the ad creative within the viewport of the user’s device. The tag is further utilized to provide metrics on the number of times an ad’s impressions were considered viewable. 

3. Click and Engagement Trackers

Clicks and engagement are a big umbrella category utilized for tracking the performance of ads. The engagement tracking metrics are utilized to analyze how actively the audience engages with an ad. On the other hand, click tracking provides insights on how compelling the ad content is for the audience to take the desired action. 

4. URL Tracker

Among the most effective impression tracking methods, is the UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) tag, which is added to the URL of a webpage, website, or landing page that one intends to track. The tag is placed at the end of the URL and helps track the campaign's performance across all online platforms. The method is best used for PPC, email marketing, and website ads to help determine the source of a profitable audience. 

5. Conversion Tracker

Conversion tracking is the measurement of media performance with reference to the ad key performance indicators. The tracking process functions via a pixel-based system that instantaneously records quantitative actions on the ads. Putting conversion trackers on the page will also help the advertisers track the bottom of the funnel.

Why use an ad tracker?

By now, we have a clear understanding of what is ad tracker, and how it is used for ad tracking. Next, we will move onto the reasons for using one in the first place. 

1. Better Engagement

Ad tracking helps advertisers and marketers get insights on the audience’s interest, online behavior, etc. that can brilliantly shape their campaign, however, subject to effective utilization. With this information, they can create and launch campaigns that resonate with their audience and provide better ad experiences. 

When used in the right manner, it can help improve several critical metrics of an ad campaign like click-through rate, conversion rate, cost-per-click, etc.

2. Streamline Ad Spends

Brands invest a fortune of their money on digital advertising. However, not many of them pay attention to its tracking and optimization, which, in turn, leads to overspending. With an effective ad tracking system, they can easily identify how to efficiently spend their money to be able to get better results. Many marketing studies identify the following two reasons as the causes of wasted ad spend. 

  • Paying for low-value clicks 
  • Paying a higher cost-per-click to low ad scores and click-through-rate

3. Increase ROI

Brands that use ad tracking are said to significantly increase their ROI from ad campaigns. This is because the process helps to refine online ads and enhance campaign strategies to effectively deliver quality ad experiences. This can be done by utilizing ad tracking to learn more about their audience and then incorporate that data while building an advertising strategy. 

Ads with relevant content that instantly grabs the attention of the viewer are said to give better results than those with the mere intention to sell their product or service. 

Given the information, ad tracking can provide several amazing benefits for your next marketing campaign. To reap these benefits, you can take help from an online ad builder software to create and deploy high-quality rich media ads and also track their performance in real-time to maximize results. 

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