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What Are Ad Trackers & How Can You Use Them in E-Commerce?

Ashley Stander
By Ashley Stander
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Updated April 26, 2023.

A person at a computer analyzing data

Imagine you're out fishing, and another fisherman walks past with a bucket full of fish—your bucket is empty. You ask him where he was standing, and he tells you on the other side of the dam, between the bushes and knee-deep in water. That is essentially how an ad tracker works—by giving you practical insights into your e-commerce ad campaigns so that you can tweak them and get more reach (or fish).

What Is Tracked With an Ad Tracker?

Depending on the ad tracker you choose, different metrics and marketing channels are tracked. The data collected is then used to increase customer engagement and, in turn, optimize your return on investments and provide good ROAS for e-commerce. Do note that an ad tracker shouldn't be confused with an ad spend tracker. These are some of the metrics that are tracked:

  1. The number of views on your ad campaign—how many people saw your ad
  2. The average amount of time the users spent viewing your ad
  3. The user's interaction with the ad—views, impressions, clicks
  4. The number of clicks on your call to action, taking users to your website

Types of Ad Trackers

There are many different ad trackers, but these are the main types you'll find on the market today:

  1. Conversion tracker This tracker measures the media performance according to your ad's key performance indicators. If you have conversion trackers on your page, you'll also be able to track the bottom of the funnel.
  2. Cookies Cookies are used to retarget audiences that have started and abandoned sales before completing the process. They track the user's behavior at all points in the conversion process.
  3. Impression tracker While your page is loading, pixels inform the analytics platform about any user activity taking place. The loading "traffic" tells you how well your ads are performing.
  4. Tracking URL This is one of the most effective (impression) tracking methods. It is best suited for PPC, website ads, and email marketing. The UTM or Urchin Tracking Module tag is added to the URL of your website, webpage, or landing page, and then helps track your ad campaign's performance over all your online platforms.
  5. Viewability tracker A tracker gets inserted into your ad during rendering. The tag is then used to give you metrics that tell you how often your ad's impressions were viewable.
  6. Click and engagement tracker The click tracking metrics will tell you how interested your audience was in your ads and how they reacted. Using these can help you get to know how Tiktok ads work, as well as Snapchat ads to further boost sales.

» Discover the top 7 Amazon marketing metrics you should track

Benefits of Ad Tracking

Let's go back to your fishing expedition. You could stand at the same pond the whole day and not catch a single fish. Or, you could listen to the other fisherman's insights about positioning and go home with supper for the family. Ad tracking gives you that kind of insider information, making it crucial to your business and bottom line. Here are some more ways that ad tracking can ensure your e-commerce ads are effective:

  1. Streamlining You get to know your audience better. This, in turn, helps you streamline your ad campaigns instead of using the "spray and pray" methodology.
  2. Engagement You increase engagement with your targeted users because you know what they want and how they react to your different e-commerce platforms. In other words, you give them a relevant ad experience, promoting more engagement.
  3. Return on investment When your ad campaigns are streamlined, and your target audience is engaged, you'll get more conversions and an improved return on investment.

Why You Should Use an Ad Tracker

An ad tracker is, quite frankly, a must-have for every e-commerce business, full stop. Not using an ad tracker can be compared to buying one of the most sophisticated computers on the market and then simply putting it in a display cabinet for everyone to see. That computer can do so much more for you once you've plugged it in and switched it on, and the same applies to ad trackers.

The functionality of an ad tracker gives you valuable insights into your target market that you can use to shape and mold your e-commerce advertising campaigns. This will make future advertising campaigns sharper and more targeted, which will, in turn, boost your sales and conversions and play a significant role in the future success of your business.