Tracking Ad PerformanceHow do you measure the success of an advertising campaign in traditional, offline media? This is something advertisers and media companies have struggled with for years. The question: “What is the value of a billboard or a newspaper ad to this exact customer?“ can be very difficult to answer.

However, in the online space it’s never been easier to map and track the entire buying process. Marketers can see where their consumers are coming from and what actions they take.  You can identify trends common to site visitors that convert and optimize your site and marketing strategies accordingly to improve performance.

I find this process of analysis and optimization to be fascinating and insightful. However,, many of the advertisers I work with fail to measure the success of their banner campaigns. I’m often asked to just link to the homepage with no forethought on measuring performance after the click.  After all, some ads work better than others right?  As a publisher I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my site’s performance. Our entire team works hard to ensure the high quality of the traffic we receive.


Appending the click thru URL to your display campaign is an easy way to attribute action to the banner.  Google’s URL builder (Link) works with Google Analytics where you can set campaign goals and compare performance.

Why not just track “referring sites”? With online advertising you may not be able to track performance as a “referring site” because most ads are served through ad servers independent of the host website. Banners from, for example, may appear as 247.OASRealMedia or Double Click. For banners on an ad network like our Vertical Ad Network (VAN) it can become even more complex as the ad passes through multiple ad servers. Using an appended URL is the best way to accurately measure performance.

It’s also important to define your campaign goals. This sounds very basic, I know, but if you’re looking for leads, does your ad take the user to a place where they can complete a lead form?  If the ad says “Find New Homes in Austin” does it link to the Austin market page?  Managing the consumer’s expectation of what they’ll receive when they click is very important to improving your performance on the front and back end.

Finally, recognize that not all consumer actions are equal.  You can get cheap, low quality traffic but it may not convert.  You’ll likely need to invest more dollars to persuade a consumer to complete a lead form as opposed to printing driving directions, especially if the lead form is lengthy or hard to find.

For advertisers on the BDX, we’ve consistently found that users who click on builder banners on from our site have a lower bounce rate, view more pages, and  are a better quality prospect overall for the builder. All of these are stats that can help a marketing manager document their campaign’s success.

If you have questions about marketing strategies or advertising with BDX contact Thane Tennison, Advertising Manager for the BDX Network.