Are you interested in tracking content that lives outside of your Campaign Manager 360 (CM360) account? Or are you curious about best practices with tracking ads in CM360? Either way, tracking ads can be a great solution to help track content served outside of the platform, so that you can view the data in reporting and attribution. Below are some areas highlighting use cases, trafficking, testing click-through URLs and QA-ing tags post-implementation that can help.
Advertisers will often implement tracking ads to gain reporting on items, especially creatives, that are not uploaded directly to CM360—essentially non-CM360 content. These items can vary and are dependent on the advertiser and their vendor, but typically, are site-hosted/served creatives. The primary purpose of using tracking ads is to gain the following:
- Impressions and clicks on ads that are not served by CM360, including on mobile applications & Facebook
- Impressions and clicks on HTML emails (they must allow images and referrer calls)
To generate placement tags, you’ll need to traffic out both a tracking ad and a tracking creative and assign it to the desired 1×1 placement. You might notice a red verification alert indicating that the tracking ad is missing a default ad or creative, but these can be safely ignored as tracking ads do not require a default ad and these alerts will resolve themselves over time. It is important to note that updates (ie: assignment changes) to tracking ads/creatives will need to be re-downloaded. Your vendor will need to re-implement since they do not dynamically update within CM360 as standard display ads do.
An often-overlooked (yet vital) facet is clear, concise and consistent naming conventions. Some things to consider are what exactly is being tracked, perhaps the type of creative it is (display, rich media, video, etc.), the dimensions and the environment it’s being served in (maybe mobile only). A good naming convention would leave an outside observer with a solid sense of what was actually shown to an end-user.
- ie: tracking ad <320x50_mobile_vendorABC_HTML5>
- tracking creatives <320x50_Mobile_Animate_Dog_ScheduleNowCTA>
- tracking creatives <320x50_Mobile_Animated_Cat_CallNowCTA>
Testing Your Click-Through URL
To test and see how your tracking ad will click-through in a neutral environment, you’ll need to download the placement tag in HTML format. When the tag sheet is generated, you’ll see a hyperlink next to the click snippet called ‘Visit destination page.’ This will take you to the configured URL along with any UTMs/URLsuffixes you might be appending.
Code Snippets for Your Vendor
When downloading your placement tags for your tracking ads, there will be two snippets of code that your vendor will need to implement: impression and click. It’s important to ensure that both are tracking as intended since billing could be affected. Sometimes vendors will forget to implement the impression tag, where only clicks would be recorded, thus, billing may take on a CPC model rather than CPM one.
QA-ing Your Vendor Implementation
We always encourage clients to pull in an offline standard basic report as soon as they are expected to serve, filtering to the tracking ad/tracking creative to ensure both clicks and impressions are yielding. After all, there is a lot of time invested for trafficking a campaign, so it’s just as essential to ensure it’s dialed in and yielding as expected once launched. You can also navigate to the verification tab, drilling into the advertiser and campaign, then selecting the ‘tags’ in the left-hand rail. This automatically detects tag implementation errors such as incorrect formatting and raises alerts as needed.
Types of Tags
In most cases, we will always recommend a tracking ad/tracking creative. However, there are a couple of other versions for these tags. We won’t dive into the weeds today, but here are additional resources for trafficking audio redirects, video redirects and Twitter tracking.
Overall, tracking ads are a great way to gain reporting and attribution insights from your non-CM360 content and better understand your user journey. If you’re interested in learning about more CM360 and its best practices, feel free to contact us anytime. We’re happy to help!