Using click tracking to track solo ad delivery

Ok, so you just purchased 200 clicks to your squeeze page. Great! I hope you get all the opt-ins you were hoping for. Problem is, how do you know if the solo ad vendor delivered the promised number of clicks? And from which countries did those clicks come from?

A good solo ad vendor will deliver a report for you, which is great. But that’s no substitute for you making sure you track your own clicks (“Click tracking” or “Link Tracking”). For one, it allows you to correlate your results with the report of the vendor, which is just good business practice. More importantly though, the way to succeed in this business is through analytics. Split testing, measurement, refining, re-testing. You want to squeeze every last cent out of every click. And while the subject of split testing is not for this article, we do discuss the starting point to all of this: link tracking.

Link Tracking is not Google Analytics

We’re not talking using Google Analytics to look at web visitors. This can work if you create a separate squeeze page for every solo ad you purchase. A better way though, is to create a unique tracking URL that you put in your email swipe.

This tracking link URL first hits a piece of software that collects data about it the hit…for example, incrementing the count that it was hit, recording the country from where the click came, and more. THEN it redirects to your squeeze page.

It looks something like this:

Email -> Tracking Link -> Squeeze page

The user receiving the email never knows if they’re clicking a tracking URL or not. For them, it appears to take them directly to the squeeze page.

Now here is the good part, you can easily set up as many tracking links as you’d like. The obvious use here is when you are buying ads from multiple solo ads vendors, then each vendor uses a link you created for them, allowing you to track each vendors performance.

However, more sophisticated use cases means you can test different email text to see which one works better. By including a different tracking link in each email, you can see which one gets the most clicks:

Email 1 -> Tracking Link 1 -> Squeeze page

Email 2-> Tracking Link  2 -> Squeeze page

Both go to the same squeeze page. But by looking at your tracking report, you’ll see which email performed better.

A tracking URL is also the basis of A/B split testing your squeeze page. Let’s say you have two squeeze pages and you want to test which one leads to better opt-ins. Your tracking link can actually be a smart link that will sometimes send the user to Squeeze page A and sometimes to Squeeze Page B. Note however that for split testing, the free link tracking tools typically do not offer this and require a paid subscription. Still, if you’re not ready for split testing, at least track your links.

How to create a tracking link

Thankfully this is easy. There are thousands of ways of doing this, some free, some paid. I’ll discuss only the free ones at this time since for pure tracking, you do not need to go for a paid plan. Paid plans are really for when you get into tracking lots of clicks or need more powerful features such as link rotators for split testing.

You’ve probably seen URL shorteners like Bitly. Well, guess what, they actually work well as a link tracker and are free. You basically use a URL shortener on your squeeze page, and that becomes your tracking link. Told you it was easy.

If you need some more advanced features, you can do a search for link tracking. You typically have the option of installing software on your own server, or for using a hosted service. One hosted service I always recommend is clickmeter.com. The free plan allows you to track your links and you can easily set up new campaigns, new tracking links and then get really nice graphs and analytics from it. When you decide to get more sophisticated, then you may need their paid plan. However, for starting out, I think Clickmeter’s free plan is a great option.

Google also offers a form of link tracking that is quite powerful because it allows you to do split testing. This is called Google Experiments. However, it does require you to install some code on your squeeze page. This is really more of a split testing tool.

I hope you found this beneficial. Many people are overwhelmed when they hear they need to measure everything, do split testing and more. Trust me, start simply by tracking your links, and then you can incrementally improve your capabilities as you get more comfortable.