The Hunger Games Guide to Ad Tracking

by    |    Aug 22, 2017    |       5 min read

If you enjoy reading a good novel every once in a while, you might have come across a book whose general setting is quick to grab a reader’s attention. Dystopian in nature, set in futuristic the United States where twelve areas or districts, all of them controlled by the Capitol, have to send their children as tributes each year, to duke it out in the Hunger Games; a bloody fight to the death where there is only one survivor. It’s easy to become a fan of the Hunger Games, which is particularly true for the fans of the Blade Runner, as the two are somewhat similar in the atmosphere.

Now you may ask yourself what in the world do Hunger Games have to do with ad tracking. Read on to discover the most powerful tool that the marketer possesses and what the Hunger Games or the main character of the book Katniss has taught us about ad tracking.

Take care of those important to you, i.e. take care of the basics

Katniss comes from the 12th district and is only 16 years old. Since her father died when she was 11, she had to take care of the family by hunting and gathering food. She even volunteers to fight instead of her sister in the Hunger Games. She takes care of herself in order to help those that cannot take care of themselves. In other words – she takes care of the basics.

What we can learn from Katniss:

To take care of your website, i.e. your online business, you need to take care of the basics and help your business by tracking its progress and by tweaking and adjusting the little things that make a difference. In order to make an ad tracker work you won’t have to change your website, you won’t have to dig through website logs and you won’t have to create copies of your website (though backups are generally a good idea). All you need to do is to replace the URL that you want to place in your ad by subbing it for a tracking URL which the ad tracker will provide you with.

In essence, the two pieces of information that you have to feed the ad program include the code that you will use for the ad campaign; and second is the tracking URL that you want to run with the code. The ad program will track when your URL has been clicked, unique hits and number of total hits made to the URL. You can track this by month, day or even hour, a detailed overview that every professional need.

Tracking animals for food, or why you need an ad tracking program

Hunger game charcter racking animals for food

Image Credit: YouTube

Katniss spends most of her time tracking, trapping and hunting animals in the woods, foraging for herbs and plants, hunting using a bow and arrow. While the other tributes eat the food that they received at the start of the games, Katniss has to search and hunt her own.

What we can learn from Katniss:

The secret of advertising experts is that they constantly track and test their ads and results that they get, just like Katniss that tracks the animals for food. If you are already spending money on adverts you should be able to track them. If not, you’re just wasting your money, plain and simple. If you utilize an ad tracker, you will know precisely where the people/customers are coming from to your website and/or blog. This will enable you to be more frugal, by eliminating ads that do not work and to run the ones that provide you with the best results i.e. the ones that make you money.

No two people are alike, i.e. there are two types of trackers

 two types of trackers ilustration

Image Credit: YouTube

Katniss and Peeta, her companion from District 12, both come from the same place. They are very similar but in the end different. Where both are emotional and loyal, Katniss’ loyalty seems to lie with her family first, and in the end, she fails to create a lasting love connection with her companion who is in love with her.

What we can learn from Katniss:

Though the paradigm of the ad tracking programs is the same, there are some important distinctions between the two main types of programs, distinctions which will make you chose, just like Katniss did between her family and her companion.

a) Tracking software This product is installed on your website after you have purchased it. Anyone with some technical knowledge will be able to install it; if you fail to do so, the supplier will charge you for the installation that they will then provide. With this software, your tracking URL will have your domain name.

b) Tracking service The program is installed at another site and you are utilizing its services. Basically, it’s a rental model for the software. Your tracking URL will have the supplier’s domain name.

How to choose the best one for you

a/b testing fot ad tracking

Don’t forget to split test! Image Credit: Flickr

We have established that ad tracking is a must. Moreover, if you decide to utilize the software or service model, there are some commonalities that you need to pay attention to.

  • Tracking Visitors – look for trackers that provide the following: user IP, browser type, OS, date and time of click and, of course, the referring URL. Even the most basic trackers should have all of these.
  • Campaign Features – Showing all of your currents, expired, as well as planned ads will be beneficial. Automatic checking of your links should be available as well as sub-campaigns features, which will make your life easier.
  • Report Presentation – Reports may vary widely in the data that is shown. You need to aim at numbers of subscribers, number of sales and/or downloads. Advanced programs offer email reports on a daily basis.
  • Affiliate Program – Not a must, but if your supplier has any affiliate programs, why not use one to earn more income, especially if they provide you with good service, recommending such companies should not come hard.
  • Guarantee/Demo – Money back, free trial period; any of these will suffice Additional features – Split testing, sub-users, etc.
Wrap-Up – Ad Tracking

The world of online marketing is a dystopian one just like the one in Hunger Games, so make sure to utilize all the tools at your disposal and the information above to gain an upper hand and ensure the smooth running of your campaigns.