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Meet the author:
Jill Olkoski

Jill has a MA in Clinical Psychology, a BS in Computer Science, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

She currently owns Aldebaran Web Design in Edmonds (near Seattle WA) and enjoys educating her clients on topics related to small business website design.

In Jill's previous life, she spent 17 years in the engineering and quality organizations of a Fortune 100 tech company.


How To Tell That Your Online Ads Are Generating High Quality Traffic

December 3rd, 2011

I often have my small business website clients request images to be used in online advertising. Generally they place these ads on a website and are charged a monthly fee. When visitors click on the image, they are taken to my clients’ websites via a link. But how do my clients really know what kind of return on their advertising investment they are getting? My favorite website traffic tool is Web-Stat. This tutorial assumes you are using Web-Stat, but it should give you enough general information to help you regardless of the tool you’re using.

1. Find a website traffic tracking tool that is able to capture “labels” that you are going to add to the destination URL of your online ad. As I’ve mentioned, I use Web-Stat. They have a free 30 day trial. You install a small paragraph of code onto every page of your website. Visit your own website and watch the Live Streaming Traffic view to see yourself. Now that you have the traffic tracking tool set up, you’re ready for the next step.

2. Find out how to “label” the destination URL – the correct syntax is extremely important. For Web-Stat, it’s adding ?source=whateveryouwanttowrite at the end of the URL that people will be taken to when they click on the ad.

3. When you submit the ad, be sure to give the ad company the full destination URL with the “label”. Let’s use this example:

4. Once your ad is running, click on it to test it out. You should be directed to whatever URL you submitted. Then check inside your Web-Stat account, and you should see the visit with the “Referrer” displayed as whatever you put after ?source= Here’s a screenshot of my own test to show you what this should look like inside Web-Stat. Two visitors are showing. One came from Google, the other came from clicking on the link of my “ad”:

5. After a period of time, say a month, you can now look at all this traffic as a distinct group under “Referrers”. This allows you to compare the results of various advertisements. (Again, this is a screenshot from my own Web-Stat account as a demo – the HelloThereAd is way down at the bottom because I only clicked once). Note that the bounce rate is calculated for different referrers. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave after only visiting one page, meaning they came into your website and bounced right back off it, not finding what they were looking for. For an ad that you’re paying for, your bounce rate should be relatively low compared with random Google searches. If your paying for an ad that has a high bounce rate (over 50%) something might be wrong with the ad itself.

J. Olkoski
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.

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