Conversion Tracking: Complexity or Complication?

AnyTrack.io conversion tracking
Conversion tracking is the most important measurement that helps digital marketer optimize their campaigns. This post will help you understand the tracking challenges and solve them with a single line of code!

Conversion tracking is something that all digital marketers rely on to measure the success of their campaigns. Looking back at the past 10 years in the performance marketing industry, it’s fair to say that that my career’s path was influenced by “all about conversions”. Whether I was running an affiliate network, a brand or an agency, conversions were at the very center of most business decisions.

And yet, no matter which hat I was wearing, setting up a conversion tracking platform was always a challenge. Either, the platform could only track a single conversion type, or it could not track SEO traffic, or it lacked standard integrations.

Bottom line, there was always something missing forcing us to compromise on either the data we wanted to track, or give up on promising marketing funnels.

Conversion tracking is not only about tracking.

Since I started in the performance marketing industry, I’ve tried and used quite a few conversion tracking platforms. Needless to say that there are many successful conversion tracking providers, with many happy clients.

So what is so complicated about conversion tracking that prevents digital marketers from easily tracking conversions?

What is a conversion?

conversion occurs when a visitor to your website completes a desired goal, such as filling out a form or making a purchase.

– WordStream

If it was as simple as WordStream defines it on their site, I wouldn’t be writing this post. Wouldn’t I?

But that’s a starting point from which we can move on to the good stuff. And since each of us have a different “Desired Goal”, I am going to list a few of them so you can relate to the tracking challenges I am talking about.

Conversions tracking for mobile apps

As a mobile app developer, your first “desired goal” is to get people to install your app. But your ultimate goal is to get people to upgrade to the paid version of your app. And if you’re really smart, you will want to track the “events” that lead to the upgrade.

Conversion tracking for Lead Generation

That’s an easy one since you can redirect the visitor to a “thank you” page. But if you want to track the leads that actually made a purchase in your store or on the phone with a sales rep, you will need your CRM to send this info to your analytics.

Conversion tracking for in-house media buyers

As an in-house media buyer promoting an eCommerce website, you will want to track the number of “add to cart” actions, the number of orders, the value of the orders, the fulfilled orders and plenty of other metrics.

Conversion tracking for affiliate marketers

If you promote a comparison website, you will want to track the number of visitors who “click out” to affiliate offers. But more importantly, you will also want to track the subsequent sales or CPAs.

Conversion tracking for a agencies

Finally, you might be a PPC agency, working with various types of clients. Each client being different not only by the set of goals but by marketing flows and tech stacks. Your difficult task will be to make sure that all conversions are properly tracked so you can fully measure the impact of your campaigns.

So which marketer are you?

Perhaps you’ve been a few of those or are a mix of affiliate marketer running lead generation campaigns, or an agency running ads for an eCommerce client or promoting a comparison website with a mix of affiliate offers and direct advertisers?

To make matters worse, once you’ve understood the many conversion tracking scenarios and associated challenges, you need to understand and get over what is called: Attribution.

What is conversion attribution?

Conversion attribution is what allows you to tie a conversion to the marketing channel(s) that was responsible for it.

In fact, regardless of your marketing activity, tracking a conversion has no real value unless you can attribute it to the traffic source, keyword and campaign that brought the user in the first place.

Being able to attribute conversions to a marketing channel is important but also comes with challenges.

  1. You need an attribution platform to identify the users and their multiple interactions with your site.
  2. You need to send the attributed conversions to the marketing channels so you can optimize your campaigns.

What are the known attribution platforms?

We all know Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel for their ability to measure traffic and campaigns. Yet, what is less known, is the fact that both have powerful attribution features.

When you dive into their reports, you can find out about the different touch points that led to conversions and revenues. Regardless of the original marketing channel that generated the conversion, both platforms will tell you which was responsible for the conversions and which were part of the conversion funnels.

What they miss tough, is the ability to sync the attributed conversions to the respective marketing channels (except for Google Ads and Facebook Ads). In other words, they let you read and understand the data, but they don’t let you use it outside their bubble.

If you keep reading and you’ll see how AnyTrack takes care of this.

Tracking challenges, scenarios and platforms

I’ve outlined these tracking scenarios since they are not only the root causes of the tracking complexity, but also because conversions are triggered by different types of platforms.

For example, when you install an app on your iPhone, a mobile attribution platform like AppsFlyer or Tune will fire the conversion. But buy a product on an online store, WooCommerce or Shopify server will fire the conversion. And if you buy a product after visiting a comparison website, it will probably be CJ Affiliates or Rakuten that will fire the conversion.

By now, you understand that each marketing funnel comes with its set of challenges. More importantly, if you want to make the most out of your traffic, you will have to select a conversion tracking platform that gives you the flexibility to work with any marketing channel and is compatible with any type of conversion data.

Tracking complications

Due to the ever growing marketing technology landscape, things tend to get more complicated. And what I came to realize is that before you can get your conversion data from point A to Z, you will have to go through a long “check-list” of learning, actions, setup and tests.

Sounds familiar?

The complexity and unnecessary complications led to development of AnyTrack and its radically different approach to conversion tracking.

Conversion Tracking made easy by AnyTrack

AnyTrack is a “plug & Play” conversion tracking platform that seamlessly integrates with your marketing channels, conversion data sources and analytics platforms.

conversion tracking by anytrack
Conversion Tracking by AnyTrack

One line of code to solve the conversion tracking challenges

Before I dive into the AnyTrack platform’s features, I want to share with you the thought process that led us to what AnyTrack is.

The “Less is More” approach

Simplicity is better than elaborate embellishment; Sometimes something simple is better than something advanced or complicated.

When we started the AnyTrack spec, our primary goal was to remove all frictions between the user, its website and AnyTrack.

We asked ourselves the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of a conversion?
  • What are the most common analytics platform?
  • What represents the biggest tracking challenge?
  • What technical burdens marketers face?

And the million dollar question:

Can we provide a true “Plug & Play” solution covering the entire digital marketer’s workflow and ecosystem?

We went through the most popular tracking platforms to identify each step required to get from Point A to Point Z. How accessible was the conversion data and what were the common traits among marketers.

When we finished mapping the “tracking” environments, we took each “friction point” and Moshe played its magic!

What’s in AnyTrack?

To make AnyTrack truly plug and play, we decided to align ourselves to the way marketers add Google Analytics on their site.

The Tracking Code

You install the AnyTrack tracking code on your site’s <head> section, very much like you would install Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel or Google Tag Manager.

<!-- AnyTrack Tracking Code -->
<script>
  !function(e,s,t){(t=e.createElement(s)).async=!0,
  t.src="https://assets.anytrack.io/eAkda7EjSf3a.js",
  (e=e.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]).parentNode
  .insertBefore(t,e)}(document,"script");
</script>
<!-- End AnyTrack Tracking Code -->
The tracking code core functions
  • Collect incoming traffic data
  • Auto-Track onsite engagements
    • Clicks on Call To Actions
    • Forms Submissions
  • Sends Onsite Engagement events to Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel
  • Identify “call to action links” and/ or affiliate links and Inject auto generated click_id values into the links.
A Click ID is a unique tracking parameter that AnyTrack uses to transfer information between your AnyTrack account, marketing channels and conversion sources (CRM, Advertisers or Affiliate Networks).

Postback URL & API’s

As explained above, since conversions can originate from various sources, AnyTrack needs to be capable to track and process conversion data, no matter how it is sent or formatted. For this reason, we have integrated with over 30 affiliate networks and we are adding more on a weekly basis.

Impact Postback URL
https://t1.anytrack.io/Iqbxxx3nLd/collect?ActionTrackerName={ActionTrackerName}&CampaignId={CampaignId}&CampaignName={CampaignName}&MediaPartnerId={MediaPartnerId}&MediaPartnerName={MediaPartnerName}&SubId1={SubId1}&SubId2={SubId2}&SubId3={SubId3}&AdId={AdId}&ActionTrackerId={ActionTrackerId}&ActionId={ActionId}&Amount={Amount}&Currency={Currency}&Payout={Payout}&EventDate={EventDate}&Status={Status}&StatusDetail={StatusDetail}&LandingPageUrl={LandingPageUrl}&SharedId={SharedId}&PromoCode={PromoCode}&RefCustomerCountry={RefCustomerCountry}
CJ Affiliates API Integration

Because CJ Affiliates does not provide a Postback URL feature, we’ve integrated with their API. For you, it’s even simpler as you just have to copy / paste your CJ API token, and data will start streaming to your AnyTrack account.

cj affiliates api integration

Conversion tracking data

While most tracking platforms use basic tracking information such as the click_id and the payout , we use more granular data, so that you can extract more value out of each conversion.

  • Conversion type ex: CPA, Sale, Install, Lead
  • Advertiser Transaction ID
  • Conversion status (pending, approved, rejected, reversal)
  • Product Name
  • Product ID
  • Click ID
  • Conversion Value

Conversion tracking logic

Because each conversion is different, we apply advanced conversion and attribution logic so your analytics truly reflect the performances of your traffic. For example, when promoting eCommerce offers, each conversion is bound to various statuses, such as pending, approved or rejected. Consequently, we filter some of the events so they don’t affect your analytics.

Conversion tracking & attribution

As I mentioned earlier, tracking conversion is important, but if you can’t attribute the conversions to the original traffic sources, you won’t be able to make the most out of your campaigns.

When AnyTrack records conversions, it looks up the for the various events that led to the conversion and syncs the relevant data with GA and the associated marketing channels or ad networks.

Ad networks currently integrated in AnyTrack (as of December 29th, 2019)
  • Google Ads
  • Facebook Ads (including Offline Conversions)
  • Bing Ads
  • Outbrain
  • Taboola

Dashboards, Analytics & Reports

Dashboard KPI

AnyTrack provides a dashboard with your most important KPIs. It allows you to get a quick and complete overview of your website performances.

Anytrack dashboard displays your most important marketing  key performance indicators
AnyTrack Dashboard
Analytics

While AnyTrack provides various level of reporting, the core analytics is done through Google Analytics. Once conversions are synced with GA, you can look at any type of reporting provided by Google Analytics.

  • Audience reports: This reporting section allows you to see who your users are, and correlate conversions with their demographics, settings and conversions.
  • Acquisition reports: Analyze campaigns and traffic sources performances.
  • Behavior: Enables you to correlate your content with conversions.
  • Conversions: This section allows you to dive into granular data and look at the conversions from different perspective such as Flows, funnels and multi-channel.

Audience building & retargeting

When you sync your conversion data with Google Analytics you can build custom audiences according to user behaviors, demographics and conversions. Custom audiences can then be shared with Google Ads so you can run retargeting campaigns.

The same logic applies to Facebook Pixel.

Webhooks & Third Party Integrations

Since most digital marketers use multiple tools, AnyTrack lets you send real-time conversion events to webhook URL. When you use automation tools like Zapier or Integromat, you can push the conversion data to the business applications you work with every day. For example, you can tie conversions to your mailing list subscribers or send data to reporting applications like DataBox or Google Data Studio. Put it simply, you can make your data live anywhere you want!

Conclusion

Conversion tracking is a complex mechanism, and as a marketer you should focus on making your business grow, rather than dealing with technical aspects of your campaigns.

Conversion tracking also requires that all your marketing tools be orchestrated with each others. Only then, you will get the full picture of your marketing activity and make informed decisions with confidence.

The key takeaways:

  • Understand where conversions take place so you can select a tracking system that can bring the data where you can best use it.
  • Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel can serve as analytics platforms, but they also allow you to build custom audiences for retargeting campaigns.
  • Custom audiences allow you to build “lookalike” audiences and leverage your conversion data to extend your reach.
  • The digital marketing ecosystem is evolving at fast pace, and you need the appropriate tracking platform that is built from the ground up to integrate seamlessly with any marketing stack.
  • Conversion data should be more than a line in your reporting, it is also an asset that can be leveraged to scale your campaigns so you can increase your ROI.

Is AnyTrack for you?

Our mission is to unlock your conversion data, wherever it is and allow you to use it wherever you need it can be leveraged to improve your campaign performances.

 

Laurent Malka Administrator
Co-Founder | AnyTrack

Laurent Malka is the Co-Founder of Anytrack. He was born and raised in Switzerland, and now lives and works in Israel. He is a serial entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in marketing and business development. Laurent has been a panelist and speaker at numerous digital marketing events including SEMrush and IG Affiliates.
He prides himself on his ability to connect the dots across disciplines, industries, and technologies to solve unique challenges.

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