Re: Tracking for email - through conversion

From: Mark J. Welch <>
Date: Fri 08 Mar 2002 20:00:24 -0600

Every e-commerce site (any site that sells a product
or service online) should have tracking technology in
place, either for an affiliate program (in-house or third-
party) or just for this general tracking purpose. Then,
each campaign, each advertisement, each variation,
each keyword bid, etc. should be tagged with a unique
ID code. Some e-commerce software includes this
functionality; most does not, requiring custom work
to get your system to do the work required to track
each inbound click and bind it to the ultimate sale.

The key, in my opinon, is having a very flexible
system on your end, one that permits a wide range
of ID tags. At, I required that the
affiliate tag be just a plain text string -- not just a
pre-assigned affiliate ID. By using a text string, I
was able to assign a unique ID to each and every
element of each and every campaign.

Thus, when I bid at (now Overture),
each keyword bid was tracked with a unique tag
(e.g., for the term "movie posters" the tag is
so that when the user clicks on the link from GoTo,
we deliver a cookie containing that referrer ID to the
user -- and then later when a sale occurs, we can
retrieve the cookie and attach it to the sale transaction.

In short: tracking technology is the core capability you
must have in the core of your web site (every inbound
page needs to contain code that manages the cookie,
and the sale-confirmation page must contain code to
tie that cookie to the transaction in your database).

You certainly could use many of the affiliate-tracking
solutions to accomplish this, but not all (many of the
affiliate-tracking solutions require a fixed ID code so
if you created 450,000 unique campaigns, as I did,
you'd need to manually create 450,000 'accounts'
which is simply impossible).

In the case of an email campaign, you should use a
unique ID tag for each variation (message text, offer
variations, and sub-lists used), and in some cases
you can even ask for a unique ID tag for each copy
of email (PostMaster Direct will do this), so that you
can actually work with the list merchant to track back
completely if there is a problem. Of course, you need
to make sure that adding your ID tag to a URL does
not cause the URL to be split across two text lines.

-- Mark J. Welch - Internet Performance Marketing Consultant
-- 925-462-8483
-- 5820 Stoneridge Mall Rd Ste 100, Pleasanton, CA 94588-3275

Received on Fri Mar 08 2002 - 20:00:24 CST


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