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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Howto: Track Google Content Ads Traffic

It's been awhile since I've done a PPCmoz-style, DIY PPC post. Need to get back to doing more of these. Lately, seems like a lot of people want to know how to track traffic they're buying from the Google AdWords Content network. There are a few different methods to do this. If you have access to your raw web server log files, you can track most of this traffic even if you don't have tracking URLs in place. You don't need to add any javascript snippets to your site, either. The information's in the log files. You just need to know where to look. Googe routes much of its contextual advertising through googlesyndication.com URLs. Find these in the log files and then parse them to extract the "url=" piece of query data. Then, urldecode the result and you'll see where your paid clicks came from. Here's an example URL, from the demo of my firm's free tracking tool (I'm inserting linebreaks to make it easier to read):

http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/ads?
client=ca-pub-3280446741348688&dt=1128043249746&
lmt=1128043249&
alt_color=ffffff&
prev_fmts=728x90_as&
format=300x250_as&
output=html&
channel=4554257847&
pv_ch=4554257847%2B&
url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.websitepublisher.net%2Farticle%2Fhtml_seo%2F&
color_bg=FFFFFF&
color_text=000000&
color_link=DD0A2D&
color_url=DD0A2D&
color_border=FFFFFF&
ad_type=text_image&
ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.websitepublisher.net%2Fsuccessful_website%2F&
cc=100&
u_h=1024&
u_w=1280&
u_ah=996&
u_aw=1280&
u_cd=32&
u_tz=-240&
u_his=18&
u_java=true

What you need to do is extract the "url=" piece of the query data and then urldecode it:

urlencoded:
http%3A%2F%2Fwww.websitepublisher.net%2Farticle%2Fhtml_seo%2F

urldecoded:
http://www.websitepublisher.net/article/html_seo/

That's how you can see where the actual paid click came from. No, you don't want to do this manually. Try our free, open source Google AdWords Content Ad Tracking Tool. If you're buying pay per click ads via AdWords and have the Content network enabled, it's crucial to know where your clicks are coming from. If you don't like the sites displaying your ads, you can block them with the site exclusion tool. Pity the tool doesn't work for the Search network. But, that's another story about garbage traffic on the AdWords Search network...

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2 Comments:

Anonymous blogger maniac said...

Nice Post keep up the good work.

Fri Jan 26, 12:24:00 PM EST  
Blogger Richard said...

Thanks, blogger maniac. I intend to write more PPCmoz-style posts going forward.

Fri Jan 26, 02:38:00 PM EST  

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