Mar 9 2020
Basis Technologies

Programmatic Advertising 101: Conversion Tracking

What does full-funnel success look like for a digital campaign?

Every digital campaign should have goals or KPIs that can be tracked and optimized toward. There are measurement opportunities along the way to help you determine what’s working and what’s not. When measuring the effectiveness of your native advertising, it’s important to bear the customer journey in mind in order to see results at every step.

The customer journey begins with awareness, moves to product consideration, and (hopefully) ends with conversions. Are your ads generating awareness? Good! Are you receiving a high number of clicks from a successful ad unit? Great! A consumer took an action on your site? Even better.

Conversion Tracking from Programmatic Advertising

A conversion occurs when the user completes a specific action on your site, including:

  • Completing a purchase
  • Signing up for your site
  • Submitting an e-mail address
  • Arriving at a “goal page"
  • Any other event or action on your website

Conversion tracking will allow you to evaluate campaign performance (if the KPI being measured is around CPA or number of conversions).

Conversion tracking also helps to set up stronger tactics. Creating audiences comprised of users who move through the conversion funnel but didn’t complete the final desired action allows you to set up retargeting campaigns for users with demonstrated interest in your product or service. Similarly, creating an audience consisting of users who have already converted, and excluding them from your future campaigns, reduces waste.

Optimizing Programmatic with Conversion Tracking

When making decisions about campaign optimizations, conversion tracking can be useful. For example, if you blindly turn off one or two pieces of creative as you’re optimizing and conversions aren’t being tracked, the wrong decision might be made.

What is a Conversion Pixel?

How does conversion tracking work? A conversion pixel, or short piece of code, can be placed on your site to track the number of people who have completed a specific action – after first seeing or clicking on your ad.

How Conversion Tracking Works:

  • Basis users create a pixel in Basis.
  • The pixel is given to the advertiser to be placed on their site.
  • Basis users set up their campaigns in Basis and choose which pixels they want that campaign to measure
  • Consumers navigate the internet and see/click on ads.
  • If consumers go to the advertiser’s site, the pixel fires and drops a cookie.
  • This cookie allows Basis to identify who the user is and check if they saw/clicked on an ad that was served via Basis. If Basis finds a match, it records it as a conversion. If the match resulted from a viewed ad, it’s a post-view conversion or (or view-through conversion)

How Programmatic Advertising Platforms like Basis Streamline Conversion Tracking

DSPs provide options for conversion tracking. Basis, for example, allows you to easily track a number of different conversion types:

  • Primary conversions: The conversions you're tracking that you've identified as the most important indicators of campaign success. Keep in mind: you can track multiple conversions in a single campaign.
  • Click-through conversions: Conversions that result from a user clicking an ad.
  • View-through conversions: Conversions from users who see the ad, but have not clicked.
  • Dynamic conversions: Conversions from users who are making purchases. Because items are offered at various prices, resulting in different conversion values, dynamic conversions allow you to track the different values associated with each conversion.
  • Postback conversions: Conversions that come from pages where a conversion pixel can't be placed, or where you don't have access to the script to place the pixel (i.e. an app download). In those cases, using the advertiser's server instead of the user's browser allows you to track those conversions.
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