Let’s imag­ine the fol­low­ing sit­u­a­tion; you’re in a meet­ing with your mar­ket­ing team along with your adver­tis­ing agency. They tell you that they’re plan­ning a brand new ad cam­paign that is going to be sup­ported by hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars of online dis­play adver­tis­ing com­prised of dozens of sites and hun­dreds of place­ments. Next they tell you they’re going to be look­ing for report­ing down to the cre­ative level and the ban­ners are going to be traf­ficked by the end of the week for a Mon­day launch. Uh oh, now what? You’re look­ing at gen­er­at­ing hun­dreds, if not thou­sands of unique track­ing codes.

If you’re using one of our excel­lent Gen­e­sis inte­gra­tions for Dou­bleclick for Adver­tis­ers (bet­ter known as DFA or sim­ply DART), or Medi­a­Mind, your job is pretty much done. You can stop read­ing now. Thanks for stop­ping by.

If you’re not using either of the Gen­e­sis inte­gra­tions, you’re in luck, because each ad server has a built-in solu­tion that can take the pain out of gen­er­at­ing unique track­ing codes for you. The beauty of this process is that you’re able to use the same exact string for every cre­ative since the track­ing codes are gen­er­ated dynam­i­cally upon click.

DART calls them “macros” whereas Medi­a­Mind calls them “tokens.” I like to call them huge time­savers. While each plat­form has an exten­sive list of macros/tokens, for this exam­ple, we’ll stick with the basic DART macros:

  • %esid! = site
  • %epid! = placement
  • %ecid! = creative

Most are famil­iar with the con­cept of append­ing a track­ing code onto a click-through URL. We’re going to take the same idea, only we’ll append the DART macros instead.  The end result will look like*:  http://www.yoursite.com/index.html?cmpid=DFA:%esid!:%epid:%ecid!

When a poten­tial cus­tomer engages (bet­ter known as clicked) with your dis­play ad, the click is first routed through DART’s servers where those macros pick up a numeric value based on what site the ad is being shown on and which place­ment and cre­ative are being served. Then it’s on to your desired URL where the final ren­dered URL will look some­thing like*: http://www.yoursite.com/index.html?cmpid=DFA:935117:75577238:45376751

Your track­ing code in this instance will be dis­played in your Site­Cat­a­lyst reports as DFA:935117:75577238:45376751

DART Tracking Code ExamplesI always like to rec­om­mend that you use a pre­fix, like “DFA”, for track­ing codes sim­i­lar to this. It makes eas­ier to cre­ate rules for your Mar­ket­ing Chan­nels imple­men­ta­tion when you have a clean pre­fix to work with.

In my next post, I’ll describe how best to clas­sify all of these track­ing codes using SAINT for ease of reporting.

(*Side note: your cam­paign query para­me­ter may not be “cmpid”. Please be sure you have the cor­rect query para­me­ter in place before going live with any click-through URL)