Video Thursday – Tracking Clicks in AdButler

Read Time: 5 minutes

Sometimes you feel like you’ve done everything right, but your clicks still aren’t tracking. Hopefully, our newest video can help. As usual, you can find the transcript below.

Hey everyone, it’s Liam here from AdButler, today with a video on third party click tracking. Specifically, I’ll be going over how to implement click tracking into a third party creative or ad tag, how to get click tracking working with an HTML5 or Custom HTML banner, and how to go the other way and implement a third party service’s click tracking into AdButler. These are three distinct situations, but the technology that drives them are the same.

First, let’s back it up and talk about click tracking. Clicks are logged in AdButler whenever a user clicks on a banner. The user is first sent to AdButler’s servers, and then sent along to their destination, which you fill in on the banner creation screen. The entire process takes less than a second, but it’s very important to understand what’s going on here.

Now, of course, when a user is going through a banner provided by another third party (say an ad exchange) and served through AdButler, the third party has no idea that it needs to send the user to AdButler. Although AdButler can count the impression, without sending the user to our server, we don’t know if they actually clicked the banner.

There are two solutions to this problem. The first is with our macro [TRACKING_LINK] or [TRACKING_LINK_ENCODED]. Either of these macros can be added before the destination of a banner or tag to track a click. So, if you have access to your partner’s dashboard, you can throw the macro in the destination field on their banner and you’d be good to go. Other services, like DoubleClick For Publishers, have spots in their ad tags where you can add in a third party click macro. The spot is different depending upon the ad tech, so your best bet is to contact their customer support if you’re not sure where to put it.

Depending upon the service, you’ll need either the [TRACKING_LINK] or [TRACKING_LINK_ENCODED] macro. An encoded tracking link is the URL with all special characters replaced so it can be read properly.

The second solution is to use manual tracking links. Manual tracking links can be found on the assignment page for the campaign or banner you want to track, and allows you to manually count impressions and clicks by sending requests to the provided URLs. If your third party prefers, they can use these to send a click or impression to AdButler. The major difference with a manual tracking link is that the user doesn’t actually get sent to our server. Instead, we get ‘messaged’ by the ad, letting us know what happened.

Either way, your statistics will stay accurate, and you can continue using AdButler as the center point for all your tracking.

Adding tracking to a Rich Media or Custom HTML banner is a very, very similar process. We’re once again going to be using our macro [TRACKING_LINK], but we’re going to get a bit more in-depth this time. We’ll need to modify the actual banner.

Now, there are dozens of ways to add a click destination to a banner, whether it’s using a click tag or an anchor tag or some other sort of JavaScript. No matter which way your banner is doing it, getting AdButler to track the clicks is pretty simple. All you need to do is put the [TRACKING_LINK] macro before the hard coded destination. For example, if we’re using a simple anchor link, we would just need to add [TRACKING_LINK] before the href, and we’d be good to go. Similarly, if there’s a click tag, add the [TRACKING_LINK] before the click tag. By adding [TRACKING_LINK], whoever clicks on the tag will first go to AdButler to record the click before being sent along.

If you have a Custom HTML or Rich Media Banner that does not have a hard coded destination, all you need to do is put [TRACKING_LINK] in as the destination. Once again, if we’re using an anchor link, for instance, we would put [TRACKING_LINK] info the href. This is because AdButler will replace [TRACKING_LINK] with whatever is inside the destination field of the banner. So if I put in there, and then I click this banner which has tracking link as the href, it will take me to

Please note, if the destination is hard coded into the ad, you cannot put anything in the destination field for that banner. If you do, the destination will double up, and probably not go anywhere.

Finally, we get to adding third party tracking to AdButler banners, which is the simplest implementation of all. When you click the ‘Get Zone Tags’ button, all you need to do is put the third party’s click tracking macro into the ‘Click Macro’ field. We’ll take care of the rest, and those clicks will start tracking.

And that is click tracking! As you can probably see, our [TRACKING_LINK] macro is really important, but we also have a whole slew of other macros you can check out via the link in our description. Let us know if this video helped at all by commenting or sending us an email, or if I missed anything. Also! If you’re looking for videos on anything specific, leave a comment and or email us your suggestion, and we’ll get back to you. As always, Liam from AdButler here. Thanks for watching, and have a good day.

Liam Workman

Liam is an account manager and blog king at SparkLit, the SaaS company behind AdButler and FourEyes. He loves rock climbing, hiking, coding, and being your friend.