The most beautiful thing about PPC is that everything can be tracked. I mean everything. With convenient reports from the PPC search engines and programs like Google Analytics, advertisers have no excuse to be clueless about their pay-per-click performance. Analytics makes tracking your PPC super easy, but what if you don’t use Analytics? How can you track all of your PPC data in a 3rd party analytics package? If you use Google AdWords, insertion tags are your ticket to data-heaven.

When most people see “insertion” and “AdWords” in the same sentence, they automatically think of dynamic keyword insertion. This is NOT
dynamic keyword insertion. Insertion tags, or as Google calls them – ValueTrack tags, are designed to pass important information from Google to your analytics package via your destination URL only. Use insertion tags to create comprehensive tracking URLs that will pull in keywords, differentiate between Search and Content, display ad IDs and even what site your placement targeted ad appeared on. Here are the tags:

  • {keyword} – This pulls in the actual keyword from your AdWords account, NOT the search query.
  • {creative} – This pulls in the ad ID.
  • {ifsearch:Search} – This tells you if your visitor came via Search ads.
  • {ifcontent:Content} – This tells you if your visitor came via Content ads.
  • {placement} – This tells you the website your placement targeted ad was shown on.
  • Example URL:{keyword}&type={ifsearch:Search}{ifcontent:Content}&site={placement}

If you’re familiar with creating custom tracking URLs for Yahoo! or MSN, this is pretty much the same song and dance. The trick here is, you’ll need to configure your 3rd party analytics software to recognize these parameters for purposes of reporting. That is unless you’re comfortable with reading the referral URL of every visitor to your site!

Just to avoid any confusion, if you are using Google Analytics with your AdWords account, you are already getting most of this data. The exception would be of course differentiating Search and Content or accessing the {placement} website data. For these parameters, you can create Advanced Filters in Analytics to pull in and report on these data points!

Does anyone use these ValueTrack tags for their PPC campaigns? If so, have you had success with them?