August 17, 2012
Conversion tracking is a crucial part of advertising. If you can’t track what’s working, you won’t know what to focus on. For some reason Facebook doesn’t fully agree, as there is no native conversion tracking for Facebook ads. There was at one point. Then there wasn’t. Then there was for certain advertisers. And that’s where we are today. You cannot have a successful ad platform without letting advertisers accurately measure performance, so you would think Facebook would want to lower the barrier to get as many advertisers as possible on board. Until that changes, you can use non-Facebook tools to track conversions.
If you have a large monthly budget, it can make sense to use a third-party ad management tool to easier manage your Facebook ad campaigns. There a growing number of these tools and they usually have built-in conversion tracking. But these tools can be expensive and they are definitely not for everyone. Another way to track conversions is to use Google Analytics combined with UTM URL parameters. It’s straight forward and doesn’t cost anything but a few minutes of time to setup. First, make sure whatever site you’re sending traffic to is setup on Google Analytics. Then create a goal within Google Analytics for whatever your conversion is. Make sure your goal URL is the post-conversion step (i.e. thank you page, order confirmation, etc.) in your funnel. Now create a UTM URL for each ad, changing the parameters accordingly so you can segment your conversions by different ad copy, image, targeting, etc. And that’s it. Now when you send traffic to each of these UTM URLs, you’ll be able to use Google Analytics to track conversions by the various UTM parameters you used. This also works great for other traffic sources where you can’t directly track conversions, such as email campaigns and social media.