Tracking Solo Ads – The Right Way

solo ads tracking

There seems to be a common misconception amongst those who have never given it a try that online marketing is largely a haphazard art of throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks.  That is, from the outside, it may look like we simply purchase every ad opportunity we find – and invent what we can’t find! – to see what works.

Are You Tracking Your Campaigns?

It is true that online marketers and people who have online businesses tend to have a different range of ingenuity when it comes to finding ways to share their products and services with others.  But one of the lessons we learn very early in our careers is that tracking our campaigns is the best way to figure out what our audiences like and want, so that we aren’t just throwing money into the wind.

There is an art and a science to how we make a return on our investments!

When it comes to solo ads (read here what solo ads are), however, tracking can get a bit muddy.  While in theory, it should be easy to determine visitors to a specific solo-ad-specific landing page, you then have the possibility that people will share their emails, or that a percentage of your “traffic” will be bots.  So how do you track solo ad campaigns?  What factors should you pay attention to?  And once you have the results… then what?

What to Track in Your Solo Ads Campaigns

Solo ads can be tracked several ways, though none of them are perfect.  Any long-time online marketer can tell you that there will be discrepancies in your solo ad tracking.  Though this may be frustrating, do not let it keep you up at night.  You may recall from our previous articles on the topic that solo ads are not a perfect science, and that there may be some differences in how you and the list seller conduct business.

However, in order to make sure you’re investing wisely- or need to pull out of that ad immediately – you need to do some tracking.

The top three metrics you should track are:

  • total unique visits
  • the opt-in rate
  • front end and back end sales

Let’s have a quick overview:

Unique visits

Unique visits are important, because anyone can click on a link 14 times.  While that metric is significant in itself, especially if that individual is clicking honestly, there is a very high chance that this is not a situation in which all 14 clicks are authentic.  This is especially significant in a pay-per-click business model, like many solo ads.

Opt-in rate

Opt-in rate is fairly straightforward.  You want people to click on the link in the solo ad, go to your squeeze page / landing page, and do what it asks.  Opting in is arguably just as important – or even more important – than an actual immediate sale, because this places that individual in your sales funnel for future opportunities.  You’ll want to know how many unique clicks lead to an opt-in to know whether your solo ad is really making an impression on the people who receive it.


Sales, of course, are very helpful to monitor.  You may wish to track sales both by unique visitor, and by sales per transaction.  Meaning, one visitor may come to your site and purchase one item.  Another individual may purchase two items and add on an upsell item at check out.  You could count these as 2 unique sales and also 4 item sales.

Read also: Key Email Marketing Indicators you should be Tracking.

Both figures are important when determining how effective your solo ad is.  For example, let’s say you run a solo ad across an email list of 100 people.  After the ad term, you discover that only one person has made a purchase, in which they bought 5 of your products.  That’s great for your bottom line, but not such good news about the solo ad’s performance.

How to Determine If Your Solo Ad Is Doing Well

The typical lifespan of any ad campaign is generally based on how well it’s performing.  Many online marketers look at sales only, and if the ROI is high, they decide it’s good enough and move on.

When it comes to solo ads, however, there’s a bit more finessing that can be done.  

First, you want visitors to become customers. That’s why the opt-in rate is so important.  While it’s fantastic if you get a sale directly from a solo ad, you won’t have a continued relationship with that customer unless they opt-in.  As long as you can send them emails, newsletters, ads, and more, they are still a part of your sales funnel.  “One-and-done” is great for your immediate income, but not so great for the longevity of your business.

Read also: What is CLV – Customer Lifetime Value?

You have an opportunity with solo ads to do some serious A/B testing.  There are a few different ways to make this happen.

First, you should absolutely send different solo ad lists to different landing pages, which will make it easier to track the lists’ overall performance.

But on those landing pages, make a few subtle differences.  For example, if the list owner states that their audience likes videos, try the difference between linking directly to the video versus linking to a landing pages that includes the video.  Change up the email text and content.  Try different bonuses.  One group can receive a free e-book if they sign up today, while another group can unlock a 20% discount by sharing their email address and birthday.

These are just a few ideas, of course, but this type of testing will help you fine-tune your solo ads, and thus help you track what is working, when it’s working, and for whom it is working.

The Mechanics of Tracking a Solo Ad Campaign

There are plenty of resources that will help you track all of your ad campaigns, and not all of them are created equally.  Some, like Google Analytics, are extremely comprehensive, which can be a bit overwhelming for the novice marketer.

Others, such as ClickMagick (you can visit their website here, and read a complete review here), actually have the ability to help you track, analyze, and conduct split testing, all in one.  For example, ClickMagick users can add a tracking code to their landing pages that will gather key demographics whenever a user arrives there from a solo ad.

A conversion-specific tracking code can be added to your Thank You pages to gauge the actions users take once they’ve gotten to your page.  This type of tracking will also help you understand how people maneuver around your site.

Whichever method you choose, make sure you’re looking at the three basic metrics, but don’t do so with “win or lose” in mind.  Consider the opportunities you have to make a deeper impression on visitors, and use these metrics to inform your A/B testing and future solo ad campaigns.  Of course, if there’s no ROI, or your ad list seems suspicious, don’t hesitate to pull your campaign.  Still, you’ll have the facts and figures you need to inform your next attempt.

As I wrote in some of my past articles, I fully recommend to invest some of your budget on ClickMagick: this software will help you to optimize all your marketing efforts and increase conversion. You can start your free trial here.



Teachingbiz provides internet marketing services and education to digital entrepreneurs and marketers who want to learn how to build and scale their businesses.

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