How do I process a tracking test?

Before you start

To assure your advertiser’s tracking pixels have been implemented correctly, you can process a tracking test. To do so, you need three things:

  1. The details of the conversion target you want to test. In most cases, you will be testing whether orders on the advertiser’s website are tracked, for which you will be needing test order details. If you want to test a newsletter subscription, you might want to use a test email. For other conversion targets, for example a client engagement, you might not need any test material at all.

  2. A test partner: to create a test partner, just follow the instructions in this article. Make sure the test partner is admitted to the program of the advertiser you want to process the tracking test for.

  3. An add on to your browser enabling you to record HTTP headers: depending on your browser type, you will find different add ons available. HttpWatch and HttpFox are both recommendable.

Furthermore, it is recommended to remove all cookies from your browser before you start.

Testing

Finding the tracking URL

Make sure you are logged in to the UI of the test partner you have created. You can easily access your test partner’s UI: click on ‘partner’ in the navigation, proceed to click on ‘manage partners’ and find the test partner using the filter options. When you have found the partner, click on the  icon and you will be automatically logged in to his partner UI.

Once you’re in the UI of your test partner, click on ‘ad media’ in the main navigation menu. All you have to to do now is to choose an ad media item and copy the link appearing behind the button ‘click URL’. For further instructions, please read the article on ad media in the documentation of the partner UI.

Processing the test

Once you have the tracking URL, make sure you subsequently go through the following steps:

  1. Open a new browser tab and make sure the tool recording your HTTP headers is activated.

  2. Once the add on is active, paste the click URL in the address bar of the browser tab and load the advertiser landing page.

  3. When your advertiser’s landing page has been loaded completely, you should first check whether the on-page code and, if activated, the container tag have been logged in your recording tool. You can recognize the on-page code by the domain structure http://marketing.net.advertisername.com.

  4. Proceed to process the conversion you want to test. As was mentioned above, you will need test order details in many cases.

  5. As soon as the confirmation page of the conversion target has been loaded completely, check whether the tracking code has been logged in your recording tool. You can recognize the tracking code by the domain structure http://marketing.net.advertisername.com. If the tracking code has been implemented successfully, you will also find the query in your recording tool. This query will look more or less like this: /ts/i123456789/tsa?typ=f&tst=123&trc=[tracking_category_alias]&ctg=[conversion_target]&cid=[orderID]&orv=[order_value]&orc=[order_currency] corresponds with the conversion (lead, sale, etc.). Please note that the i123456789 element is the ID identifying your advertiser.

  6. Check whether the data in the parameters in the query corresponds with the data of the conversion you have processed. Particularly the conversion target value, tracking category value and the order ID value should be checked thoroughly.

  7. Make a screenshot of the data logged in your recording tool, so you will be able to document your test.

UI check

When all the codes mentioned above have been logged by your recording tool and the data in the parameters corresponds with the details of your test conversion, your tracking test has been successful. All you have to do now is check whether the conversion is visible in your admin UI. To do so, make sure you do the following:

  • Login to your admin UI, click on ‘finance’ and proceed to click on ‘conversions’.

  • Find your test conversion using the filter options. Please note that it may take up to five minutes before your test conversion has been uploaded to the UI. You can also check whether your test order appears in the reporting section. If you also want to check the click, please note that it may take up to sixty minutes before clicks are uploaded to the UI.

If you have finished your tracking test, please do not forget to cancel the related conversion.

Common errors

If you have followed all the instructions above and find your tracking test failed, this does not necessarily mean the tracking is malfunctioning. Please consider the following:

  • Please make sure sub IDs you have added to the click URL are configured properly. If they aren’t, tracking of the initial click might be tackled.

  • The IP address from which you are processing a test might be blacklisted. Many companies run call centers processing orders by phone: to avoid these conversions being attributed to partners, the IP address is blocked for tracking.

  • Please make sure the confirmation page of your advertiser does not contain any javascript errors. Javascript errors can keep the tracking code from being run. This error is particularly common when container tag implementation is used.

  • The combination of tracking categoryconversion target and conversion ID must be unique for an order to be tracked. Therefore, be very careful with reloading the confirmation page or using the same conversion ID twice.

Validate tracking URLs using preview mode

You can call any tracking URL in preview mode just adding at the end: &preview_mode=1

For more information about the preview mode, please read this article.