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Paid Search (PPC)

Tracking the performance of your ads has become more essential than ever before, as it gives marketers the option to measure the impact of their online advertising campaigns. Ad tracking offers the opportunity to effectively gather valuable data and user insights that will help businesses to achieve their marketing goals. You can learn everything about PPC ads in our guide, but today we’ll focus on how your restaurant can track them effectively.

To the average person, the idea of a company tracking your behaviour online seems daunting and invasive. The reality is, it’s simply a way for marketers to analyse use performance of their ads so that they can better market their products or services to the right kind of audience. To put users' minds at ease, there are now rules that are implemented to ensure marketers are collecting data lawfully, and serious penalties if they don’t. In order to understand which campaigns are getting you the most conversions (and which ones aren’t) tracking ads is completely necessary.

What makes ad tracking so important?

Marketers can easily take a guess as to why certain ad campaigns might not be doing so well, but the data is what really matters. It gives an insight into why, when and how users are dropping off and not turning into conversions. It also shows you exactly the right moment when users are converting, which enables you to use this to your advantage. Ad tracking provides businesses with a plethora of information, from clicks and views to impressions. By understanding what parts of their online ads are engaging users most businesses can make better-informed decisions on what’s going to earn the most attention from their audiences, therefore optimising and personalising their ads for a successful user experience. With PPC ads, this can help to ensure the ROI (return on investment) is considerably higher, after all nobody wants to use up a chunk of their budget on ads to get little to no conversions.

Types of ad tracking

There are a variety of options to explore when it comes to running PPC ads, you can use platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Instagram whilst many businesses also choose to use Bing, LinkedIn and most recently TikTok. Each platform works differently, and ads should be tailored to individual sites based on audience demographics and layout.

Tracking Pixels

A tracking pixel is a very small, transparent 1x1 image that usually lies on top of a webpage, email or online ad. When the pixel loads, it signals back to you that one of those three items has been opened. Tracking pixels are able to provide businesses with valuable information about the user’s activity, which in turn helps them to customise their ads to create a more personalised experience for the user. The more pixels that load with fewer clicks generated, shows marketers that an ad has not been successful. They're fantastic at assisting a company in better customising the consumer journey when used correctly. Facebook also allows you to track their ads with their Meta pixel tracker, particularly useful for mobile tracking. It’s important to remember this as Facebook also owns Instagram - both very popular social platforms that when valuable insight is gained, can achieve great results for an ad campaign.

Tracking URLs

A tracking URL is a URL that includes a tracking token at the end of what would otherwise be a regular URL. It's arguably the simplest way to track ad performance because it only takes changing the end of the URL; the token is also known as a UTM parameter. When a user clicks on a URL with the tracking token on the end of it, a signal is sent to notify that the page has been opened. They’re useful because they tell a business where the user came from, for example, you’ll see a “source=” within the URL, which provides information on whether the user clicked through from a website or email. This method is ideal for receiving data on ad campaigns, emails and webpages that will better help you to understand the amount of traffic they have generated.


In order to be effective, cookies must be used appropriately and accurately. They are browser files that help teams to gain a better insight into the users' behaviours and preferences, but they frequently contain sensitive information that requires the user's permission to access. You'll commonly encounter this while trying to enter a website and being asked to consent to the use of cookies. Cookies allow a marketing team to develop customised profiles for consumers, allowing them to create advertisements based on their preferences, enhancing the campaign's success.

DoubleClick ad tracking

DoubleClick was acquired by Google nearly 15 years ago and is an ad management platform that enables companies to run campaigns across a number of different channels. If you’ve ever found that you’ve been followed by a certain ad as you browse the internet at any point then it was likely because of DoubleClick ads. The system analyses user behaviour and determines the optimal use of advertising space for a given site by using first and third-party cookies. Websites ‘rent’ out space on their sites through the platform for advertisers to place ads where they see the most user activity. It has since been rebranded as Google Ads Manager.

So there you have it: ad tracking helps businesses to monitor the effectiveness of their internet advertising campaigns. The advantages are indisputable and are the driving force behind many successful campaigns. Every component of your restaurant's marketing strategy must include an understanding of your consumer's interests and behaviours, and ad tracking is essential in finding out how they’re engaging with your advertisements.