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How to setup PanelPlace conversion tracking

This is the most important setup for an Enhanced CPL/CPA campaign as it is used to capture a successful conversion when a user reached the conversion page. The conversion data will be used to optimize the campaign performance and for billing purposes. The conversion tracking can be implemented in one of the 3 methods:

1. Server postback URL
2. Image conversion pixel
3. Javascript tracker

To access the conversion tracking code for your campaign, go to your campaign detail and click on the Conversion Tracking tab. Within the tab, you will see the tracking codes for you to setup on your system or website.

Server Postback Tracking

Server postback tracking—also called “postback tracking” and “server-side tracking”—is the method of tracking conversions that uses the advertiser’s server rather than the user’s browser (as image pixel-based tracking does). We generally recommend using server postback tracking over image conversion pixel-based tracking because Server Postback is more reliable and accurate.

In addition, Server Postback tracking is required for campaigns that don’t direct to a website, notably for mobile apps or API-integrated campaign.

Implementing Server Postback Tracking

Overview of steps:

  1. First, the advertiser configures the campaign URL to capture identifier (PanelPlace Transaction ID) and other optional information (UTMs) sent to the advertiser on click.
  2. Once a click happens, the advertiser stores session information using one of the mechanisms (Database or Cookies).
  3. Finally, if the user converts, the advertiser fires a postback to PanelPlace with the session identifier and other information.

Configure Campaign URL

In order to capture the identifiers of each click, advertiser's campaign URL will need to include session parameters to capture the value of an unique Transaction ID.

In the campaign URL, match your session parameter with PanelPlace placeholder macro for tracking. The placeholder macro for Transaction ID is [transaction_id].

Parameters themselves can vary in name. For example, if your server expects the Transaction ID in a parameter called session_id, then the campaign URL should have session_id=[transaction_id] in its query string.

As an example, the campaign URL would then look something like this:

http://advertiser.example.com/landingpage01?session_id=[transaction_id]

After PanelPlace fills in values for the macros on click, the user is directed to a URL that looks similar to this:

http://advertiser.example.com/landingpage01?session_id=123456-abcde

Storing Session Identifiers

The advertiser needs to have some way of keeping track of the Transaction ID so it can report on sessions that convert. Because how to store the sessions depends on the advertiser’s technology, this is the most varied step in the process. Some common methods are: storing the data in a database or storing the data in a cookie.

Storing in Database
In cases where the advertiser stores session information in a database, the Transaction ID value can be stored as session data in the advertiser’s database. This is the most robust way of using server postback tracking because this method benefits from being able to track user conversions across devices and touchpoints. The session data is stored in a database and relates to a specific user, conversions are tracked independently of how the user engaged with the advertisement.

Storing in Cookie

In many cases, the advertiser’s site takes the Transaction ID and stores them as a cookie in the user’s browser.

Upon conversion, the advertiser retrieves the Transaction ID value from the cookie in the user’s browser. This is simpler for advertisers to implement, and a natural choice for those already tracking user sessions primarily with cookies.

However, if the cookie gets cleared or if the user converts on another browser or device, then the conversion won’t be recorded and causing low quality score for the campaign. As a result, we recommend avoiding this method.

Advertiser Returns ID upon Conversion

When a user from PanelPlace completes a conversion on an advertiser’s site/app, the advertiser needs to tell PanelPlace about the conversion. We call this “firing a postback”. The advertiser does this by sending a signal to our servers that uses two elements:

  • The campaign’s postback URL
  • The Transaction ID for that session

The postback URL is found in the Campaign Conversion Tracking tab and looks something like this:

https://trk.pp.com/v?transaction_id=[transaction_id]&channel=web&cmid=[Advertiser_unique_id]

In the above URL, the advertiser replaces [transaction_id] with the value of Transaction ID that they stored for that session, and replaces [YourMemberCode] with advertiser's own unique value for that particular session.

mceclip1.png

For example, if the advertiser had earlier received an Transaction ID of “123456-abcde” from PanelPlace, then with their own unique value of "112233" for that session, the postback URL becomes:

https://trk.pp.com/v?transaction_id=123456-abcde&channel=web&cmid=112233

In the Postback URL, Channel=web or Channel=api refers to whether this Postback is fired for a web base transaction or a non web base transaction (eg. Mobile apps or API-integrated campaign).

Note: The cmid value is supplied by the advertiser, it could be the unique user code for that transaction or any unique value that separate each conversion and traceable for data validation.

Image Conversion Pixel

Pixel tracking—is the method of tracking conversions that uses the user’s browser rather than the advertiser’s server (as server postback tracking does).

The first 2 steps, Configuring Campaign URL and Storing Session Identifier, are the same as Server Postback tracking, the difference is that user’s browser will load a 1 pixel by 1 pixel HTML container (the “pixel” or “image pixel”) which houses the campaign's conversion URL upon conversion. The advertiser needs to place this pixel on the page that measures the conversion. The advertiser also needs to make sure that the image pixel will only be loaded if the conversion is contributed by PanelPlace.

Upon conversion, the image pixel sends a signal to PanelPlace that includes the session identifier. The user remains on the advertiser website.

mceclip2.png

Essentially, the conversion URL is the same as the Server Postback URL but it is housed in the HTML container that looks something like this:

<img src="https://trk.pp.com/v?transaction_id=123456-abcde&channel=web&cmid=112233" width="1" height="1" border="0">

We suggest avoid using pixel tracking as much as possible because pixel tracking only works for non-mobile web traffic where cookies can be stored. Additionally, major browsers like Safari are moving away from allowing tracking-related cookies even for first parties.

Javascript Tracker

The JavaScript Tracking Code is the easiest way to track conversions with PanelPlace. It doesn't require server setup and can be implemented easily on Content Management System software or with Google Tag Manager.

How to Setup PanelPlace Javascript Tracker

 

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