Ad tracking is the most effective way to measure campaign performance. Whether through Google or Facebook, mobile or desktop, search or display, methods of ad tracking like UTM parameters are what advertisers use to uncover better, more profitable campaigns.

What is ad tracking?
Ad tracking refers to the process of using data to measure ad performance. Clicks, impressions, conversions, and more, can be measured in several ways, with URLs, cookies, and even invisible images called “pixels”:

ad tracking Instapage UTM parameters

Though ad tracking is sometimes considered “creepy” because it involves certain levels of user behavior tracking, it’s certainly legal. However, it’s more highly regulated than it once was due to increasing concerns over user privacy.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was the first to designate cookies as personal information. It paved the way for similar legislation from different governing bodies worldwide. Now, advertisers must adhere to strict rules when they collect user behavior for ad tracking or risk serious financial penalties.

Types of ad tracking
Ad tracking is a broad term. And though there are lots of tools and platforms for tracking ads, most methods include the following.

Tracking URLs
A tracking URL is a URL to a page on your site with a tracking tag on the end of it. The only difference between a tracking URL and a normal URL is the code placed at the end. For example, here’s a URL created with the UTM generator in Instapage: