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  1. #1
    Newbie Rhawn's Avatar
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    Getting Google Conversion Tracking to work on an outbound php
    I am attempting to get Google Conversion tracking to work on an affiliate site, where a person clicks on of my affiliate links, which takes them to an outbound php file which sends them to the merchant. I've added the proper google code to this outbound php file, but alas, it doesn't work. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Are you referring to setting 'goals' in Google Analytics? I'm very much a newbie with Google (and self-taught in PHP). I'd like to try to contribute to someone else's question though, instead of just asking my own, so here goes!

    You're looking to track your click-throughs independent of the merchant or network, right? And set goals based on click-throughs in Analytics? If this is the case, I don't see that you would add any code to your php link.

    If I were doing this I would:
    a) Have my Google Analytics tracking code in my html.
    b) Set up my goal page as being the address of my php file (ie http://www.yoursite.com/visit/goal.php and replacing relevant text with your file address)

    I haven't done this, but I don't see why that wouldn't work. Most people who track their click-throughs independently use PHP/mySQL though, and have a field in their database for that. As your number of 'goals' in Analytics is limited, I think using a mySQL database for this would probably make more sense. Unless of course you wanted to track their specific path to see where you're losing them.

    As another thought, if you've set everything up in Analytics correctly and are testing it yourself to see if it tracks but not seeing results, check to see if you've filtered out visits from your own IP address. If thats the case, disable that option during your testing or try it out from another computer.

    Hope I understood your question and answered correctly!
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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Rehan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhawn
    I am attempting to get Google Conversion tracking to work on an affiliate site, where a person clicks on of my affiliate links, which takes them to an outbound php file which sends them to the merchant. I've added the proper google code to this outbound php file, but alas, it doesn't work. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
    If by "outbound php file" you mean a simple 302 redirect with no HTML content, then you could try a different approach instead... Show the user a brief "Redirecting to ______ ..." page, on which the conversion tracking code would be placed. After 5 seconds or so, that page could meta refresh redirect to the merchant's site. And you could also include a "If you are not redirected automatically, click here" kind of link in case any of the visitors have problems with the meta refresh.

  4. #4
    Newbie Rhawn's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply lschofield, but I am talking about the actual conversion tracking offered by Google. Look in your Campaign Summary and you can see the conversion tracking link besides tools. When working, this feature tracks conversions you define on a campaign wide basis. By keyword, by ad, etc.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    But a click to the merchant isn't necessarily a conversion. What would be really nice is if Google allowed us to trigger the conversions on our own somehow from an sid report. We'd have to store the search queries on our own by grabbing it from the referring URL and tell Google which searches led to a sale and at what time. Might be nearly impossible to track it back o the exact AdWords click, so I don't really know the plausibility of this scenario.

    - Scott
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  6. #6
    Newbie Rhawn's Avatar
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    It all depends on how you are defining conversions. In this sense I just want to track which visitors click through to my merchant. I guess I could set up an HTML redirect page, but I think that scares away alot of browsers. Giving the appearance of clicking on a link that takes them right to the free demo or purchase page accounts for alot. I guess it can't be done, its certainly not working for me.

  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    You can use click throughs as a proxy for sales - not a perfect proxy, but if you're doing a lot of pre-selling, it can be a reasonable proxy.

    There are some commercial services that will do this for you... and therein lies the hint (a seperate tracking domain) that you'll need to do this (given the tech restrictions on redirecting using php output - no output to browser can precede the redirect).

    Got my point? This approach in thinking should bring several stratagies to mind - if not, you're not exploring it far enough mentally.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
    Newbie Rhawn's Avatar
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    I'm still a grommet in this world so I get about half your point. Find an external site/co that tracks conversions or set up my own tracking domain on a different site. I think

    I don't get what you are saying about strategies, but thats no surprise to me at least.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    You could also try something as simple as loading up a blank page on which is stored your G analytic code and have the page autoforward after 1/2 a second. That ought to be enough time to pass the information over to Google, the blank page will look like a new page is loading (as opposed to a "redirecting you now" page), and the half second difference will be small enough that your user probably won't notice that anything happened.
    Chris Sturgill
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  10. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhawn
    Find an external site/co that tracks conversions or set up my own tracking domain on a different site.
    Yep, these are ways it can be done.

  11. #11
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbsturg
    You could also try something as simple as loading up a blank page on which is stored your G analytic code and have the page autoforward after 1/2 a second. That ought to be enough time to pass the information over to Google, the blank page will look like a new page is loading (as opposed to a "redirecting you now" page), and the half second difference will be small enough that your user probably won't notice that anything happened.
    You can't do a php redirect this way, but might use a header meta refresh or javascript approach - but there's still a problem... the G code snippet needs time to load and execute. That time depends on both G and the user's computer and connectivity (and in the case of javascript, their securitry settings), so allowing enough time to ensure the code functions, yet short enough to not leave the consumer waiting, is a pretty fine balancing act.

    If you're doing appreciable volume, you may also negotiate dynamic snippet code injection with your merchant.

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    You can't do a php redirect this way, but might use a header meta refresh or javascript approach - but there's still a problem... the G code snippet needs time to load and execute.
    My suggestion was not too clear. I was not suggesting this as a PHP redirect (as the header would have already been sent), but as simple javascript snippet (location.href or equivalent) that was executed after a set amount of time (as small as necessary for Google to do its thing but not attract the notice of the user).

    Could you not put the javascript command directly under the function that G calls in its analytics snippet? My understanding is that that line of code would not execute until the Google function had completed. You could include a manually link to the page in noscript commands so those with javascript disabled will still be able to get to the desired page.

    Obviously getting the merchant to agree to put tracking code on their end would be the best solution. But like Donuts said, you would probably have to be driving quite a bit of traffic for them to consider it (depending on the size of the merchant and the control the affiliate manager has over the actual code on the merchant's pages...).
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  13. #13
    Newbie Rhawn's Avatar
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    I get why it doesn't work now, the g code has to have time to execute.

    Can you guys please recommend a solid tracking software or website? I did a G search and my head is still spinning.

  14. #14
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    You're not going to get Google conversion tracking without placing code on the merchant site.

    You need a tool like Affiliate Radar that will track conversions without placing code on the merchant site.

    check it out: www.affiliateradar.com

    -Mark

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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  16. #16
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I do have some expertise in setting up Google Analytics, Google Checkout in a variety of shopping carts for client's Adwords accounts. Once done properly even e-mail conversions showup in the GA reports, and a merchant with multiple sites gets some conversion transparency.

    A merchant, who has trust in an affiliate partner to create a product showcase, could allow the affiliate to actually place the Add to shopping cart form on their domain page. Many GA compatible carts have this feature to place the "buy now" form on any HTML page. Place the affiliate GA code for 3rd party cart domains on their own landing page and embed the GA conversion script into the final checkout pages for GA reporting.

    I'm not sure of any way or benefit that would come from GA without access to embed the GA shopping cart part of the equation. Tracking clicks to a pseudo goal page just leaves a black hole thereafter as to conversion status.
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