Part of running any successful website, including a blog, involves proper tracking of the site’s traffic. You could rely on free services like Google Analytics and SiteMeter, but the trouble with these services is that they are only able to provide you with aggregate data. Vanguard Tracking is supposed to take the tracking game to a whole new level, helping you better understand and monetize that traffic. Over the course of this review, I’ll look into how the traffic tracker works and what options it offers.
According to the FAQ, Vanguard Tracking is distinctly different from the competition in that it does “event” based tracking. The primary goal of this service is to see if your advertising dollars are actually working by tracking the conversions. Traditionally, you would have to do this through click-tracking URLs, but Vanguard eliminates that part of the equation.
By going through the proper setup process, you can filter your visitors based on the original source of the traffic. This way, you can see if your Google AdSense campaign is actually “worth it” in terms of the conversions (and commissions) that you get through an affiliate deal. Instead of simple aggregate data, this traffic tracking solution allows you to review the traffic based on events. An example event would be if someone made a purchase having come from a certain page on your website.
Installation, Setup, and Configuration
First, you will need to embed the tracking code on your site, ensuring that it will appear on each and every page. If you run a WordPress blog, this can be accomplished by placing the code either in the header.php or footer.php file, so long as it is placed between the <body> and </body> tags.
Second, you will need to create the various “events” that you would like track. There are internal events (from pages within your website) and external events (when traffic arrives from outside your site). Understanding the “event” concept can be a little confusing, so I would highly recommend that Vanguard Tracking put together a brief tutorial on their website. Videos are best, but a simple text-and-screenshot tutorial would work as well.
Third, you just have to wait for the traffic to start coming in so that you can view the various reports. This data is displayed under two different tabs in the Control Panel: Activity and Reports. The former can show website activity by event, whereas the latter tracks website users.
Aside from the primary event-based tracking, Vanguard Tracking also lets you configure a number of other settings. This is so that it can provide you with exactly the data that you need. For example, you can define what it means to be a unique user. What timeframe would you use? One hour? One day? One month?
Other options allow you to ignore search engine robots, ignore proxies, prevent duplicate income, prevent duplicate expenses, and provide a default keyword key. Again, it would very useful if Vanguard Tracking had more comprehensive documentation, because it can be difficult to understand exactly what all of these mean. I know that it wasn’t exactly easy for me to figure out what was going on.
Primarily a Conversion Tracker
Instead of using unique tracking URLs every time that you’d like to track the activity of incoming and outgoing traffic, it could be easier to simply invest in a system like that offered by Vanguard Tracking. You can set up various events and keep a close eye on whether your advertising dollars are actually performing.
Installation and configuration seemed like a straightforward process, but it can also be very confusing without the proper documentation. The layout of the information and control panel is also very plain; the Vanguard site could stand to get a design upgrade.
Vanguard Tracking costs $49.95 a month for up to one million page impressions. Each subsequent million (or portion thereof) costs an additional $24.95. This isn’t exactly cheap, especially for starting bloggers. At least there’s a money-back guarantee (fo the first month) and a free one-on-one consultation to get you started.