PurpleBlack Blog: Nothing but Native Advertising

Tracking & Data Harvesting Issues – How Native Ads Provide the Perfect Workaround

Performance-based advertising is integral to all digital marketing campaigns, whether native advertising or any other. Paid media and online marketing rely almost entirely on data harvesting. Marketers need data to evaluate how well their campaigns are working and if they are achieving the desired results. And, by results, we mean traffic and conversions. Real-time data helps marketers make quick decisions to tweak their campaigns to reach maximum audience and engagement.

Apple’s iOS 14 Tracking Updates Changed All That

When Apple released its data tracking update, most digital marketers were unaware of how it would impact their advertising campaigns. A few months down the line, as iPhone users exercised their option to disallow tracking, the full impact became apparent. Users could choose whether or not they wanted to allow social media sites like Facebook to harvest their data. This information can include browsing history, log records, interests, trends, and purchasing patterns. Using this information, digital marketers would analyze the buyer’s interests and spending habits. By deploying algorithms, they would design future ad campaigns.

Updated Data Facilitates Making Decisions in Real Time

Without this data, it becomes virtually impossible for marketers to predict market trends and buyer habits. What’s more, as a business owner looking to advertise products and services, you’ll need current and updated data. That’s how you’ll make the right decisions for your ad campaigns because data helps determine which are profitable and scalable. Yet another factor is timing. Most company owners and eCommerce brands tend to ramp up data harvesting during the Q4 or fourth quarter. Their objective is to rake in the maximum revenues during this period.

Native Advertising Ensure Secure Tracking

Native advertising uses platforms like Taboola, Yahoo Gemini, Outbrain, and several others for performance-based marketing. Before we talk about this any further, you should know that almost every media platform uses tracking pixels to track the source of their traffic and visitor behavior. And, this factor is true for Facebook, Instagram, Outbrain, and Taboola. They’ll pixel the entire funnel to gather information and determine if the visit actually translated into a successful conversion.

Understanding How to Server-to-Server Tracking Works

Server-to-server tracking is yet another strategy you can use, but losing traffic is a possibility during pixel implementation. Server-to-server tracking especially works when you’re successfully generating leads and have your API and platform. The server communicates back with the lead source, like Facebook, Taboola, or Outbrain. However, server-to-server tracking may not be successful if you’re using an eCommerce platform like Shopify. Particularly when you’re using pixel implementation on Taboola and Outbrain. This is why, you should deploy your own tracker when using native advertising. You’re going to need it when you’re ready to split data, split different campaign testing, and determine search bot traffic.

Native Advertising Trackers Do a Lot More

Ultimately, you’ll note that the tracker in native advertising does a lot more than simply track leads and their sources. The tracker provides valuable data that, in turn, help you evaluate the conversions you achieved. You’ll also use the data to do the split testing and work out KPIs. The native ads tracker is not just a standard tool, but a customized solution designed and developed for your needs.

Here’s how it works.

  1. You develop an ad campaign through the tracker and create the relevant link.
  2. You deploy the link into a traffic source like Taboola and Outbrain. Once published, the ad is visible to viewers visiting the website.
  3. A reader spots the ad heading and thinks it’s an interesting read worth exploring. They want to read the editorial to get more information about the product. So, they click on the ad.
  4. The tracker embedded in the ad generates real-time data capturing the persona and ID of the reader. This data is recorded in the tracking background solution as a Click ID.
  5. Although there are several methods to block or disable the Click ID, native ads use a different approach. They set a cookie on the reader using a combination of a favicon and additional tracking codes. The folks at Purple Black have developed this code specifically for their clients using extensive R&D. You can rely on the code as a completely legit and effective method that has proven to get you results.
  6. The codes generate not only a Click ID but also various other data that allows marketers to assess 20 parameters or more. Using this data and UTM parameters, marketers can identify the particular reader again. But more on that later.
  7. The Click ID then passes through the Landing Page and the Offer Page before moving through the Thank You page.

Data Gathering Process an Intricate Setup

The tracking process is an intricate setup that is best left to the experts. That’s because the data and parameters depend on several factors, including the specific project. Then again, marketers must ensure that the data passes along the correct path. Once the user arrives at the Thank you page, checking and double-checking the data is critical. 

This step ensures complete security and that you grab the conversion ID accurately. Once accuracy is affirmed, the data can be stored in the tracker. While the entire process might seem relatively straightforward, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes. Expert technicians are working to implement codes that have the system running smoothly.

Let’s Talk About UTM Parameters and the Issues with Them

utm_tracking

UTM parameters are in the form of short text codes inserted into the links or URLs. They’ll help you track the performance of your webpage or native ad campaign. The problem is that there’s always the possibility that ad blockers on the page block the UTM parameters. Or, that the traffic source or browser blocks or disallows the UTM. Then you also have regulations like the GDPR instituted by the EU that restrict how PII is gathered and stored. 

To get around the problem, marketers display the “cookie banner.” Anyone landing on the page can opt out or choose to decline the cookies. If that happens, Outbrain or any other traffic source will not capture or pass on the information. Further, if the user converts and makes a purchase, the data is not relayed to the dashboard. As a result, the data is not recorded, or you’ll see “0” conversions. The same issue stands with several other browsers like Apple and Safari that don’t allow data compiling. This can pose a huge problem because you need that data to optimize your campaigns and design new ones.

Native Advertising Works Around the Problem

As explained in the foregoing sections, native advertising can successfully overcome the problem by embedding codes in the link. If you need to track new conversions, you’ll need the funnel view, content view, and Add to Cart. Next, you’ll need to track through the Payment page and, finally, the Thank You page, where you confirm the order. If you have all this data, you can view it on the dashboard and monitor the ID’s journey through the funnel. And, that’s how business owners can make data-driven decisions. 


This is precisely what native advertising does and how you gather data perfectly legitly. Need more information on how this works and what it can do for you? Contact us at Purple Black, and let’s talk some more during your free consultation