HitsLink Campaign Tracking Issues? Try This…

First, let me just say that I love HitsLink. HitsLink is an ASP (aka hosted) web stats and visitor tracking provider. Basically, they are a competitor of sorts of WebTrends, Omniture, Coremetrics, ClickTracks and all the smaller web traffic stats companies out there. HitsLink is a bit on the lower-end in terms of price and robustness of their offering, but for most small businesses its more than adequate.

Their e-commerce version (“Enterprise” I believe is its official title) is what you really want though. Instead of just pumping money into PPC campaigns at Google and Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly Overture), as well as shopping search engines, banner ads, emails, etc. – you can now utilize HitsLink campaign tracking feature to tie actual sales to the ad campaign that drove that visitor to the site. Thus, after collecting data you learn what campaigns produce great ROI for you – and thus maybe warrant a larger budget – as well as which campaigns are real dogs and should be tweaked or shut down alltogether.

Anyhow, enough of the explanation. I use HitsLink on a number of sites, and typically the installation part is like 5 minutes, one-time, and then you never think about it again. However… I noticed an issue in moving from their “professional” edition to the “e-commerce” edition. I assumed I could keep the same script they require on each page for sending them the data. I saw nothing saying otherwise, but then again I’m not the most careful reader. I set up my campaigns with the normal syntax that had worked so well for me for other sites:


The Solution

Basically you use that link with the “?source=CampaignABC” at the end and that tells HitsLink what campaign to associate the visitor and any resulting sale with. Fair enough. Worked great for me on several sites. But for some reason for a couple of sites that I upgraded from the base version to advanced (base does not have campaign tracking feature) I couldn’t get it to work…

Then the lightbulb went off. Maybe the script on each page is different, depending upon the version of HitsLink you have. Bingo. The change in the roughly 20 line javascript is very small, but it is something. As soon as I went back and refreshed my scripts on each site with what was in the HitsLink interface and published the changed files to the sites they began picking up campaign activity. Thus, if you seem to have trouble getting campaign tracking to actually show any campaign traffic and sales stats, it may not be your URLs but rather the main javascript that goes in your footer. Try replacing it with the most current one that should be in your Account > Setup > Get Tracking Script menu in your HitsLink interface.

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