Techniques For Tracking Return On Investment

When beginning to design a tracking system for your ROI you should be taking into account a number of aspects. Specifically the level of accuracy you will require, the volume of traffic you are expecting to be receiving and finally the overall budget for your project.

We have listed the different types of tracking available along with an evaluation of each types pros and cons.

Javascript ROI tracking solutions

Embedding specifically written javascript code into your pages will allow for the recording of conversion and page impression data. This is the same tracking as used in the Google Analytics tracking solution and offers a good solution where large volumes of data which isn’t mission critical.

It can be configured to record extra pieces of data which are most likely to be unavailable to other tracking solutions; such as browser and platform types.

Session data is recorded within a 1st or 3rd party cookie.


  • Visitor clicks on a link
  • They arrive at; the destination page
  • Javascript code in the page records the impression; usually via an image request
  • A cookie is usually dropped which can be used to record ongoing visits from this user

Main features:

+ Easy to write
+ Can record extended session data
+ Use of 1st party cookies
– Not 100% reliable
– Errors in code can effect page loading

302 redirect ROI tracking solutions

As an option to the reduced accuracy of javascript based solutions and to ensure all clicks and conversions are recorded requires the development of a 302 redirect process. This is a logging tool which subsequently tells the visitors browser that the page they have requested is no longer available at this destination – through the use of a 302 HTTP header response. Using a 302 response, rather than a 301, will ensure that the visitor will continue to be logged when further requests are made at a later time.


  • Visitor clicks on a link
  • They are taken to an intermediate tracking page; we shall call it
  • records the impression
  • drops a cookie to record ongoing visits from this user
  • A 302 header is sent which sends the user to
  • They arrive at

Main features:

+ More complex to write
+ Almost 100% reliable
– Use of 3rd party cookies
– Errors in code can prevent the landing page being reached

Log file ROI tracking solutions

This final model uses data already being recorded in your web server log files. No additional tracking code is required to be embedded and this is therefore a non-invasive technique. It does, however, require an offline process to be created which is capable of piecing together each visitor session an flagging each of those which went on to become conversion.


  • Visitor clicks on a link
  • They arrive at; the destination page
  • The impression is recorded in the servers log file data
  • The log files are processed post-event and any conversion data is extracted

Main features:

+ Relatively easy to write
+ Almost 100% reliable
+ Errors in code will not effect landing page
+ Offline recording does not effect loading of page
– Cookies cannot be used easily; dynamic data cannot be inserted

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