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Tracking 202 Review
Date Added: 5/1/2009     Reviewer: RickSwanson
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Website URL: http://www.tracking202.com
Company Name: Tracking 202
Alexa Traffic Rank: 14,135
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Tracking 202 Description

Tracking 202 is a web-based pay per click marketing analytics software platform that comes in two versions – free and paid subscription. It gives pay per click marketers the ability to track costs and revenue in real time as well as providing other more sophisticated features such as keyword tracking and keyword cloaking. The product was developed by Wes Mahler out of his own need to better track his affiliate marketing campaigns.

Tracking 202 Detailed Overview

For anyone that has done pay per click marketing for some time, one of the biggest challenges that consistently comes up is how to effectively track the profitability of campaigns. If you only have a handful of campaigns and a few dozen keywords all running on one paper click search engine, tracking is a fairly simple process. However, many affiliate marketers soon find themselves with dozens of campaigns and thousands of keywords which are spread across multiple search engines. Tracking at this level becomes extremely complex and hard to manage and it is here that Tracking 202 seeks to help out.

What is Tracking 202 and how does it work?

Tracking 202 is a browser-based pay per click tracking platform that allows users to measure their advertising costs as well as their revenue. The program's primary benefit is that it saves time. Normally, in order to effectively track advertising costs, a user would have to log into all of the advertising networks on which a given campaign is running and download their cost data. With Tracking 202, the user simply inputs the maximum cost they are willing to pay for each keyword into the system and as advertisements are clicked they register in the system and are automatically included as cost data.

The free version of Tracking 202 works by walking the user through a series of eight steps some of which may or may not be used depending upon the user's goals.

These are:

  1. Setting up PPC Accounts
  2. Setting up Affiliate Networks
  3. Setting up Affiliate Campaigns
  4. Setting up Landing Pages
  5. Setting up Text Ads
  6. Getting Landing Page Codes
  7. Getting Links for the Ad Networks
  8. Getting Postback or Pixel

Getting into the details of each of the steps is beyond the scope of this short review. In essence however, to promote a product a user enters the affiliate link, the location that the ad will send the user to (destination URL) and then finally getting the link provided by the Tracking 202 system for submission to the search engine.

What are the differences between the free and paid subscription versions?

If the free version of Tracking 202 does have one weakness is that cost data was only tracked using an average cost per click. Unfortunately, as anyone who has done pay per click marketing knows keyword bids can vary widely even within the same campaign. The paid version of Tracking 202 is fully integrated with the Google, Yahoo and MSN which means that actual cost data is downloaded and integrated into reporting. This is important since affiliate marketers need to understand what is happening with each individual keyword in order to accurately measure their profits and losses. Additionally, Tracking 202 Pro is fully integrated with all the major affiliate networks and so each time a lead is generated or sale is made, the software automatically updates this information as well which makes it a truly hands-off, real time analytics package.

The drawback to Tracking 202 and Tracking 202 Pro is that the software is not hosted on your own domain but rather is hosted on Tracking 202’s servers. Some affiliate marketers may be uncomfortable with this since all of their sensitive data is vulnerable to being compromised. However, Wes Mahler and his crew have a high reputation for integrity and at the time of this writing I've never had any complaints about campaign information being stolen.

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Tracking 202 Reputation

Wes Mahler is a full time affiliate marketer and software developer who lives in San Francisco, California. The release of Tracking 202 caused a sensation in the affiliate marketing world when it was released in 2007. With the advent of real-time tracking affiliates could now see how their campaigns were performing as never before. Mr. Mahler goes to great lengths to support his product and is well respected within the affiliate marketing community.

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One of the worst tracking tools I have used

I actually discovered Tracking 202 absolutely accidentally around three months ago. The product seemed promising at first and I decided to give it a shot since it was offering a free version. I was searching for a tool that can give me statistics about my advertisements but this one proved to be a waste of time unfortunately. I never tried the paid version and can't say how better it will be, but I doubt that it will be worth it. Overall I didn't like the program itself. The whole thing was made quite simple and it didn't seemed professionally made. Despite of that, I got quite a few problems when it comes to setting the program. It was quite confusing at times and it took me quite some efforts to finally get the hang of it. After I did, I was very disappointed since the information I got on my ads was vague and it was not useful at all to me. I also wasn't able to find good information on the keywords and not only that but it just wasn't structured in a good way and understanding was a hard thing. Based on my experience with tracking 202 and other products on the subject I have used, I wouldn't recommend that specific tracking tool. It needs a lot of optimizations to work properly and the time it takes is just too much.
 
 


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avatar 5,000 Credits - Internet Marketing Master   by petur_dimitrov on February 15, 2010 at 4:02 PM CST

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Wastes Way Too Much Time For Messy Results

I tested the free version of Tracking 202 and was so dissatisfied that I didn't want to even waste my money with a paid subscription. While I'm sure that by paying for the Pro version, you will inevitably get a better product, the free Tracking 202 was so lacking that I didn't feel like taking that risk. For starters everything is set up pretty amateurly, for lack of a better term. Not only does it not give you the specific stats that you would need to know to find out which ads are working for you and which ones aren't but the setting up process is so long and drawn out that I wasted much too much time trying to get started. It advertises that it will track multiple keyword clusters and ads, but the data that it feeds you is pretty messy and takes to long to read through and try to figure out what feedback is for which set of ads. It's not worth it if you ask me, as there are much better similar products out there and I finally gave up with Tracking 202 after the first month.
 
 


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avatar 10,000 Credits - Internet Marketing Guru   by runnerchick081 on October 14, 2009 at 8:36 AM CST

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Don't go for the free version

Tracking 202 has two versions - a free one and a pro one. The free one is manual and only gives estimated data, and is just absolutely frustrating. It kept stalling my computer. The pro version is automated and just lovely. The data and reporting is extremely accurate.
 
 


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avatar 2,000 Credits - Top Contributor   by megumiart on July 10, 2009 at 4:31 PM CST

 
 
 
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