If you have the basics of Craigslist advertising down, tracking is a great advanced tactic that can help you gain a competitive advantage over your competition, because you can accurately test different variables. In fact, it is one of the factors that helped us create the Craigslist ad template that our clients use to generate 30+ leads per month from Craigslist.
That being said, Craigslist was originally created to be a community platform, so they don?t really focus much on helping advertisers improve their return on investment (ROI) with internal tracking features. In fact, they even go as far as blocking some third party tracking methods like page view counters. This ultimately makes it difficult to track ads on Craigslist and causes confusion about how to do it properly. That is why in this article we will discuss how to track Craigslist listings accurately without getting blocked.
What To Do
While there is no accurate way of tracking views on your Craigslist ads without violating Craigslist?s rules, that?s totally fine because views are not what you should be worried about anyway. At the end of the day, leads and revenue should be the main metrics that you focus on when evaluating the effectiveness of any advertising campaign. With that in mind, the good news is that call tracking and email tracking are good ways to track the leads coming from your ads, and you can attribute sales and revenue based on lead tracking data. These two tracking methods can also be effectively used in combination with each other or on their own.
Method 1: Call Tracking
The best way we have found to accurately track Craigslist listings without getting banned, is by using a call tracking software like CallRail. This platform allows you to record calls from your ads using call tracking phone numbers and do A/B testing.
Method 2: Email Tracking
If you?d rather not spend the money on call tracking you can simply not include a phone number in your ads and use Craigslist?s email tracking to see which ad copy generates more leads.
That being said, we don?t recommend doing this for certain Craigslist categories where email responses are not as commonly used by people, and/or for a long period of time. It is mainly just good for testing purposes.
How to A/B Test Your Craigslist Ads
If you don?t know what A/B testing is, it?s just a fancy way of saying that you can test various versions of your ads to see which of them generate you the more of the quality leads that you are looking for.
Single Variable Testing
If you are looking to find out if a certain variable has any impact on ad performance, you can do a controlled experiment. Essentially, you would create two ads that are identical in every way except for one test variable (the title, images, etc) and use different tracking numbers and/or email tracking to see if there is a positive or negative change in results after changing that variable.
Testing Ad Variations
The other way you can test ads is by using two or more completely different ad variations in order to see which one performs the best.
How to Increase Craigslist Ad Views and Leads
All this testing stuff is great if you are a tracking nerd, but to be honest it is not 100% required in order to get Craigslist success. As long as you get a few main aspects of your ad down, and your industry is well suited for Craigslist advertising, you are pretty much set. Any testing is likely to get you only marginal returns if any, particularly if you are only advertising in your local area.
That is why we ultimately recommend that you get the basics down before you start using advanced strategies like A/B testing.
What NOT To Do
There are many Ad tracking methods and softwares like ClickMeter out there that simply do not work because Craigslist has blocked them at some point. Below are some of the methods that you should avoid.
Don?t Use Craigslist Page View/Hit Tracking HTML Counters
Many people recommend using a free HTML invisible hit/view counter for Craigslist, but from our understanding this practice is against Craigslist?s guidelines, and they block Craigslist hit counter tracking code in most categories.
Don?t Use URL Shorteners or Redirects
While URL shorteners and redirects are great tracking methods on many platforms, Craigslist hates them and will even ban your account for using them. This is mainly because they cannot easily track where the links are pointed.
Don?t Try to Track Craigslist Ads With Google Analytics
How to Track Craigslist Listing Analytics Conclusion
While it is helpful to track advertising campaigns, it is not always that straightforward or what is going to move the needle directly in terms of results. Before you start blindly testing things, read our Craigslist advertising guide to make sure you have the basics down. Once you do, and you are looking to take your ads to the next level, we recommend using call and email tracking to properly track and test your Craigslist Ads.