UPDATE: This article is no longer useful. Craigslist has disallowed embedded images in their posts and this tracking method is obsolete.
I’ve made thousands of dollars from leads generated by CraigsList Ads. At first I didn’t care how much views my ads received. I only cared about who called me or clicked on my website’s link because I can easily monitor that.
With a bad economy, it became harder to generate the same amount of leads.
This is the point where conversion optimization becomes important. I knew the leads were still coming from classified ads. But I needed a way to determine how competitive my ad’s title was compared to others. Because this is what people saw before they decided to click through to see the full ad.
With this information I could tweak my titles. And even tweak my ad copy to achieve a higher conversion rate.
CraigsList does not allow tracking of ads in most of its sections. In fact I’ve only tracked ads in the services section. So if you try the method I’m about to give you in other sections, be prepared to have it pulled. The method I use have not caused any red flags to go up (yet).
To do this, go to StatCounter.com and sign up for a free account.
Go ahead and complete the tracker creation process. You will get a piece of code that is an image enclosed by a link tag. You can extract just the img part of this snippet because that’s all you need.
It will look like this : <img src=”http://c.statcounter.com/4697119/0/f98546e2/1/” alt=”vBulletin counter” border=”0″>
Please do not use the code above…it probably won’t work for you.
Now go ahead and paste this on the bottom of your ad.
Please note; Because this will now report that your ad has an image, if you do not add your own image, then it will be seen as deceptive when some one views the ad and see no image. Add an image to make it legit.
Within minuets of posting, you should start seeing total views and unique hits on your ad. If it works fine, you will see 1 hit. This is you, because you should have previewed the ad before submitting.
Let me know if this was helpful. I’ve been using this for a few months now and it has been working fine for me.
UPDATE (1/1/2013): This must be retested. I stopped posting tracked ads because I think CL moderators were flagging them. So not sure if this method is still possible.
Tracking by using images in ads will never be stopped, unless they stop external image linking somehow and/or reject images in their ads altogether, which probably won’t happen.
How you do this is not with anything that looks like a tracker url for the image. It probably should look like it’s calling an actual image file.
Please note that I’m not endorsing any action to spy on CL users. The information you collect is not personally identifiable and should only be used to improve your CTR (Click Through Rate)