Project Wonderful is a great and fairly inexpensive way to advertise your handmade shop. Publishers place ad boxes on their pages, and then advertisers bid to have their ads included in the ad boxes.
Project Wonderful has a pretty basic tracking system that tells you how many times your ads have been displayed and how many clicks you've received, but when you're looking at your shop stats from Google Analytics, it's difficult to see which visits came through your Project Wonderful ads because the visits are shown as coming directly from the page where the ad box was displayed. If you're bidding on several different pages at once automatically, you might not recognize some of the referring sites, and when you visit them to find out how you were linked, your ad may no longer be there (if you have been outbid, for instance.)
One way to track your ad performance is to include a reference code in the URL that you enter when you set up a Project Wonderful ad. You can then see exactly which visits came through your Project Wonderful ad campaign.
To add a reference code, you just need to add a question mark followed by the code. For example:
You enter this URL in the "What URL..." box when you are creating a new ad:
(note - if you want to add the ref code to an existing ad, you'll have to cancel all active bids first before you can make changes.)
Your code can be whatever you like, but be sure not to duplicate one of Etsy's existing codes or you'll have your data mixed up. If you are running more than one ad, you might want to have separate codes for each one.
To look at your visits from Project Wonderful ads, you can then follow instructions from other posts at this blog to create custom reports or set goals that will filter these visits from your content reports and show you the results.