I have a problem. It’s the same problem most people selling stuff have. I cannot be sure that my adverts actually work. I can be *pretty* sure they do, but I really would benefit from some hard statistical data. Using technical means to track visitors and sales with cookies has failed me. I tried the google ecommerce tracking stuff, but frankly it was chaos.
One method, used in the newspaper industry, is to use coupons. You print a 10% off coupon on the advert, and then every customer who uses the coupon must have seen the ad (directly or indirectly). This could work, but of course it relies on people actually using the coupon. Because game demos are generally tried, and people play them for hours, if not days, the chances are people forget all about the coupon when buying. I suspect this method is as leaky as any other.
I could mitigate that by removing the game demo link entirely. This is something I have never done, and am not keen on, but it would be possible.
Another method could involve having a special version of the demo which writes a file to disk. When the full game is first run, it could check for that file, and if found, report to my server that an ad-driven sale took place. Ideally, the demo installer would have the ad-click referer embedded in it somewhere, but at this point things start to get uber-involved.
I’m very interested to know other peoples experiences and tricks. How do you know whether an ad campaign, or a website review or link, or other traffic source is actually generating sales?