July 17, 2024

WordPress and AWeber: The AWeber Ad Tracking Variable on Steroids

Know What Traffic Source a Subscriber Came From in AWeber – For Free

AWeber Tip- Ad Tracking Variable on Steroids The Problem: WordPress Bloggers using AWeber need to track Squeeze Page Opt-ins so we can tell where our subscribers are coming from.

This can be awkward since AWeber only gives us the name of the Squeeze page, not how a subscriber got to the Squeeze Page. The only way to look at your subscribers in AWeber and determine where they came from was to have many duplicate Squeeze Pages. Each copy must have a different name that corresponds with the traffic source.   If you have many different traffic sources and want to compare conversion rates the result could be dozens of duplicate Squeeze Pages.

Let’s fix that problem (using free tools)…

BTW Tracking Affiliate Sales Is Another Reason To Track Opt-In Sources

While I am primarily looking at tracking “How did a subscriber get onto my list?” for purposes of testing and evaluating ads, another reason to track where leads come from occurs when you have affiliates sending traffic to you.   If you want to pay or at least evaluate based on how many leads actually subscribed to your list from each affiliate, you need to be able to track opt-ins back to their source.

Why Tracking Squeeze Page Opt-ins is Critical

Let me stop for a minute and address why tracking where-a-subscriber-came-from has been a problem.

Autoresponder systems, like AWeber, are critical to the process of building your subscriber list. Their name implies that they focus on “responding,” but equally important is the process of “collecting subscribers.” The basics are simple, beyond that it gets, shall we say: “Interesting…”.

I’m not going to go into advanced Internet Marketing techniques that develop Sales Funnels (or as I like to think of it a List Building Funnel) like: Traffic à Squeeze page (with an opt-in form) à One-Time-Offer à Exit-popup à Upsell à Downsell, etc. I’m just going to talk about a basic List Building Funnel with Traffic à Squeeze Page à Thank You/One-Time-Offer/Sales à Thank You for One-Time-Offer.

These “Sales/List-Building Funnels” can be somewhat complicated to build since they can involve three different computer systems working together. See my post on using 1) WordPress, 2) AWeber and 3) PayPal to move the subscriber between the various pages.   http://halepringle.com/internet-marketing-sales-funnel-diagram-connecting-your-free-and-paid-offers/

Even after we have built a system that will successfully move a subscriber through our system we are not done. Not by a long shot.   We need to be able to test how to improve our results and in order to do that we must “track our conversions.”

Tracking Conversions

Such a simple phrase, but what does it mean?

A basic fundamental of building sales/list-building funnels (in order to build our subscriber lists) is that we need to test, test, and test again. We need the numbers to track what works and what doesn’t. Without those numbers we can be sure that we are throwing money down the drain.

So what do we track?

This can get very complicated, but there are some basic numbers that are critical to the process.

  1. Impressions – how many people saw each ad?
  2. Clicks – how many people actually responded to each ad and arrived on our Squeeze Page?
  3. Conversions – how many people actually took us up on our offer and traded their email address for whatever free material we were using as an Ethical Bribe?   In other words – how many people actually ended up on our list? (Note: the source with the largest number of clicks (arrived on the Squeeze Page) is not necessarily the source that provides the most conversions!)
  4. Sales – how many people actually paid for our One-Time-Offer?
  5. Post-Sales – You can go further and track sales later in your funnel since Internet Marketers tend to agree that most sales happen down in your Follow Up Sequence – often way down in your Follow Up Sequence.

These numbers come from different sources, so we usually end up using a spreadsheet (or an expensive company) to actually pull them all into one place.

Sources For The Numbers We Use To Track Squeeze Page Opt-Ins


Impressions: Every system that sells ads will tell your how many impressions you get. You can also check your WordPress Statistics to see how many people arrived on one of your pages to determine how often your sidebar opt-ins are being seen.

Clicks: There are lots of ways to collect click information. I like to centralize mine using a free tool and so I often use the free Plugin called Pretty Link Lite. I route each lead to a link I create in Pretty Link and later we can look at our Pretty Link dashboard and see how many clicks each Pretty Link got. I’ll show a screen shot of Pretty Link shortly.

Opt-ins: This is where things get tricky with WordPress and AWeber. If you are willing to create a duplicate Squeeze Page for every ad, very ad source, every new version of an ad, then the basic numbers are there. AWeber has a field where they automatically track the web page a subscriber was on when they subscribed to your list. As I hope was obvious above, using this field to track your conversions can result in a huge number of pages – did I mention HUGE.

Sales: A person opted-in to our list and then purchased the One-Time-Offer product. Which ad did they respond to before they were presented the One-Time-Offer?

Follow-up Sales: This gets more into the life-time value of the customer. Again it would be nice to track customers who have a large value back to their original source.

Why Is This So Difficult?


Since the leads are arriving at my Squeeze page from a source that I set up (a FB ad, a sidebar widget, a Solo ad, a JV Giveaway ad, etc.), I should be able to tell the Squeeze Page where the lead is coming from. On regular website, web masters usually do this by adding a parameter to the end of the Squeeze Page URL. The values for this parameter are unique for each traffic source.

So the question becomes “How do I use one Squeeze Page with a parameter and pass the value of that parameter into AWeber?”

By default WordPress very carefully strips off any parameters you try to pass into a page. That makes tracking where a page came from difficult.   You can do it on a global level. Google Analytics will tell your how many people arrived on a page from another page. Tracking individual subscribers to get the data we are talking about here is more difficult.

The Solution To Tracking Squeeze Page Opt-Ins

What I ended up finding is a five step process. It does require some minor tweaking here and there, but not much.

Note;  If you need more information on creating a simple squeeze page using native WordPress try this post: http://halepringle.com/basic-aweber-training-basic-squeeze-pages/

Step 1: Getting Ready – WordPress Setup – One Time Setups

Step 1a: Install the URL Params plugin that will allow us to pass a parameter into the Squeeze Page and then pass it on to AWeber.   This is a one-time procedure.     In the “Add Plugins” area search for “URL Params”. Install it and activate it.

Download URL Params PluginAWeber Tip- Install URL Params

(Note: I am aware that this hasn’t been updated in a while. People are still downloading it and they are not complaining on the author’s web site. I feel safe in continuing to use it.)

Step 1b. Install Pretty Link Lite to help us track the clicks. This installation is also a one-time procedure. Search for “Pretty Link Lite”. And install and activate.

Step 1c. I’m going to suggest you also install a plugin called Toggle The Title. Search for “Toggle the Title”. Install and activate. This one is not strictly necessary, but it does help.

Step 1d. I’m also going to suggest that you install a small plugin called Wp Hide Post. This lets you tell Google that you do NOT want your squeeze page to show in any Google or Site searches. You can also hide the page from searches done on your own blog site.

Step 1e. If you haven’t done so, I suggest installing TinyMCE Advanced. This is an enhancement to the standard WordPress Editor. It is widely used.

Step 1f. As of Version 3.9 of WordPress, if you are going to edit pages with AWeber code on them, you need to also install the CKEditor plugin. Use this plugin for editing pages with AWeber code. If you don’t, the TinyMCE editor (the default in WordPress) or the TinyMCE Advanced Editor will strip out most of the AWeber functionality. See this blog post to discuss this in more detail http://HalePringle.com/aweber-tip-wordpress-3-9-aweber-sign-forms-problem    Activate this plugin (and deactivate TinyMCE Advanced) before you start to edit a page with AWeber code in it.

Step 2: Preparing An AWeber Sign Up Form – Same as Usual

Step 2a: Create a Sign Up Form in AWeber and copy the HTML code into your clipboard.

Step 2b: (Make sure the CKEditor is activated) Open your Squeeze Page in WordPress, toggle text mode on and when you are ready for it, paste the code you obtained from AWeber.

NOTE: This step is exactly the same as you always do. I do uncheck the Toggle-The-Title Checkbox in the WordPress page where I am installing the Sign Up form code. Toggle-The-Title is at the bottom of the right sidebar.   This lets me put a descriptive title in Page Title and not have it displayed. I usually do not like Page Title displayed on Squeeze pages since they have a heavy black vertical bar beside the title. I use a code like “NT –name of Squeeze Page- W Blog Head v2” The “NT” tells me “No Title” so I know this title is not displayed. “W Blog Head” tells me this is going to be used for Facebook or Google adwords and displays my blog header and menu. I might have “W/O Blog Head” for a Squeeze Page I plan to use for Solo ads. These pages do not show the blog header and menu option.

Step 2c. This is optional. I use a plugin (WordPress SEO by Joost de Valk) that lets me input a value  into the SEO Metadata field. Usually this is what will be seen by searchers when your page shows up in a Google Search.   Since Squeeze pages are not seen by Google, we can use the field for other purposes.   I usually put the basic URL for the page there and a not that I have modified the AWeber form to accept a URL Parameter.   The reason I do this is that the field is shown when we look at our pages in our WordPress back-office.  What I am trying to avoid with Toggle The Title and the SEO Metadata field is having dozens of squeeze pages with no Title and no way to tell which is which without opening each one.

Example Page Listing In WordPress
AWeber Tip- Ad Tracking Variable on Steroids

#1NT indicates this is a NO-TITLE and won’t show on the page (my code to myself)

#2 – This is the SEO Meta Desc. Field. Again since this page will never show up in a Google Search, I can use this field for my own purposes. I included the actually URL to get to the page and a not the I have modified the AWeber code so that it will recognize the adtracking parameter when it is passed in.

Step 3: Preparing a Squeeze Page – A Small Tweak

Step 3a: Deactivate the TinyMCE Advanced editor and activate the CKEditor plugin. Open your squeeze page and click on the HTML tab (covert from Visual Mode to HTML Mode). Then paste the HTML code from AWeber into your form, just like you always do.

Step 3b: Use to Ctrl-F (or Cmd-F) to Find the variable “meta_adtracking”   It is going to look like this:

<input type=”hidden” name=”meta_adtracking” value=”<the title of your form>” />

Replace the “<the title of your form>” with “[urlparam param=’adtracking’ default=’None’ /]”

Note that the quotes I am using do NOT match those in the URL Params documentation.   URL Params likes to put double quotes around the name of the variable being pass and the default value.   If you do this, WordPress will mess with your code if you save your page in Visual mode. Enclosing the entire shortcode with double quotes and the values with single quotes means that we can set this and forget it.

The result will look like this:

<input type=”hidden” name=”meta_adtracking” value=”[urlparam param=’adtracking’ default=’None’ /]” />

Save your form.

It is worth noting that you are losing nothing here.  There is another field that contains the URL of the squeeze page.

Step 4: Preparing to Call the Squeeze Page From Your Traffic Source

Step 4a: (optional) Create a Pretty Link that calls a direct link to your Squeeze Page with a parameter on the end.

Pretty Link asks you to fill in three things. 1) the actual URL you want to a visitor to go to, 2) a short version (visitor comes to this and redirected to the first value) and 3) a descriptive title for the short version to remind you what it is for. There is an option group if you want to group your Pretty Links (I do).

  1. Copy and paste the actual URL from your site into the first field.   Then add (without the quotes) “/?adtracking=<value>” to the end. The <value> part is what you modify to track a particular traffic source.
  2.  Fill in a short version in the second field. This will NOT have the tracking information in it.
  3.  Fill in a description to remind you what specific traffic source or affiliate you are tracking with this code.

NOTE: Pretty Link will count how many times this link is clicked and show you that value when you browse your links in the Pretty Link dashboard.

Example of Pretty Link

AWeber Tip- Ad Tracking Variable on Steroids

#1 – Actual URL to the Squeeze Page

#2 – Ad Tracking code added to the end of the URL

#3 – Short version (What the lead actually clicks on)

#4 – Description to help identify what this link is used for.

Step 5: Preparing Your Ad

Step 5a: Call the Pretty Link instead of calling the Squeeze Page directly. Pretty Link will:

  • redirects your lead to the actual Squeeze Page URL with the adtracking parameter value added AND
  • will count how many times this particular link to the Squeeze page was clicked.

When someone Signs Up using your Squeeze Page with the parameter passed, the value will be inserted into the Ad Tracking variable in AWeber.

Subscriber Data in AWeber with Ad Tracking Value

AWeber Tip- Ad Tracking Variable in Subscriber List


In this case I added this to the end of the URL   “/?adtracking=hale” and the value “hale” was passed into the Ad Tracking field in AWeber.

The Result

Now you can go into the Subscriber screen and ask to see all of the subscribers who have a particular value in the Ad Tracking variable.   In the example above, we would select “Ad Tracking is hale”.


You can also go to the Reports Screen and view the values in the Ad Tracking Variable.

Sample Ad Tracking Report

AWeber Tip- Ad Tracking Variable on Steroids

#1 – Shows what the ad tracking showed before I installed the URL Params Plugin

#2 – Shows that some people are signing up with the side bar on my blog

The others show all other sources I have recently used.


There we have it. One Squeeze Page with unique data on every source that that uses that Squeeze Page.

We can divide the number of clicks we see in Pretty link (say 200) into the number of leads that subscribed using that link (say 50) and determine that we had a 25% opt-in rate.

In the end we have:

Impressions and clicks – is the ad getting leads to the Squeeze Page


Clicks and Opt-Ins – is the Squeeze Page working (or is the traffic source working). As one example you may buy a Solo ad that delivers 500 clicks – when you look and see that only 2 people opted in to your list, you know that this was a terrible deal (or that your Squeeze Page stinks). You can test the Squeeze Page to determine where the problem lies.  You can have several traffic sources running simultaneously using the same Squeeze Page and still see which sources are converting.

As time goes on you can look at subscribers in AWeber and know exactly where each subscriber came from.


Learn More About Aweber Within DMC

DMC stands for Daily Marketing Coach. Daily Marketing Coach is a training, coaching and mentorshop program that supports those people wanting to market their products and services online.

Learn more about DMC here now.

About Hale Pringle

With degrees in psychology and counseling and a doctorate in Ed. Administration and Research, Hale has a long history bf loving to teach and help. His background includes working for School Districts, Social Service Agencies, Universities and several small businesses. He has been involved in thousands of research projects and for the last forty years has been a software development systems analysts and project director. He has always been a teacher He loves helping people and learning new things. His current passion is network marketing and Internet marketing. For a Free eBook on AWeber and to Learn more about working with Hale click the "Blog" link below.


  1. Hi Hale this is very interesting a little to difficult for my knowledge of marketing and computer science!
    Although is now easier to understand this complicated subject.
    Thank you for your love for people like me.


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