Do you advertise on Craigslist? Ever wanted to see how many views your Craigslist ad has? Wished there was some kind of analytics tool you could use for tracking? If so, this is the tutorial for you!
Craigslist has been around forever and looks the same now as it did when it first launched back in 1995. It is one of those websites that if it wasn’t free and if you couldn’t find just about anything you ever wanted on there, it would be very difficult to recommend. Craigslist is full of scammers, fake ads, people who take down ads for no good reason and all kinds of time wasters. Yet we still use it.
If you advertise anywhere then you know the value of analytics. The tracking of views and then actions. It shows you how effective your headline or call to action is, shows you the percentage of people who viewed your ad compared to how many bought and gives you the opportunity to refine, revise and improve your ad so you can sell more stuff. Craigslist has none of those things but that doesn’t mean you cannot track it.
Image tracking on Craigslist
There is a popular hack that uses an image and your own web hosting to track it. The trouble is, the method is a little hit and miss. Some people say it doesn’t work as Craigslist has a tendency to strip HTML from ads. Yet others, including myself have been able to get it working. As you should always use images in your ads anyway, it’s a win all round, if you can get it to work.
You will need your own web host for this to work but I’ll also link to some hit counters that also seem to work in case you don’t host a website.
Here’s how to use image tracking.
- Select an image for your Craigslist ad.
- Load it onto your web hosting and connect it to your analytics.
- Link to the image within your Craigslist ad.
- Watch the counter increase.
The exact method will differ depending on what system your web host uses. My host uses cPanel which doesn’t use a hit counter but I linked the page that hosts my image to Google Analytics and did it that way. You should be able to do the same if you have an analytics account. It’s a convoluted way to do things but it still works.
As mentioned above, this method is a little hit and miss as Craigslist does have a tendency to remove HTML. If you can get it working then it’s a good way to see how many times your ad is viewed.
Other ways to see how many views your Craigslist ad has
You can install hit counters in Craigslist ads, but again CL does have a tendency to remove HTML from ads. I think this is an automated system and perhaps depends on how busy it is to decide if it removes HTML or not. I can think of no other way how a system could allow HTML one minute and strip it the next.
If you don’t have a web host to perform the above or CL keeps removing the link, you could try a hit counter. There are various counters out there, Simple Hit Counter , Simple Website Hit Counter , Free Craigslist Counter  or TinyCount . All are much the same. They add an HTML code to your ad that will count the hits.
Again, this doesn’t always work as CL can strip out HTML so will render this method useless. I got a couple of ads to work but the majority did not.
Use tracking pixels to see how many views your Craigslist ad has
The final method I know of to see how many views your Craigslist ad has is to use a tracking pixel. It’s a similar setup to the image method above only this time you use an invisible pixel to track the ad. You can set this up yourself or use a service like ClickMeter  to do the work for you.
You will need a ClickMeter account for this to work but of all of the methods I have researched for this piece, this seems the most reliable. Still not guaranteed though.
I apologize that this tutorial isn’t as exacting as my usual but given the nature of the platform we are dealing with, it is difficult to be as specific as I normally am. Craigslist is a curious beast, absurdly useful at times and incredibly frustrating at other times. But then if you advertise on Craigslist already, you already know that.