Creative measurement tests

Explore creative ways for measuring campaign success.

Since February 22, 2024, Google has officially deprecated conversion pixels (also known as activity pixels) which is a part of a larger initiative, third-party cookie deprecation, that’s already underway.

Conversion pixel deprecation specifically affects advertising publishers across the industry, such as Stack Overflow, who are no longer able to provide advertisers, like yourself, with conversion pixels to track specific actions after a user sees or clicks on an ad.

Learn more about third-party cookie deprecation in the “A World Without Cookies” eBook.

This article explores creative ways for measuring campaign success, which can be used in conjunction with Stack Overflow's foundational contextual targeting approach.

How to track ad campaign success without conversion pixel tracking

A/B Testing

Although this might sound simple if you’re an experienced marketer, A/B testing is often underutilized in day-to-day campaigns. A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a marketing experiment wherein you split your audience to test variations on a campaign and determine which performs better. This gives you creative freedom to see what resonates with different personas to ultimately increase site traffic, leads, sign-ups, purchases, etc.

Here are some examples of elements you can test:

Copy (header, body, CTA text)
CTA buttons
Tone of voice

The key principle in A/B testing is the importance of isolating variables, which means changing only one element at a time. This approach enables a direct association between any differences in performance and the particular variable in question.

Whether you're new to running ad campaigns on Stack Overflow or you've partnered with us before, Stack Overflow CSM team will assist you in implementing A/B testing for your next campaign.

Audience & Platform Evaluation

Landing pages are versatile and can serve more than just the purpose of a user's next stop, you can also test high-quality leads and engagement metrics across platforms. To set up a test like this, create multiple landing pages with slightly different messaging, copy, or creative elements in a multi-channel ad campaign in which users are brought to after clicking on an ad.

For each landing page, you’ll be able to see which audience on which platform had the highest success rates based on what is most important to your marketing goals. For example, one advertising platform might have had higher quality leads taking action (i.e. free trial sign-ups) on landing page 1, while another advertising platform might have had higher cost efficiency on landing page 2.

This test can inform:

Cost efficiency
Click engagement
Qualified leads
Content engagement rates

Understanding the behavior of various audiences on various platforms can help inform your marketing strategy moving forward. Stack Overflow is simply one advertising channel you can test this on!

Incrementality Testing

Lastly, incrementality testing, is a third creative measurement option if you have a large advertising budget at your disposal. Incrementality testing is often confused with a classic A/B test - A/B testing differs from incrementality testing in the control group where one portion of the audience is not served any ads at all during this time. So, whereas classic A/B testing lets you compare versions of an ad, incrementality looks at whether running a given ad is better than not running it at all.

Incrementality testing focuses on impact and effectiveness of your campaign. The most widely used approach involves conducting geo or market tests.

  1. Geo-targeting - targeting specific geographic areas with the campaign and comparing the behavior of those areas to non-targeted areas to determine the incremental impact.
  2. Matched market - selecting a similar market where the campaign is not run and comparing the outcomes to the test market where the campaign is run. This provides a way to measure the impact of the campaign across different markets.

Metrics you can measure:

Impact on ROI/ROAS
Incremental profit
Incremental lift

For those with a smaller budget, a similar effect to incrementality can be achieved by periodically turning your ads on and off. You can observe the impact of your ads by comparing organic traffic or leads during the periods when the ads are active with the periods when they are inactive. Additionally, you can experiment further by focusing on a single channel and measuring the impact on organic traffic or leads when ads are alternated between on and off periods.


A world without cookies or conversion pixels might sound scary, but with our foundational contextual targeting, alongside creative measurement testing, we are uniquely prepared for industry changes like this one. Leveraging deep insights into the developer community, Stack Overflow Advertising enables you to effectively showcase your product or service to developers in a brand safe environment. With access to over 60,000 Topic Tags, we can contextually target your ads, ensuring they reach the right person with the right message precisely when it matters most.