3: The Creative Code Key (Standard)

Copy the templates from the central tracking dashboard sheet at nicholaserik.com/tracking

Action Exercise

  1. Set up your creative code key(s) for Facebook and / or BookBub.
  2. Find at least three images, three pieces of copy (or sub-headlines, if running BookBub Ads), three headlines, and three audiences and place them in the key.

This coded naming convention can be applied to other platforms as well, but you’ll have to come up with your own codes. When devising your codes, make sure there’s no overlap (e.g., I accidentally used G100 for images and AG100 for aggregate audiences on BookBub at one point, meaning a search of “G100” would cause data for the AG100 audience to come up as well).


This is just a method of naming our ads and attribution links that gives us much more granular insight into their performance. We assign each major component of the ad its own code, starting from 100 and counting up across the account (e.g., if we start with G100 and G101 for Book A, then start creating images for Book B, we’d keeping going at G102). Then we store the corresponding components in a spreadsheet key for reference.

The creative codes have two primary benefits:

  1. They allow us to track and analyze performance for specific creative elements across our entire account. This allows us to find creatives, spot creative patterns that we can turn into formulas / best practices, iterate on our best performers, and reuse our winners more easily in the future.
    • We can analyze this data with spreadsheet formulas to tie together the attribution data and ad platform data and see how our creatives and specific creative elements performed.
    • We can also analyze this data on the ad platform dashboard itself by simply searching for a specific element (say “G101”) or entire creative (say “G101 C115 H102”).
  2. The code key gives us a central storage location where we know all our creative pieces are located. This streamlines the ads management and also ensures that winning pieces of creative don’t get buried in a sea of Word documents / the ad platform. It also gives us a location where we can easily store ideas for future testing that we don’t need at the moment (and actually still be able to find them later)

Code Key

I’d recommend keeping this in Google Sheets, as it allows you to insert images directly into a cell.

The main pieces of information you need are the item code, the item (image, headline, sub-headline, copy, audience etc.), and the book. However, you can track additional parameters by adding in additional columns.

Naming Conventions

  • The name and format here must be consistent, down to the order of the elements and the spaces between them. Otherwise you’ll be unable to use spreadsheet formulas to match them.
  • Don’t go back and rename your existing ads on the various platforms. That will be miserable. If you want to use this system, just start from today.
  • We start counting at 100 to avoid problems with searching on the ad platform. If we start at G1 and count up from there, we’ll start getting G11, G12, etc. in the search results. At 100 this overlap problem will happen once we hit 1000, but that gives us way more headroom.
  • Only use audience codes when testing specific audiences; this will 5x or 10x the # of links you have to create (I made 7 – 8 creatives for BookBub and had to create 72 different links because I was coding them down to the audience).

Note: when running tests for blurbs, covers, features etc. you don’t typically want to code these, otherwise the data will be mixed into the regular ad data.

Facebook Codes

  • Image = G100
  • Copy = C100
  • Headline = H100
  • Audience = A100
  • Landing Page = LP100 (only if selling direct from your website)
  • Full Facebook Creative Code = G100 C100 H100 (must be in this order)
  • Full Facebook Creative Code + audience = G100 C100 H100 A100 (must be in this order)
  • Full Facebook Creative Code for direct + audience = G100 C100 H100 LP100 A100 (must be in this order)

BookBub Codes

  • Image = G100
  • Headline = H100
  • Sub-Headline = S100
  • Audience = A100
  • Full BookBub Creative Code + audience  = G100 H100 S100 A100 (must be in this order)