Affiliate tracking is an important part of online marketing and helps companies measure the success of their affiliate marketing campaigns. These tracking systems track affiliate activities and help attribute individual conversions and sales.
Affiliate tracking is a method of measuring the success of affiliate marketing campaigns. It allows the affiliate to track his achieved clicks and sales and, most importantly, to assign sub-pages very accurately. With affiliate tracking the success of affiliate marketing can be measured and optimized.
Info: This article is primarily aimed at affiliate marketers rather than affiliate programs, although much of the information is universally applicable.
Tracking for affiliate marketers!
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Just briefly to explain, affiliate marketing is an online marketing model where companies pay sales partners, also known as affiliates, to promote their products or services and attract new customers.
Affiliates can use various online channels, such as websites, blogs, social media, or email marketing, to make potential customers aware of the company’s products or services. When a customer makes a purchase through the affiliate or takes a specific action, such as filling out a registration form, the affiliate receives a commission.
What is affiliate tracking and why is it important?
Affiliate tracking is important so that you can track where your buyers come from and on which of your own subsites you referred them. Through affiliate tracking, you can determine which content and affiliate programs are working reliably.
How does affiliate tracking work?
Affiliate tracking is a process that allows you to measure the success of affiliate marketing campaigns.
It works in the following way:
First, a unique tracking link is provided to the affiliate. When a visitor clicks on this link and performs an action, such as making a purchase, this is registered by a cookie in the visitor’s browser. This cookie contains information such as the affiliate, the link and the date of the click.
The affiliate network or advertiser can then track which actions were triggered by which affiliate and which sales this generated. The data is collected and analyzed in a special tracking system. In this way, the success of the affiliate marketing campaign can be measured and commissions can be calculated based on actual sales or actions. Affiliate tracking is thus an important part of affiliate marketing and enables effective performance measurement and compensation of affiliates.
In short, affiliate tracking gives publishers a unique ID or affiliate link that is assigned to them. When a customer arrives at the merchant’s website via the affiliate link and makes a transaction (e.g., purchase or sign-up), that transaction is tracked and the publisher receives a commission.
Tracking methods and technologies
This section discusses the various methods and technologies used to track information and activity. Both traditional and modern approaches to collecting and analyzing data are considered. The advantages and disadvantages of each tracking method are explained and possible privacy implications are discussed. Furthermore, current developments and trends in the field will be highlighted to provide a comprehensive understanding of tracking methods and technologies.
1. Cookie tracking
Cookie tracking is a popular method of tracking user behavior on the Internet. Cookies are small text files that websites store on users’ computers. Cookie tracking can collect information about websites visited, preferences, and purchases. This data is then used to display personalized advertising or analyze user behavior. There are different types of cookies, such as session cookies, which are only valid for the duration of a session, or persistent cookies, which remain stored for a longer period of time. Although cookies are often considered helpful, there are also data protection and privacy concerns.
2. Pixel tracking
Pixel tracking is a tracking method in which a small invisible pixel, also known as a web beacon, is embedded in a website or email. This pixel can track visitor activity, such as opening an email or clicking on a link. With the help of pixel tracking, companies can gather valuable information about user behavior to optimize their marketing strategies. It also enables the collection of data such as location, device type, and browser settings.
However, despite the benefits, pixel tracking is controversial as it can be seen as an invasion of privacy. The use of this tracking technology is therefore also subject to strict data protection regulations.
3. Server-side postback tracking
Postback tracking is a more elaborate method of tracking conversions in online advertising. It is based on the feedback of a postback, which is transmitted from an advertising network to the advertiser to inform about a completed action. This allows the advertiser to measure the success of their campaigns and calculate ROI.
In this tracking process, a unique tracking link is created that leads the user from the ad to the Landing-Page and triggers the postback event at the same time. The advertiser can use the information from the postback to determine which ads and channels are delivering the best results and adjust their marketing strategy accordingly.
Postback tracking is an effective way to measure and optimize the success of advertising campaigns.
4. Coupon Tracking
Coupon tracking is a method to measure and track the success of discount coupons. It involves placing unique codes or barcodes on coupons. When a customer redeems the coupon, the code is scanned or entered to identify the exact discount code and the customer. This information is then used to monitor sales and the impact of the coupons. Coupon tracking allows businesses to analyze the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and plan future actions.
Choosing the right affiliate tracking method
You’ve probably been doing affiliate marketing for a while now, using mostly pixel and cookie tracking. In fact, 90 percent of all web workers do the same, because these two methods are offered by almost all affiliate programs.
But if you really want to know exactly where your buyers come from and where exactly they have been on your website, you need an affiliate tracking tool with postback URL support.
Affiliate tracking tools
In this section, I want to touch on the most popular tools. I will go into more depth in a more detailed article about tracking tools.
Most affiliate trackers relied on S2S postbacks. Affilimate, however, gets the logs and assigns the sales after the fact. I am currently testing how well this works.
Affiliate networks play a crucial role in affiliate marketing. These platforms act as intermediaries between sellers and affiliate partners and facilitate partnerships and the processing of commission payments.
An affiliate network offers a variety of benefits for both sides. For sellers, it provides access to a large network of potential partners willing to promote their products or services. It also provides tools for tracking and analyzing sales and enables effective affiliate program management.
For affiliate partners, networks provide a central platform where they can promote various products or services from different industries. They get access to affiliate links, tracking tools and commission structures that help them maximize their revenue.
By working with affiliate networks, sellers and affiliates can make their affiliate marketing more effective and build successful partnerships.
The largest and most popular networks
Here is a table with important numbers about the affiliate networks Impact, Awin, ShareASale, CJ Affiliate and Amazon Associates:
|Affiliate Network||Number of Partners||Number of Offered Products/Services||Commission Structure||Popular Industries|
|Impact||50,000||1,000||Flexible||E-commerce, Technology, Travel|
|Awin||200,000||6,000||Commission-based||Fashion, Beauty, Retail|
|ShareASale||4,500||1,000||Commission-based||Lifestyle, Fitness, Finance|
|CJ Affiliate||3,000||2,000||Fixed||Insurance, Telecommunications, Software|
|Amazon Associates||1,000,000||Millions of Products||Commission-based||Various Industries|
Amazon Associates is more of an affiliate program than a network, since only its own marketplace can be promoted. Due to the size and number of products alone, the affiliate program cannot be missing from my list.
Important metrics in affiliate tracking
In affiliate tracking, there are several metrics to look at to measure and optimize the success of an affiliate campaign. These metrics provide insight into affiliate performance, ad effectiveness, and the revenue they generate.
Clicks and Conversion Rate
Clicks provide information on how many times a link or banner was clicked and can serve as an indicator of user interest. The conversion rate, on the other hand, indicates how many of the visitors who clicked on the link actually performed a desired action. Like a purchase. Both metrics are crucial for measuring the success of affiliate marketing campaigns and identifying optimization potential. They make it possible to check the effectiveness of advertising materials and Landing-Pages and to improve performance.
Average order value and sales
The average order value and revenue metrics are critical metrics in affiliate tracking. Average order value indicates how much a customer spends per order on average. A high average order value shows that the affiliate marketing strategy is attracting successful customers who are willing to spend more money. Revenue, on the other hand, shows how much money was generated overall by the affiliate channel. Both metrics are important for measuring the success of affiliate marketing and identifying optimization potential.
Return on Investment (ROI) and Cost per Acquisition (CPA)
In affiliate tracking, two important metrics are return on investment (ROI) and cost per acquisition (CPA). ROI measures the return on investment of a marketing campaign and shows how much profit was made in relation to what was spent. The higher the ROI, the more successful the campaign. The CPA, on the other hand, measures the costs spent to acquire a customer. A low CPA means that the customer acquisition effort is low and the marketing spend is used effectively.
Best practices for successful affiliate tracking
Choosing the Right Affiliate Tracking Software
Choosing the right affiliate tracking software is critical to the success of an affiliate program. There are many different options on the market, so it is important to carefully consider which features and tools best fit individual needs. Important criteria include ease of use, accuracy of tracking mechanisms, integration with other systems, scalability, and customer support. Thorough research and comparison of different providers is essential to find the optimal solution.
Integrating affiliate tracking into existing marketing strategies
Integrating affiliate tracking into existing marketing strategies can add significant value. Linking affiliate marketing to existing marketing channels can open up new revenue streams. Tracking enables accurate measurement of affiliate performance and identification of the most successful affiliates. This allows marketing strategies to be optimized and focused on the best performers. Integrating affiliate tracking can thus lead to increased sales and more efficient use of advertising budgets.
Optimizing campaigns through continuous data analysis
Optimizing marketing campaigns through continuous data evaluation is essential to maximize campaign success. By analyzing customer behavior, demographic information, and other relevant data, companies can gain valuable insights and adjust their campaigns accordingly. Continuous data evaluation allows potential weaknesses to be identified and optimized for higher conversion rates and more effective marketing strategies. By monitoring and analyzing results in real time, companies can quickly respond to changes and continuously improve their campaigns.
Implementing Affiliate Tracking
As an affiliate, there are certain steps you can take to successfully implement affiliate tracking and maximize your revenue. Here are the implementation steps in detail:
- Select an affiliate network:
Choose a suitable affiliate network that offers a wide range of products or services that fit your target audience. Pay attention to the network’s reputation, available advertising tools and commission rates.
- Affiliate registration:
Register with the selected affiliate network as an affiliate or publisher and create an account. Fill out the profile and make sure you provide all the required information to receive your payments.
- Affiliate program selection:
Search the affiliate network for available affiliate programs and choose the ones that fit your target audience and area of interest. Pay attention to the commission rates offered, conversion rates and support from the merchant.
- Affiliate link generation:
Once you have selected an affiliate program, generate your affiliate links. Use the affiliate network’s tools or provided technology to create unique tracking links. These links allow the network to track your sales or conversions.
- Affiliate link integration:
Integrate the affiliate links into your website, blog or your other online channels. For this, I use the Pretty Links plugin. Place them strategically to get maximum visibility and clicks. You can include them in blog posts, product reviews, banners or in call-to-action buttons.
- Monitoring and optimization:
Monitor your affiliate links regularly and track performance. Analyze clicks, conversions, and revenue to understand which affiliate programs are performing most reliably. Optimize your strategy by focusing on the most profitable programs and adjusting your advertising methods. If possible, use postback tracking so you can accurately track your purchases.
Implementing affiliate tracking as an affiliate requires choosing the right affiliate network, registering, selecting the appropriate affiliate programs, generating and integrating affiliate links, and continuous monitoring and optimization.
Challenges in affiliate tracking
Data protection and DSGVO compliance
Data privacy and DSGVO compliance is a major challenge in affiliate tracking. Tracking affiliate links requires the processing of personal data, such as the IP address or the click behavior of users. To be data privacy compliant, affiliate networks must ensure that they obtain users’ consent to process their data. They must also ensure that the data is only used for the stated purpose and is adequately protected. The GDPR has set clear requirements here that must be observed by all parties involved in affiliate tracking.
Technical problems and tracking errors
There are many challenges in affiliate tracking, especially with regard to technical problems and tracking errors. Often, technical difficulties occur, such as server outages or connection issues. These can cause interruptions in tracking and affect the accuracy of the data. Other than that, there can also be errors in the implementation of the affiliate tracking code, which can lead to inaccurate captures and incorrect attributions. To overcome these challenges, it is important to conduct regular testing and monitoring and seek technical support when necessary. This is the only way to ensure a reliable and meaningful affiliate tracking solution.
Combating fraud in affiliate marketing
One of the biggest challenges in affiliate tracking is combating affiliate marketing fraud. Fraudulent activities such as click fraud and affiliate fraud can significantly impact the performance and success of an affiliate program. To counter these challenges, companies use various measures such as fraud detection software, identity verification, and affiliate activity monitoring. Thorough analysis of affiliate data and working with trusted partners are critical to effectively combating affiliate marketing fraud.
Lifetime Value (LTV) of customers
An important metric in affiliate tracking is the lifetime value (LTV) of customers. LTV indicates how much revenue a customer generates over the course of their entire customer relationship. By measuring LTV, you can find out what value a customer has for the company and how profitable customer acquisition through affiliate marketing is. If the LTV is high, it is worth investing in customer acquisition because these customers will generate revenue over a longer period of time. However, a low LTV may indicate that adjustments in strategy are needed.
Future prospects for affiliate tracking
Affiliate tracking will become even more important in the future, as it is a simple and cost-effective measure for optimizing advertising campaigns. It allows companies to market their ad campaigns on multiple platforms without having to invest a lot of money or effort into creating and managing the campaigns.
I’m sure companies will have easier access to more data in the future to measure and optimize the effectiveness of their ad campaigns. They will be able to perform a more detailed analysis of their campaigns and thus further increase their revenues.
However, we are still a long way from seamless tracking.
I can’t understand why more work isn’t being done on this?!
Case studies on the successful use of affiliate tracking
Tracking Case Study 1: Voluum
In this study, Jaybot, a successful affiliate marketer, shares his best tracking tips and tricks to improve campaign management and optimization. He focuses on some impressive features of Voluum, an industry-leading ad tracker. Jaybot explains the use of “markers” to track placements in different geographic regions, and praises Voluum’s traffic distribution AI for its automated split testing and optimization process. He also recommends using Flows to simplify the campaign setup process.
In addition, he mentions the handy Bulk Lander editing feature and the use of dynamic click URLs to make it easier to change domains in Landing-Pages. Jaybot concludes by pointing out that Voluum offers other impressive features that many users don’t know about.
Tracking Study 2: Franck Chanda
Franck Chanda’s study describes affiliate marketing as one of the best ways to generate passive income online. Chanda shares his experiences and discusses the steps that successful affiliate marketers follow to generate a six-figure income. He emphasizes that while it is possible to make money online, it takes a certain amount of work, time, commitment and the right platform to achieve this goal. Chanda also names other successful affiliate marketers and recommends a platform to help his readers achieve success in affiliate marketing. Overall, he wants to show that it is possible to make money online and escape the slavery of the 9-5 job.
Tracking Study 3: Ticket Express GesmbH
This is the bachelor thesis of Stefan Schwarz, with the title “Affiliate Marketing: A case study
of Ticket Express GesmbH”. The paper was submitted to Modul University Vienna. The aim of the thesis is to investigate the influence of social networks on consumer behavior.
Various aspects of consumer behavior are analyzed, including brand perceptions, purchase decisions and consumer information behavior.
The study uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods, including questionnaires, interviews and observations. Empirical data is collected from consumers and statistically analyzed. The results show that social networks have a significant impact on consumer behavior.
Tracking Study 4: Myvegan and Grubby
Study Summary: Myvegan and Grubby have formed a partnership to increase sustainable brand awareness and attract new customers. The focus is to target consumers who consciously prefer sustainable brands. By leveraging the partner marketing channel, both companies were able to expand their audiences and achieve common goals.
This was achieved in collaboration with the affiliate network AWIN.
Tracking study 5: Aho.bio
Aho.bio is a sustainable food startup that launched in 2020 with its online store for sprouted organic crackers. Next Level Affiliate Marketing built and developed the affiliate channel for Aho.bio to expand their reach and generate additional revenue. The collaboration was successful and helped Aho.bio achieve its goals.
Books worth reading about affiliate marketing
Affiliate Marketing for Dummies
Affiliate marketing is your way to make real money. Thousands of companies big and small like Amazon, Sears, Best Buy, Overstock, Lowe’s, Priceline and others have programs that let you profit from the thousands of products they offer.
Affiliate marketing is ideal for bloggers who want to monetize their work. This is a multi-billion dollar market, and there are more than 10 million people in this business worldwide. There is always room for more, as opportunities continue to grow as more and more companies offer affiliate programs. Affiliate Marketing For Dummies shows you how to get a piece of the pie!
Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
In this book, author Ralf Schmitz, an affiliate expert, explains how to build a successful affiliate marketing business as a beginner. He gives step-by-step instructions and shows how to start an online business and achieve your goals. The book also covers the right mindset, organizing an online business, and a 6-step winning strategy for lead generation. It also presents methods for free traffic generation, email marketing and successful lead generation. Ralf Schmitz, the author, is a successful affiliate and online marketer with a six-figure annual turnover in his micro-business. His guidebook is a mixture of autobiography and reference book and offers valuable insider knowledge for successful affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing manual for beginners
As an experienced marketer, I’m always looking for new strategies to optimize my online business. This book delivers just that. It is well structured and provides a comprehensive guide to becoming successful in affiliate marketing. I especially liked that it not only covers the basics, but also provides specific tips for optimizing my affiliate website.
The book is easy to understand and the practical examples helped me implement what I learned right away. Absolutely recommended!
Why am I writing about affiliate tracking?
I have a great passion for online marketing and am always looking for new and innovative ways to help businesses achieve their goals.
In my role as an online marketing expert, I have run many successful campaigns for a variety of clients. I have experience with various affiliate marketing platforms and know the latest trends in this field.
In my opinion, affiliate marketing is still the best way to monetize websites. Provided that the tracking is right.
Affiliate tracking plays a crucial role in online marketing success. The affiliate can only be successful if he can accurately attribute transactions to their origin. In this way, content that works can be improved. And bankruptcies may even be removed altogether.
However, in order to achieve the best possible results, it is essential that tracking methods be continuously developed. In the future, there are promising prospects open to affiliate tracking in online marketing, especially through the use of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.