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Tracking Your Affiliate Program

This is chapter 9, Tracking Your Affiliate Program, of Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants.

It should go without saying that your affiliate program tracking and reporting have to be reliable.

You have a few different options for tracking your affiliate program.

You can go with an affiliate network, pick up software off the shelf, or roll your own.

Personally, I'd advocate going the network route.

Regardless of the path you take, there are a handful of reporting items you must provide, at a minimum, to affiliates.

In a lot of cases, affiliates will want more data, but this is the bare minimum:

  • Impressions

  • Clicks

  • Sales/leads

  • Commission earned per transaction

  • Order ship date

  • Returns

  • Total commission earned
  • Again, those data points are what the affiliates will need at a minimum. I'd suggest providing a lot more in the way of analytics for your affiliates. This won't be a problem for you if you go with an affiliate network, but if you decide to buy software or build your own, you've got a challenge ahead of you.

    One of the major problems in going with a solution of your own comes back to the old adage, "You don't know what you don't know." You could have some of the sharpest developers ever, but if they don't know what's needed for an affiliate program, your technology will be inferior and/or obsolete out of the gate.

    For instance, merely providing tracking isn't going to be sufficient with a great many affiliates. One basic I see missing from many home grown technologies is the sub-ID.

    Also, more and more affiliates are getting into mobile and video. If you don't want to figure that stuff out, go with an affiliate network that's already working on it.


    Source: www.isnare.com