Today’s online market is built around affiliate partnerships. Whether you sell insurance, appliances, or clothing, an extensive network of affiliates promoting your products can double, triple, and quadruple your income.
Likewise, it can draw additional attention to your brand and do lots of valuable yet time-consuming things you would have otherwise had to do on your own. Affiliate marketing is one of the main booming digital marketing strategy.
But here’s the catch: affiliate campaigns are only as good as your affiliate tracking methods. Not being able to track affiliates can destroy your budget and ruin relationships with your marketing partners, as you would never know which of your affiliates draws particular traffic and what you should pay them.
Affiliate partnerships would be impossible without affiliate tracking. Luckily, solutions like affiliate link tracking software from Phonexa, part of the all-encompassing Lynx click tracking software, make it possible to collect the most detailed statistics on the affiliates’ marketing campaigns, including clicks, conversion, ROI, and the commission earned by each partner.
Affiliate marketing heavily relies on link tracking, but that’s not to say that link tracking is always the same. There are at least two ways to track affiliates and plenty of tools that you can use for this purpose. Ultimately, you will have to decide which link tracking method and software is best for your business.
Meanwhile, let’s dive deeply into affiliate link tracking to see how it works and how you can use it to boost conversions.
What is Affiliate Link Tracking?
Affiliate link tracking uses a unique URL containing the affiliate’s ID to track the performance of this particular affiliate. Every affiliate link includes an original domain followed by the ID of the affiliate – within the link, it may look like this: “merchantID=123” – which makes it possible to connect the lead and its further actions to a particular affiliate.
Aside from the affiliate’s ID, an affiliate link may also identify the affiliate network, the merchant, the affiliate program (if the merchant has more than one program), and where the click leads. This information is of tremendous value to both affiliates and advertisers: the former can track the performance of their affiliates (with all possible consequences), whereas the latter can make sure that they are paid what they earned (for this, affiliates can even use an independent tracking system).
Cookie tracking vs. cookieless tracking
- Cookie tracking stores the ID of an affiliate in the clicker’s browser as a cookie with a lifetime period determined by the advertiser. Then, as the lead completes a target action on the merchant’s side – for example, buying the merchant’s product – the so-called conversion pixel reads the cookie information and sends it to the system, making it possible for the advertiser to identify the affiliate. Note that this method has a disadvantage: if the cookie time expires or the lead uses a different browser, the link tracking will not occur.
- Cookieless tracking stores all information on the caller and the affiliate – including the transaction ID – on the advertiser’s server, making the tracking process independent of the cookies and the caller’s device and browser. Once the lead clicks the link, the relevant information is transferred to the system.
Cookieless tracking is considered more reliable as it eliminates a possible conversion loss if the cookie is expired or the clicker uses a different browser to make a purchase.
To mitigate the cookie-related risks, you can set the cookie expiration time to a high number – for example, 180 days or even several years. But even that leaves a chance that the clicker eventually clears the browser cache or uses a different browser.
That being said, the best solution is always an automated one. Up-to-date software like Phonexa’s Lynx platform simplifies the process to the point where you can install the link tracking product in a few minutes with no extra knowledge – just by following step-by-step instructions – and start leveraging your affiliate campaigns immediately.
The opportunities that link tracking unfolds
Whether you sell cars, apparel, insurance, or anything else, you have every chance to grow your business with the help of link-tracking software.
More specifically, you can:
- Custom-track your affiliates. Modern link tracking systems can be set up in so many ways that you can easily find the right approach to any affiliate. Granular analytics, including clicks, conversions, and metrics alike, will dissect the performance of each of your publishers to give you a clear vision of who is ahead and who’s lagging behind.
- Adjust your affiliate campaigns on the fly. As real-time performance parameters pop up on the dashboard, you can adjust your campaigns on the fly, doubling down on effectiveness and removing useless links, ads, and campaigns. With the ROI of each of your marketing channels at hand, you will never be led astray by affiliates.
- Get access to ‘big data.’ The archived data is always there to help you analyze previous campaigns. The number of clicks, conversions, ROI, and other parameters of past campaigns can be food for thought when you devise or reevaluate your affiliate marketing strategy.
- Complete payments accurately- Automatic payments to your affiliates can be set up in a few clicks. The transparency and accuracy of payments will establish you as a reputable advertiser.
- Track links in all channels. Link tracking software will allow you to track links on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Ads, and any other platform or channel.
Link tracking software will allow you to easily compare the performance of your affiliate links, make informed decisions, increase click-through rate (CTR), and get a higher ROI with less effort. On the other hand, your affiliates will know that you are a reliable, result-driven advertiser.
Solutions like Phonexa’s Lynx are omnichannel and omnipotent. You will be able to place, generate, and track direct and deep affiliate links with only a few clicks while having the most detailed statistics to help you.
Beware the most common mistake with Affiliate Link Tracking
One of the worst mistakes you can make – the one that will nullify your tracking efforts – is to set up a single link for the entire marketing campaign, thereby making it impossible to understand which marketing channel brought what audience.
Make sure to create different links for each of the ads you use. Headers, sidebars, blog posts, emails – each of your marketing channels deserves a separate link to be tracked, analyzed, and then adjusted accordingly.
Affiliate link tracking is the backbone of today’s affiliate marketing, as it is the only viable way to track sales back to affiliates and reward them based on their performance. Take into consideration that 83% of marketing experts see affiliate link clicks as the most important metric to track, whereas 59% of marketers monitor affiliate program revenue based on clicks.
Likewise, link tracking is indispensable for optimizing affiliate marketing as it allows you to adjust your campaigns however you see fit based on the collected data. It is a sure way to increase your overall ROI, enhance your brand image, and avoid wasting time, energy, and expenses.
The market is abundant with automatic link tracking software solutions like Phonexa, so you can pick the one that fits you and start climbing to the top of the ever-growing U.S. affiliate market right away.