With affiliate marketing gaining traction each day, it becomes imperative to keep a track of the transactions. Tracking the sales/leads is especially necessary because you have to pay the commissions to the affiliates based on the transactions. This helps create a co-ordinated association between the merchant and the affiliates. The tracking results are eventually stored securely within the networks and so, the merchant has to update the order confirmation page or the sign-up page with the transaction details which then goes to the network.
However, the best part is that data privacy is maintained throughout the process and no user information is leaked to third-parties. All it would show is that there has been an association with the marketing channel before the sales, and who was the affiliate. This will help create transparency allowing the sales to be allotted under the respective affiliate’s name so that he can receive his due commission.
So, at the heart of it the number of leads generated or the sales completed by the affiliate should be recorded in real-time, should be accurate and more importantly, should be recorded using an automated process. Using the affiliate tracking software therefore, will empower the merchants to analyse how the affiliate promotions are working. Now that we know how important is tracking the sales/leads, let’s go straight to the most popular methods of tracking affiliate transactions.
This is one of the most commonly used methods to keep a track of the web traffic starting from a click on the link to completing the sales. What makes it a winner over the other methods is its ease of use, implementation, and fuss-free approach. Moreover, it does not require any web design factor, neither does it effect the web server performance. Using this method, you can easily track the buyers that click the affiliate link and completes the sale. Wondering how does it work?
Affiliates use the special link provided to them by the merchant, to promote their products and services. This tracking link comes with an exclusive affiliate ID. As the buyer reaches your blog or website and clicks on the link, the exclusive affiliate ID gets saved in their browser inside a text file which is called a cookie. The cookie then exists for a short period that is either for 30/60 days, or till the time the cookie is manually removed from the browser. Which means you can set the expiration date of the cookie and so, if the buyer returns after a few days and completes a sale, you will still receive the credit for the conversion.
The only disadvantage here is that cookies can be disabled, or deleted by users. They can even use anti-cookie software to eliminate cookies as they appear that prevents you to track the sales. However, being completely invisible to the users, cookies are the safest to use for better tracking.
This is a small chunk of code that’s implemented in the merchant’s website that loads up the page with the required information related to the leads whenever the customer has completed the sale. Have you seen those “Thank you for purchasing”, or any similar message that pops up when you finish a sale? Well, that’s the code that records the information. The pixel records any action completed by a buyer after clicking the affiliate link as a conversion. Wondering how complicated that could be? Not at all, since all you need is the basic know-how of html that helps you to set it up in the right manner.
Using affiliate tracking software
Affiliate tracking software are the latest technology that provides a lot of relief to the merchants in terms of tracking sales. These companies offer services that helps the merchants to keep track of the sales/leads implementing one of these methods thus, developing a transparency between the affiliate and the merchant. One of the best affiliate tracking software in the recent times would be Leaddyno that helps get new affiliates onboard, get the affiliate program listed in their directory, keeping a track of the conversions through the affiliate dashboard, and so much more!
Simple Direct URL Links/Session Tracking
This is the simplest form of tracking that helps improve the site ranking and popularity on the search engine using URL sessions. However, it is also one of the most controlled techniques of tracking affiliates. The special affiliate link or the coded scripts on each page usually need to be placed that will be directly connected to. The tracking links also consist of the affiliate ID that is visible to everyone.
This method usually records only the conversions during the original buyer action and not repeat transactions, or sales completed during the first visit of the buyer.
URL Query String Tracking
In this method, it usually requires an affiliate ID code or coded scripts at the tail of the URL that is conspicuous to the buyer throughout the website. It would look something like this – http://www.mywebsite.com?AffID=12345. There are chances that the script may break down and that’s when even the link will be broken. This will eventually stop leading the visitors to the affiliate website.
Replicated or self-replicated pages provides the affiliates with a replica of the merchant’s website. It could be either a single page from the website, or a replica of the entire website. The pages are then used solely by the web audience directed from the affiliate’s website. This entire process makes tracking convenient as any conversions made through these identical pages are assigned to the affiliate from where the duplicate was generated.
Replicated pages were once very popular as an effective tracking method, but not anymore. This is because the Google does not entertain copied content at any tie.
Sub Domain Tracking
Very similar to self-replicated pages, sub-domain tracking offers its affiliates a complete URL where the visitors are directed to. The major difference between the two methods is that in this technique the affiliates get an actual sub-domain at the merchant’s website instead of a straightforward directory route found in the merchant’s chief website. However, even in this method replicated content is produced that leads to getting penalized from Google for copied content.
Database Record Match Tracking
This method is the toughest of all to perform and maintain and so, is the least used among all techniques. Moreover, this method must be used in unison with a minimum of one other tracking methods. With this method, affiliates get rewarded for returning customers and not new ones.
These are some of the most used methods for tracking sales/leads. You can select the one that suits your business requirement the most. When in doubt, the safest way would be to either use the cookie tracking method, or simply get help from the affiliate tracking software. So, start tracking the conversions today and get in sync with your affiliates with the correct sales numbers in place.