A guide to different types of affiliate tracking

Affiliate marketing is a great way to get more publicity for your business. Successful affiliates can promote your brand and help increase your sales, but you need to keep an eye on their work. How can you do so? With affiliate tracking software, of course! How does affiliate tracking work? Depending on the software or … Read More

Colour pallete and a rain drop

Affiliate marketing is a great way to get more publicity for your business. Successful affiliates can promote your brand and help increase your sales, but you need to keep an eye on their work. How can you do so? With affiliate tracking software, of course!

How does affiliate tracking work?

Depending on the software or platform you opt for, you will have different tracking types to choose from. There are also various tracking methods available. We will describe the most popular ones below.

Cookies 

This is one of the most common tracking methods. As Internet users, we’re aware of Cookies because we receive new notifications about them every time we visit a new site. 

Cookies are designed to recognize users, in particular those who visit a website more than once. How does it help affiliate marketing and affiliate tracking? Cookies allow merchants to check what data has been collected for the past two months. Because of this, affiliate cooperations are the most frequently set in 2-month intervals.

A big downside of Cookie tracking is the fact that every user can easily delete them from their browser. Moreover,  Cookies can’t be tracked on multiple devices belonging to a single user. 

cookies and a milk

Postback URL tracking 

This method may be regarded as one of the most accurate tracking methods. It works on a server to server approach, which means nothing is omitted. All pieces of information are stored on the merchant’s server. Is it more precise than using Cookies? Definitely yes. 

How does it work? An affiliate network adds tags to the advertiser’s URL called an ID. Thanks to adding an ID to the merchant’s URL, it is automatically updated as soon as the user reaches a given landing page. It is a more complex and complicated method, but it ensures better results. Those who use several affiliate networks should definitely consider using it.

Per product Tracking 

This solution is useful for merchants who release campaigns with different commission levels. You can track each product separately using this method, so commissions won’t get mixed up between various campaigns. You can customize them depending on your preferences, i.e. for a product or for a specific category. If you run several online stores then this solution may also be really useful. 

Impression tracking 

This shows statistics for each banner or link displayed to users. An impression means that the user saw your banner but didn’t click on it. Thanks to this information, you can learn why users do not want to click on your links or banners. Once you make appropriate adjustments, you will see an improvement in sales results. 

What is the best affiliate tracking software? 

Now you know the most common affiliate tracking methods, it’s time to get to know the software that will help you manage your affiliate tracking.

winner best affiliate tracking software

Post Affiliate Pro is one of the best-known solutions for businesses wanting to leverage affiliate marketing. It offers many affiliate tracking methods, such as:

IP tracking 

This method is used in two cases: when a user does not have Flash Player installed, or when Cookies cannot be found. It is rare, but it does happen. When tracking the sales process, the platform looks for the last clicks from a known IP address. If Post Affiliate Pro locates such a click, that specific affiliate ID is added to the affiliate so that they can earn their commission. 

Lifetime commission 

This is one of the most expanded upon tracking methods, and also the most reliable one. Post Affiliate Pro internally links when a customer is referred to your store by an affiliate and completes a desired action (buys something or signs up, for example). If that customer makes a purchase again, the commission will still be attributed to the corresponding affiliate. You can decide what kind of data will be the determinant, e.g. email address or customer login. 

Action tracking 

This method is extraordinary. It is based on the fact that you can follow all of the steps that your client takes. You will know whether the user clicked a link, or watched a video until the end, etc. You can even analyze clients’ behavior on a website, i.e. whether they read a product description or visited the recommendation tab. With this option, you can analyze customer behavior at all stages of the buyer’s journey.

Offline tracking

With Post Affiliate Pro, you can track your customers’ activities even if they are offline. It is based on coupons, as each affiliate has their own assigned code which can be promoted amongst potential customers. Customers can use these coupons whenever they want to. When the code is used, Post Affiliate Pro is able to track the sales process. Thanks to this solution, your promotion can return to its roots and occur without an Internet connection. Printed leaflets or discount coupons added to local newspapers are just a few ideas for offline advertising.

Commissions – special and private

If you plan to work with some affiliates who will receive a commission on a different basis than your regular ones, this method is for you. It allows you to avoid confrontation with the rest of your partners when a special affiliate receives a higher commission for selling the same product. With this method, you can create a private campaign that is only visible to those affiliates you’ve given access to.

special or private commissions

What’s next?

So you are tracking your affiliate’s links and banner performance. What exactly do you need this information for? Primarily for settling accounts with affiliates. Depending on which method you choose, the payment method may be different. Here are some of the most popular payment methods: 

  • CPS – Cost Per Sale is perhaps the most popular method used in affiliate marketing. The affiliate receives a predetermined commission rate on every purchase made through their affiliate link. These amounts can vary depending on the products or affiliate programs.
  • CPC – Cost Per Click. In this case, affiliates get a commission every time a user clicks on their link. No further actions are needed. The client could exit the website straight after opening it, but it still gives the affiliate a commission. This method is most often used when an advertiser wants to increase traffic to a site.
  • CPL – Cost Per Lead. This method is based on generating the desired actions. The affiliate receives payment when a customer behaves as the merchant wants them to, e.g. subscribes to a newsletter or creates an account.

Wrapping up

It’s important to use tracking methods if you want to have your affiliates’ performance under control. Thanks to this information, you can get a better overview of your affiliate network and plan your further actions. There are many methods to choose from, so you can decide on the best one depending on the industry you are working in or on the campaign you’re promoting. Once you select an affiliate tracking method, cooperation with affiliates will be seamless. 

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