Effective Tracking Solutions for Affiliates
Link tracking is a vital practice that helps gaming affiliates understand what ads and languages your visitors respond to, as well as what sites and pages send the most traffic to your website.
In some cases, it also works to assure that the links you’re sending to your operators, or paying for, are being tracked and recorded properly. This can assure that you get paid all of the commission that you’re owed and that your PPC budget is being spent wisely.
Link tracking works by allowing you to see metaphorical footprints of your customers. Using sub-IDs, like place markers, you can record the specific path consumers take—or click—through your site.
By doing this, you’ll know what links are most clicked, which will help you improve efficiency and profitability. You’ll also understand conversions by platform, devices, traffic sources, time of day and the landing pages visitors come from.
Get ready to learn technical jargon such as sub-IDs—a word or two at the end of your affiliate code that provide the foundation for understanding your conversions—and about tools such as Google Analytics and Tracking202.
Using Google Analytics
Once you start to track how many times each specific affiliate link is clicked, you’ll be able get an idea of which links are generating the most sales.
Google Analytics conversion tracking is a good option for this. It counts how many times a specific affiliate link has been clicked. To implement it in the code on your site, it’s as simply as tweaking your hyperlinks to resemble the example below:
< a onclick= "_trackEvent(Affiliate Links, #Affiliate Name#)" href=".." target="_blank"> ...
For more information on how the background and how to implement conversion tracking using Google Analytics, check out Google’s excellent documentation.
Tracking 202 for PPC
Tracking202, created by a company called Prosper 202, is a popular tool that tracks pay-per-click (PPC) links. It does so by tracking sub-IDs and cataloging the results in an easy-to-read format. If you run PPC advertising and need one place to see how your ads are working, it’s a good program to use.
In addition, if you use a variety of campaigns — like email, direct mail, or newsletters, Tracking202′s Conversion202 can help you see which campaign is pulling ahead.
And better yet, Tracking202 offers a free account that provides basic tracking. Premium accounts provide more advanced reporting and much better integration with the major PPC networks (Google, MSN AdCenter, Yahoo! Search Marketing). Many affiliates happily pay the $19.95 monthly fee for this product.
Using Tracking Through Your Merchant
Another solution that we don’t quite recommend is tracking through your affiliate operator or network.
While some tracking is provided as a basic service to affiliates, there are two issues that make it hard to recommend this as a solution. First, the level of reporting is often so high that you usually learn little more than how your traffic sources are performing. Second, part of the purpose of link tracking is to monitor the performance of your operator’s affiliate tracking. While a third party tool like Google Analytics or Tracking202 can do that, your operator or network can’t.
Our advice is to use this kind of tracking as a starting point, but consider investing the time and money to graduate to another tool as quickly as possible.
In conclusion, tracking your affiliate links is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your profitability as an affiliate. Don’t ignore it, or you might find yourself losing money you didn’t know you could be earning.
Are you tracking your affiliate links? If not, why not? Let us know in the comments below!
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