Even though you’re a gambling affiliate, tracking your conversions shouldn’t be like shaking dice.
After all, the main goal of your affiliate marketing site is getting visitors to convert — to click on your ads and then sign up and spend money at that online gaming site. Your effectiveness at converting visitors is your conversion rate, communicated as a percentage (amount of converting visitors / amount of overall visitors).
But it’s hard to determine that rate, since affiliates don’t generally have access to the confirmation or “thank you” page that online casinos show when a successful deposit is made, and we’re generally left with the option of taking the casinos word for it.
So, why not take the casino’s word for it? Even if you have every reason to believe that your affiliate partners are honest about the conversions you send them, no entrepreneur worth a damn would ever take a client’s word for how much money he’s owed. Serious affiliates stay on top of their conversions, because then they know how much they should be earning — for a certainty. And, although we’d never criticize a specific casino affiliate program for botching these numbers, any veteran of the industry forums knows that it certainly does happen.
Specific to the casino affiliate industry, there is a lack of quality tools that will track conversions for you. So, most affiliates choose to do this manually, or to use the limited functionality within Google Analytics.
But these methods tend to be respectively too time consuming or unreliable, particularly when you being to step up from casual affiliate marketing to more advanced methods. If you’re in that boat, you have three basic options on how to proceed:
1. Log Analysis: This involves manually analyzing the log files on your web server to see specifically what happened when and where. Not so imposing for a modest affiliate; but the larger you grow, the more painstaking this becomes, and the more likely you’ll be to rely on third-party help.
2. Custom Tracking: Here, you insert a special tracking script into the web pages you want tracked. That script then updates a special database that collects data on whether visitors to that web page convert. Unless you’re a tech-head, you’ll probably need help with this.
3. Special Programs: There are a number of special conversion tracking systems out there. Affedit, osiaffiliate.com and idevdirect.com, just to name a few. Most aren’t geared towards online casino and/or Internet poker affiliates marketing, which works a bit differently than basic retail-style affiliate marketing, though. Income Access offers probably the best-known affiliate tracking software, but it’s geared towards operators, not affiliates.
Remember, conversions are literally your paycheck, and the better you understand which ads are converting and to whom, the better able you are to increase those numbers and make more money. The steps above may be intimidating in the amount of work (or money) they’ll require, but if they don’t work for you, then, as a serious online marketer, you’ll have to find an alternative somehow.
November 10, 2010