Choosing the right affiliate program tracking software is an important decision for every affiliate marketer. There are so many options, it can be hard to know what to choose.
There are hundreds of affiliate tracking programs out there… and… not all of them are created equal.
Table of Contents
- What is affiliate tracking software and why should you care?
- How do you choose the right tracking software for you?
If you’re thinking about getting into affiliate marketing, you’re almost guaranteed to hear the following question at some point: “Which affiliate tracking software should I use?” It’s a question that can literally make or break your success as an affiliate.
So many people get this wrong, it’s no wonder the vast majority of newbies quit within the first year. Choosing the right affiliate program tracking software can be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make when it comes to growing your online business.
In this guide, we’re going to explore the various types of affiliate tracking software you might encounter, along with the pros and cons of each.
We’re also going to examine some of the questions you should ask when you’re evaluating any affiliate program tracking software, and discuss some important criteria you should consider when you’re making your selection.
Just to be clear, this is NOT a review post, I’m NOT trying to sell you a tracker – this is just some stuff to think about 🙂
What is affiliate tracking software and why should you care?
Affiliate tracking software lets you keep track of which of your ads or links are being clicked on by (potential) customers. Depending on the affiliate network you are using, it might also show actual conversion and sales data too.
Really, affiliate tracking software breaks down to these basic things:
- Are people clicking on your links?
- Where are they clicking on them from?
- How much is it costing you per click?
- Are the clicks leading to sales?
- What is your cost per sale?
Affiliate tracking software is very important if you are going to make any money with your website or Internet marketing campaign.
Without it, you won’t be able to tell if your campaign is working or not.
Most beginning Internet marketers don’t even think about this kind of stuff (don’t fall into that trap).
They just wait (and hope…) for money to come in the door without ever doing anything to ensure that the money stays in the door. Then if they do make a sale they have no idea how or why which makes it impossible to repeat and scale their success.
With the right tracking software setup, you’ll know exactly how many people are clicking on your ads or links and where they are clicking on them from.
You can also get data such as how much it is costing you per click, how many sales there are, and how much you are spending per sale.
All of this data will help you to make decisions about your future campaigns.
How do you choose the right tracking software for you?
Here are a few points to keep in mind when you’re evaluating the various tracking packages:
Cost: Obviously, the cheaper the better (as long as it works…).
As with all things, trackers can at all price points, from free to hundreds – or even thousands (if you are running huge volume) – per month.
Whilst it’s true to an extent, that you get what you pay for – you’d be surprised how much you can do on a free tier from someone like Bemob.
It’s also true that there is no point bankrupting yourself on the tracking tool and leaving no money for advertising spend – because then you’ve got nothing to track…
As a general rule (that I’ve totally just made up…) maybe go for around 10% of your ad spend per month.
So if you’re spending $300 on ads, look for a tracker for around $30 and so on.
You should also look for a package that provides good support and lots of training. This is a very important point as some tracking setups can be pretty complicated and if you make mistakes your can be burning money on your campaigns without even realizing it.
The best trackers will have responsive support teams. Most affiliate tracking software will have a free trial, so this is a good chance for you to test out their support.
What traffic sources are you using (and therefore what features do you need)?
This is actually a REALLY important consideration. Different trackers will focus on different aspects of tracking – and ones that do it all are VERY expensive.
You only want to pay for the features that YOU need.
To give some examples to make my point:
If you’re using solo ads as your main traffic source, you’ll be wanting to make sure that your tracker has a strong focus on identifying fraudulent clicks and country of origin (ps if you don’t know what solo ads are, check out this post).
If you’re doing CPA and using pop and push and even native traffic, you’ll be wanting to focus on very detailed tracking of location, time of day, advertiser ids, widget ids etc as well and conversion data (ps if you’re not sure what CPA is, check out this post).
If you’re using mainstream sources like Google, if anything you’ll be wanting to focus on trying to look like you’re not tracking lol (see my post about affiliate marketing with Google ads here). You want need to worry about fraud tracking and things like that (yes I know click fraud happens on all platforms, but not in the same way as a solo ad vendor sending you loads of bot traffic).
And if you’re intending on doing a lot of Facebook, you will need to make sure your tracker has integration with CAPI (Facebook conversion API).
Reliability: Is the company around long enough to have had some customer service issues resolved?
This is another important consideration when you’re choosing a tracker.
It is good to do research before you buy anything.
This is a big decision and you should think about it carefully – trust me you don’t want to be changing trackers all the time, it’s a nightmare…
You should check reviews about the company on websites such as www.yelp.com and also on Google.
You should read online comments left by other people.
You should read the fine print in their website’s T&C’s.
You don’t necessarily have to deal with the company yourself in order to get a feel for their reliability, but you should be able to glean some info from other customers via online forums, comments left on websites, and maybe even some social media posts.
Are their refunds acceptable?
What percentage of their customers have been satisfied with their service?
Do they offer a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee?
What is their average response time to customer service issues?
New trackers seem to spring up pretty much every week at the moment – and news ones always offer pretty enticing deals for early adopters.
However, that’s a gamble you’ll have to weigh up for yourself over using a more established (and possibly more expensive) tracker.
In conclusion, Affiliate tracking software is an essential tool for any serious affiliate.
Without it, you are almost guaranteed to lose a lot of money.
If you’re spending money on ads you are (almost…) literally throwing it down the drain if you don’t have tracking in place.
However, as discussed, there are several different types of affiliate tracking software and each of them has its pros and cons.
The important thing is to decide what YOU need (not what the sales page TELLS you you need…).
If you’re not actually sure what you need, don’t be afraid to ask others.
Join Facebook groups and reach out to people there (yes you’ll get spammed with high ticket offers in your messenger…) but there will be people that are happy to help you out by telling you what they use and like.
Once you have a list of potential trackers try and find Facebook groups for them and lurk for a week or so. You’ll pick up pretty quickly on if people are loving or hating it.