Affiliate Tracking

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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"Affiliate tracking" measures the success of an affiliate marketing program. In affiliate marketing, a website publisher (the Affiliate) provides a link on their website to an advertised site (the Merchant). Affiliate marketing only works if a webpage visitor (the Consumer) takes the initiative to "click through" on the link, and travel from the Affiliate's site to the Merchant's site.

In most affiliate marketing programs, the link is provided on the Affiliate's website free of charge to the Merchant. In other words, the Merchant doesn't have to pay the Affiliate "rent" to have his link on the publisher's website. Instead, payment to the Affiliate comes in the form of "commission" payments, based on Consumer behaviors/performance in response to the link. Hence, most affiliate marketing is referred to as "performance based."

Advertiser/Merchants utilizing performance-based affiliate marketing programs may pay affiliates for a wide variety of consumer behaviors. Some of these metrics include "pay per click," "pay per lead," "pay per sale," etcetera. Keeping track of hundreds, and potentially thousands of consumer actions, on multiple affiliate websites, requires much more than pen, paper and gratitude for advanced algebra.

It's 11 o'clock--Do You Know What Your Affiliates are Doing?

Enter Affiliate Tracking software. Affiliate tracking software organizes all these details into manageable information, from which Advertiser/Merchants can learn, and grow. In addition to tools for management, accounting, transactions, and reporting, some advanced software programs have troubleshooting features, which can help identify fraudulent behavior. Costs for affiliate tracking software range from free to decidedly not. However, even the most basic affiliate tracking software can be customized for individual business needs.

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