Do you know what the tracking policies are for each of your partner companies?
Tracking affiliate links is one of the least discussed aspects of affiliate marketing, yet is something that can drastically impact your website’s bottom line.
In this post I’ll go over what you need to know about affiliate link tracking and how you can use it to make better decisions for your site.
Understanding Tracking Policies
The first thing to consider is the actual policy about how your link tracking is going to work.
Consider the following elements:
- What is the timeframe that the tracking remains in effect? 1 session? 24 hours? 2 weeks?
- What happens if the user clicks a second affiliate link and then makes a purchase?
- How are follow-up purchases tracked? For subscriptions, is the user tracked over time?
The answers to each of these questions can drastically impact how much money you’ll make from an affiliate partner.
Many users will visit a site more than once before making a purchase, so if your link is only active for a single session or for a few hours, you may be referring users that you won’t end up getting credit for.
There is no one right answer, but the ideal is obviously to have links tracked and credited for as long as possible. Whatever the timeframe, however, you need to know what the policy is before getting into the program.
Vetting the Technology Used
Secondly, you need to consider the actual technology used by the service provider.
The main affiliate networks, like LinkShare, ShareASale, or Clickbank, have well tested and vetted technology. While you pay a percentage of your commissions to these networks, the peace of mind of knowing you’re working with a valid partner is a huge benefit, and often well worth the price of doing business.
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for an individual to vet the technology used by the affiliate partner. Not only would you need to understand the intricacies of software development, but the algorithms used are often proprietary and not available to the public.
This means that instead of actually looking at the technology, your best option is to try to find other affiliate who are using the program. If you can find evidence that the program is widely used within your niche and/or has been used for several years, chances are the platform is in good standing.