In the context of an affiliate marketing program, the more proactive you are, the more successful the strategy will be. Especially when it comes to communication and collaboration. Performance marketing must be measured in real-time to establish the efficacy of your affiliate network.
To stay competitive, it requires hardware and software tools that accommodate the way you do business. The ability to automate operations is essential for getting off the ground. The more intricate affiliate management becomes, the more there is a need to incorporate a tracking platform.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is a form of digital marketing in which a brand rewards affiliate partners after they have accomplished a pre-determined set of goals This is typically done via pay-per-lead (PPL) or pay-per-sale (PPS). It’s a referral program that can include a variety of CTAs (calls to action) like:
- Clicking through the campaign
- Visiting a website or landing page
- Subscribing or signing up
- Making a purchase
When it comes to the network of affiliates, the structure includes:
- The publisher (affiliate, brand advocate, blogger, or influencer)
- The customer (person receiving the message)
- The merchant (advertiser, retailer, company, brand, business)
- The network (offers for affiliate to promote and payment center)
In addition to individuals, a business can use affiliate program management agencies and specialized third-party vendors for creative marketing campaigns. If you choose to go with a program, it generally requires an affiliate manager to oversee new affiliates, maintain the management software, and optimize peak performances.
Affiliate marketing can be used in conjunction with a lot of marketing tools like:
- Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Online Reputation Management (ORM)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Email Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Running your own affiliate program can be daunting. Wires will cross and channels may be confused. Especially if you have an ambitious program with several ecommerce strategies. That’s why its wise to look for a SaaS program to help automate processes. That’s where an affiliate marketing platform comes in.
What is Affiliate Software?
Affiliate marketing tracking software is the most popular form of affiliate technology. There needs to be a means to measure the efforts of all parties involved to determine if strategies are cost-effective. This process becomes very difficult when working remotely.
Affiliate software is used to track the referral, recommendation, or endorsement made by a an individual or company to buy products and/or services from another party. It watches the actions of the middleman to determine success. The tracking itself refers to:
- User-client IP detection
- Marketer’s affiliate referral
- Browser detection
- Advertiser’s completed transaction
The user-friendly software helps to credit referrers based on a variety of metrics like clicks, page views, and impressions. It also confirms purchases and transactions. The purpose of affiliate software is to track the various aspects of a given action online. These are categorized into types like:
- CPM (cost per impression)
- CPC (cost per click)
- CPV (cost per visitor)
- CPL (cost per lead)
- CPS (cost per sale)
- CPO (cost per order)
- CPA (cost per acquisition)
- CPI (cost per install)
The most important feature of an affiliate marketing program is the ability to consolidate data. Any online business can appreciate all payment gateways in one spot. This type of system can lead to unlimited affiliates—as long as it’s managed properly.
Affiliate software is installed on your server or hosted remotely. You can set up a panel of affiliates, add more, and give them access to create their own platforms. Look for additional features like:
- Writing program rules and policies
- Adding products and creatives
- Tracking leads and sales
- Communication with affiliates
- Updating the program
- Managing affiliate payments
- WordPress plug-in integration
- And more…
The costs of affiliate software can range from a monthly fee of $30-$300. Don’t rush into anything. Many of these sites offer a basic program for beginners with simple payout methods.
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The Benefits of Affiliate Marketing Software
Affiliate software programs expand your marketing channels and streamline sales efforts. Affiliate networks are closely related to sales teams because they are commission- based.
Key benefits of using affiliate tracker software involve:
Every impression, click, lead, and sale makes an impression that needs to be tracked. This data can be gathered from cookies that are returned from the advertiser’s server site to the tracking software server for consolidation.
Generating Tracking Codes
When a business needs to track clicks and leads from something posted by an affiliate, it requires a special URL. The lin will contain the affiliate ID and campaign number. The information is parsed to the advertiser’ site and associated with a cookie to identify things like:
- Landing page
- Visit date
- User ID
- Related sales closing information
- Expire date
These links are also referred to as tracking codes, short links, or token URLs.
This is not about the location of the user, but the web page they are clicking from. It’s useful data if a business has a high rate of abandoned shopping carts or failed checkouts. You can determine where the poor prospects are coming from and shift strategy. This will also tell you the type of content the user was engaged with. It can be anything. Consider avenues like:
- Keyword search on Google
- Banner ad
- Third-party sites like Shopify, PayPal, Facebook
This data gives marketers and advertisers the context they need to vastly improve campaigns. Studying the trends will help maximize click-through ratios and drive sales conversion.
Affiliate software identifies top-performing affiliates. It looks at traffic, engagement, and the overall effectiveness of their efforts. A business can easily run reports to see where their money is hitting the mark (and where it can be shifted).
Affiliate marketing is vulnerable to fraud just like any other online business process. Smart affiliate software has built-in fraud detection to ensure a company is safe doing business this way. It can look for tricks like IP changing software, simulated chatbot clicks, and even inflated affiliate metrics.
The best affiliate tracking software will align with your business needs. The tool should have robust customer support and minimal transaction fees. If you can track how effective an affiliate is in real-time, you can reward them appropriately. This helps to retain top talent, keep all parties satisfied, and create opportunities for growth.