Affiliate Marketing Analytics

Posted on6 CommentsCategoriesArticles & Publications

“It is interesting that we do not see much written on affiliate marketing analytics, whereas if there is one industry that relies on analytical data especially heavily it is affiliate marketing” — this is how my newest article starts. It is one of the feature articles in the Summer 2010 issue of the Visibility Magazine.

Affiliate marketing analytics

In the article I look at 3 basic KPIs for affiliates/publishers (EPC, Conversion Rate, Reversal Rate), and 5 key performance indicators that merchants/advertisers should be measuring and analyzing on an ongoing basis (Affiliate Recruited, Activity Index, Activation, Traffic, and Transaction Volume). Visual examples of data presentation on three different affiliate networks (AvantLink, ShareASale, and Commission Junction) are also provided.

The article is coming out in the print version of the magazine, but you may also read it in the digital edition here (on pages 38-39).

6 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing Analytics

  1. Great article, and I have to say that I agree. In all of the conversations I have with other managers many of them are on the defensive and dealing with issues that arise in the program and not proactively looking at the metrics in the program to help them guide their next efforts. I know in my efforts the ability to organize data and “see” what has happened has helped me make decisions that have dramatically impacted the bottom line.

  2. Thanks, Jared. You’re right on the money when you say that it’s unusual to hear affiliate program managers discuss the metrics, how to read them, and what to deduct from them. I personally see this particular area as one with a huge untapped (or nearly untapped) potential (both for people to write on, educating others; and for practitioners to master).

    As always, thank you for your comment.

  3. Geno, an abundance of good info especially for retailers new to the Affiliate world. I will no doubt be linking to/referring your article in the future..

    Bottom line from our (AvantLink) perspective: if a network has the data (eg, conversion rates, reversal rates, etc.) then it should be available to partners on the platform.

    “Finally, the increase in affiliate-referred sales or leads is your most tangible KPI.”

    On the mgt performance indicators…agree to all. Except should be noted (and I realize this is not the topic of your article) that not every instance of an increase in sales can be good and accurate indicator. For example software Affiliates may illegitimately channel sales through the Affiliate channel, that do not belong there. That’s good for the Affiliate program, but not so good for the retailer’s bottom line.

  4. Great points, Gary, and of course I’m with you on the illegitimately-driven sales. With subjects like these a 1,500 wordcount limit of a magazine article (and frequently it is even shorter than this!!) never helps. Ideally, I’d put together a book chapter on this… Maybe one day.

    Once again, thank you for your comment.

  5. Hi Geno,
    Thank you for this great article. Yes, affiliate networks and/or merchants should provide interested affiliates with reversal rates, BUT in most of the cases when they do, the data is flawed.

    PPC-affiliates produce different reversal rates than affiliates, which are active in incentiviced traffic or affiliates that work mostly on display. These various activities and types of traffic have different reversal rates and the average rate provided by some networks and/or merchants is misleading.

    Nevertheless, I like the article very much. Keep up the good work

  6. Andreas, thank you for your comment. However, since it is exactly the same way with all other metrics (EPC, Conversion Rate, CTR, etc), I believe there is absolutely no reason (apart from cases when networks want to conceal this data on one reason or another) not to disclose that overall program’s Reversal Rate. After all, if a program reverses even 1/5th of all affiliate transactions, it is best for affiliates to know this right from the start, and not learn it the hard way.

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