When as a merchant you’re reviewing your affiliate program’s activity (I recommend doing this at least weekly), ask your affiliate manager to report on the following 7 things:
- Hits (or Clicks) — how many times the affiliate ad was clicked during any given time period
- Sales (number) — how many sales have been referred by your affiliates (if you’re paying for leads, have them report on the number of qualified leads; if it’s both leads and sales that you remunerate, review both)
- Sales ($ volume) — monetary volume of sales driven in
- Conversion ratio — percentage of clickthroughs that converted into sales or leads
- Commissions — total amount paid in commissions over any given period of time
- Active affiliates — the number of active affiliates in the program
- Recruited affiliates — both the number, and any important highlights (super affiliate, content sites especially strong in your niche, etc)
Since some affiliate platforms report on these, some merchants also like to see such metric as Impressions (or how many times affiliates showed your ad) included in affiliate program performance reports. I wouldn’t focus too much on this metric, as it is frequently skewed because many affiliates cloak/mask their links and the true number of impressions is almost never correctly registered/reported.
With the above-quoted 7 things to report, have your affiliate program manager report not only on a shorter time period (e.g.: a week), but also on a longer one (e.g. month-to-date, quarter-to-date, or even year-to-date).
In addition to this, make sure you also see my article on the 5 affiliate program management KPIs to evaluate.