How to Track Links for Affiliate Marketing

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Affiliate marketing is one of those things where if you’re not tracking campaign performance, you’re leaving money on the table.

It’s a very competitive industry, and you need accurate and insightful data to optimize your strategies. There are a few different ways to track links, and we recommend one above else: Google Analytics.

Read on to find out why that is, how to install it, and how to use it effectively. By understanding how to harness the capabilities of this platform, you can gain valuable insights into your audience’s behavior, track the performance of your affiliate links, and boost your revenue.

What are Affiliate Links?

We’re going to assume that you know the absolute basics of affiliate marketing: that it’s a performance-based marketing strategy where individuals or businesses (affiliates) earn a commission for driving traffic or sales to another company’s (vendor’s) product or services. In basic terms, it’s outsourced marketing.

Affiliate links are how affiliates can get credit for sales: after all, if you don’t know where a sale came from, you can’t pay the person responsible for it! With an affiliate link, vendors can include unique tracking codes for every affiliate which are attached to the sale they are responsible for. By seeing how many sales can be attributed to each link, they know which affiliates to pay, and how much.

Affiliate links are generated on the affiliate management platform: for example, in ThriveCart, affiliates for your products can easily generate links with their own unique ID’s from their affiliate dashboard. By promoting those links over the internet, you get more sales, and they generate commission earnings.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google. It tracks and reports website traffic and provides a wealth of information, including user demographics, behavior, and sources of traffic.

If you’re a vendor, Google Analytics helps you understand where your traffic is coming from so you can optimize campaigns and improve performance.

If you’re an affiliate marketer, you can use it in the same way: to understand how your campaigns are performing so you can earn more commission on eventual sales.

Here are the main features of Google Analytics you need to care about as an affiliate marketer:

Traffic Analysis: Affiliate marketers can use Google Analytics to understand where their website traffic is coming from. This includes information about the geographic location of visitors, the devices they use, and the sources of their traffic (such as search engines, social media, or referral links).

Conversion Tracking: Setting up conversion goals in Google Analytics allows affiliate marketers to track specific actions that visitors take on their websites, such as making a purchase or filling out a lead form. This helps in measuring the effectiveness of affiliate marketing efforts.

Campaign Tracking: With Google Analytics, affiliate marketers can create custom campaign tracking URLs to monitor the performance of different marketing channels or specific campaigns. This allows them to identify which sources are generating the most traffic and conversions.

Audience Insights: Google Analytics provides detailed information about the demographics and interests of website visitors. Affiliate marketers can use this data to tailor their content and marketing strategies to better resonate with their target audience.

Content Performance: Analyzing the performance of specific pages or content on a website can help affiliate marketers understand what resonates most with their audience. This information can be used to optimize content and improve overall engagement.

User Flow Analysis: Understanding the path visitors take through a website can be crucial for affiliate marketers. Google Analytics provides insights into the user flow, helping marketers identify potential bottlenecks and optimize the user journey for better conversions.

How to Use Google Analytics

Tracking your links as an affiliate marketer is as easy as setting up a Google Analytics account. From there, you need to set up what’s known as a “property” – this is the website you want to track analytics for.

If you don’t already have a Google Analytics account, you’ll need to create one. Head to the Google Analytics website, sign in with your Google account, and follow the prompts to set up a new account. Once your account is set up, you’ll need to create a property for the website or platform where you’ll be promoting affiliate products.

Installing Google Analytics Tracking Code

After setting up your account and property, you’ll receive a unique tracking code. This code needs to be added to every page of your website or platform where you want to track user interactions. The tracking code is what enables Google Analytics to collect and report data accurately.

Setting Up Goals in Google Analytics

Goals in Google Analytics allow you to track specific user interactions or actions that contribute to your business objectives. For affiliate marketers, setting up goals is crucial for measuring the success of your campaigns. Let’s explore how to create goals that align with your affiliate marketing objectives.

Identifying Key Conversions

Before setting up goals, it’s essential to identify the key conversions you want to track. In the context of affiliate marketing, these conversions might include product purchases, lead form submissions, or any other action that represents a successful referral.

Creating Goals in Google Analytics

Once you’ve identified your key conversions, navigate to the ‘Goals’ section in your Google Analytics account and create a new goal. You can choose from various goal types, such as destination goals, duration goals, pages/screens per session goals, or event goals. Select the goal type that aligns with your affiliate marketing objectives.

Integrating Google Analytics with ThriveCart

Using Google Analytics to track your marketing efforts with ThriveCart is super simple, and easy to set up.

All you need to do is add your tracking ID in the appropriate field. No need to worry about adding multiple codes across different pages, we handle all of that for you, automatically.

This allows you to easily create audiences and retarget customers that visit the checkout page but don’t go on to purchase, giving you more power in your promotions as an affiliate (from within your Ads Manager).

All you need to do is:

  1. Log in and go to your ThriveCart dashboard.
  2. Under your Product settings, go to Checkout > Tracking.
  3. Paste in the Google Analytics tracking ID for the property you’ve created, and save your progress.

And you’re done!

Reading Google Analytics Reports

Once you’ve driven some traffic, head into your Google Analytics account, go to the ‘Acquisition’ section and select ‘Campaigns.’ Here, you’ll find an overview of your campaign performance, including the specific UTM parameters you’ve set.

Reporting is quite thorough in Google Analytics, and helps you understand how your campaigns are performing on a granular level:

Source/Medium Report

The ‘Source/Medium’ report in Google Analytics provides detailed insights into the performance of your affiliate links based on the ‘utm_source’ and ‘utm_medium’ parameters. This report allows you to see which sources and mediums are driving the most traffic and conversions.

Campaign Report

The ‘Campaign’ report focuses on the ‘utm_campaign’ parameter, giving you a comprehensive view of the performance of your different affiliate marketing campaigns. This insight is invaluable for refining your future promotional strategies.

Landing Page Report

In addition to UTM parameters, Google Analytics allows you to track the performance of specific pages through the ‘Behavior’ section. The ‘Landing Pages’ report shows which pages are attracting the most traffic and conversions, providing additional context to your affiliate link performance.

Use Google Analytics for Better Affiliate Marketing

Mastering the art of tracking affiliate links with Google Analytics is a really useful skill for any affiliate marketer looking to thrive and earn more revenue. By understanding the basics of affiliate marketing, setting up goals, implementing UTM parameters, analyzing performance reports, and leveraging advanced features, you can unlock valuable insights to optimize your campaigns and drive more commission than ever before.

For vendors, implementing Google Analytics gives you even more insight into how your affiliates are performing: and with ThriveCart, you’ll have a fully functional affiliate management suite at your disposal.

With the right tools and a data-driven approach, you can navigate the affiliate marketing landscape with confidence and maximize the potential of your online ventures. Check out ThriveCart today.

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