The complete guide to affiliate tracking software for influencers

Influencer Marketing

Affiliate marketing programs flourish with coupon sites, magazines, and online blog content. And lately? Influencers and content creators. 

YouTubers, TikTokers, Instagramers, and podcasters market endless content for brands and influence consumers’ purchase decisions daily — especially Instagrammers

Newsflash: those consumers could be part of your customer base! 

And brands have caught on. 

You might have a hundred influencers spearheading various affiliate marketing campaigns. Hello, higher traffic and conversion rates! The value is undeniable: every dollar spent on influencer marketing translates to a $5.78 return, on average. 

But remember when you based success on vanity metrics like likes, comments, and shares? It’s important to track all those, too. But not as valuable as tracking affiliate sales

Why? Two reasons. First, tracking affiliate links and codes (sales) speaks directly to your ROI. Second? Data is king — you should know which campaigns and influencers are performing best in order to reach your campaign goals. 

Influencer marketing campaigns are great for your affiliate program, but not until you understand their performance. 

That’s where affiliate tracking software comes in. Don’t you want to see where your affiliate income is coming from? We’ll help you discover that and more as we walk through affiliate tracking for influencers. 

Image source: sweetandpetite_

What is an influencer?

Influencers influence people, specifically their purchase decisions. 

One early appearance was King George’s “stamp of approval” on Josiah Wedgewood’s pottery in the 18th century. 

Today, it’s the comedian promoting cognitive-enhancing supplements on his podcast. Or the outdoorsy YouTuber unpacking a new, heavily insulated sleeping bag. 

Note how we mention podcasts and YouTube — that’s because before, everyone associated influencers solely with Instagram, along with Facebook and TikTok. Of course, those social media platforms are common stomping grounds for influencers, but they aren’t the only marketing channels.

Today, influencers market tons of products for brands on many platforms, including: 

  • Discord
  • Twitch
  • BeReal
  • Reddit
  • LinkedIn

Influencers are successful marketing tools because their audiences trust them. They’ve built authentic relationships with them with regular creative content through Instagram stories, Twitch streams, podcast episodes, and more. In fact, influencers might even have a deeper understanding of your audience’s needs, knowing which social channels and content types they respond to more. 

A word on influencer affiliates

We just summarized influencers in a quick couple of paragraphs. But the truth is, you can’t paint every single one with the same brush. 

While influencer affiliate marketing has been around since social media’s early days, it’s evolved to thousands of different commissions, payment models, and packages. 

Even just as recently as 2018, content creators were much more stringent in their payment expectations, charging brands per activity (i.e., $100 for an Instagram story) for a mention or promotion. 

Today? Things are much more flexible. Of course, you probably pay affiliate influencers a commission on sales or a hybrid model with commission rates and a standard fee. 

Influencers are much more willing now to accept pay based on campaign performance. You can even negotiate commission payouts based on milestones, or add perks like free merchandise to the mix. 

Social media influencers have made affiliate marketing success much more accessible, especially for eCommerce businesses. In just four years, social media influencers jumped to capture 5% of the performance marketing investment.

So how do you see and assess the fruits of your influencer marketing efforts?

Why track influencer sales?

Business growth and revenue are every brand’s end goal. Even brick-and-mortar businesses become online businesses when it comes to tracking. Today, eCommerce marketing platforms help you keep tabs on performance, average order value, and other helpful KPIs. 

And if you have an affiliate program? Influencer sales is a key KPI. Tracking affiliate sales indirectly gives you access to revenue. You just have to travel through data, then insights, which become actionable. 

The result is a constantly coiffed affiliate marketing strategy that:

  • Attracts the right influencers and publishers: Data makes you more organized. You’ll find that your affiliate program will attract relevant influencers to your brand if you channel credibility and confidence. And if you use Tapfiliate, you’ll have access to the Admitad Partner Network, where hundreds of thousands of influencers are eager to promote your brand. 
  • Leverages two buckets of data: Influencer marketing campaigns give you two brimming buckets of data: vanity (social media) metrics and sales data. Influencers can share vanity data from different social media channels — impressions, views, engagement rate, conversion triggers, social listening, and video completion rate are just a few tidbits. 

Second, affiliate sales. Of course, you’ll need affiliate marketing software to see sales. But the right solution will make it easy for you to see how many sales each influencer refers, as well as financial return for different influencers and campaigns. 

  • Improves campaign performance and oversight: Influencer marketing campaigns require regular maintenance. That means assessing which social platforms, influencers, and influencer campaigns perform better than others. The point is to identify any successes and dips, and address them accordingly. 
  • Identifies and rewards high-performing influencers: Which professional creators bring you the most revenue? Accurate performance tracking will help you pinpoint the answer. This insight will help you identify the highest-quality partners in your program and reward them accordingly. You might offer them bonus commissions to sweeten their deal. The result? Enthusiastic, motivated influencers who will work that much harder to promote your brand and attract your target audience to your website.
Image source: asia_zuk

Influencer campaigns and management

Influencer marketing demands your attention in four main areas — but each one still has a lot of moving parts: 

  • Campaign creation: First, you need an idea for a campaign. You’ll need to use audience and competitor research to find out what your target audience wants. This might look like polls on your social media channels, surveys, and market research. Will you use giveaways and contests? Interactive, branded social media posts? User-generated content? The most important part of this process is to talk to your influencer affiliates — they can help you brainstorm the most effective ideas and themes to engage your target audience. Then, you’ll need to align your campaign idea with your brand values and marketing budget. All set? If you didn’t have an influencer to help you brainstorm, now’s a good time to find some affiliates. 
  • Affiliate recruiting: How will you source quality influencer creators who will represent your brand best? You might conduct research, network, or send out some cold pitches. Additionally, SEO is great for attracting affiliates to your landing page — don’t have one? We can help you with a shiny new white-labeled sign-up page for potential influencer affiliates. Plus, you can brand it with your company colors and form entries. 
  • Campaign management. This includes affiliate link tracking, coupon tracking, asset creation, strategy optimization, and regular reporting. You need a bird’s eye view to track influencer campaign performance with the ability to dive into the granular details at a moment’s notice. All this valuable insight will support you with future campaigns. 
  • Creator management: Email content creators, Instagram influencers, and Discord streamers are people, too. Just like you’d manage employees, you’ll need to reward exclusive partners for results, inquire about anything they need, and track their performance. Influencer relationship management engages your influencer partners and increases positive performance. 

Phew. These are a lot of steps, people, and tasks to manage. Affiliate marketing is a large operation, even if you’re working with micro – influencers. Unfortunately, campaign and influencer management aren’t optional. If you don’t stay on top of all these moving parts, your traffic and revenue could suffer. 

But how can a marketing team handle affiliate link tracking, commission payouts, content performance tracking, and influencer engagement on top of everything else?

Easy. They subscribe to Tapfiliate so that all these tasks can be automated.

Try Tapfiliate’s free 14-day trial

Tracking influencer sales with Tapfiliate

Tapfiliate has powerful tracking features and real-time insights to help you keep tabs on influencer sales. Plus, its unique clickless tracking marks it ideal for influencer affiliate tracking. 

Let’s say your affiliate uses Instagram as a primary promotion social network. If they post your affiliate links in their captions, it’s likely their audience will never click on them. 

Why? Because commissionable affiliate links don’t work everywhere. 

In this case, an influencer would offer their audience a coupon code, something quick and simple they can plug in at checkout. Tapfiliate empowers brands to track these sales by linking each coupon code to the corresponding affiliate. You’ll still be able to track sales, order values, and overall revenue per affiliate — without a click! 

Of course, we still track affiliate links too. We offer both click and clickless tracking. Here are some additional features with Tapfiliate: 

  • Endless offline and digital influencers: You can add as many influencers as you’d like to your affiliate program. Each one gets their own, personalized dashboard for them to track progress and feel secure in your brand’s transparency. 
  • Affiliate sign-up page: Attract influencers with a branded, customized influencer sign-up page and customizable dashboard. This will be SEO optimized and you can link to it on your personal website. 
  • Shareable social media posts: You can create custom social media assets and allow influencers to share them directly from Tapfiliate. This is one of our more popular features because it saves influencers from some work, attracting them to brands on Tapfiliate. However, we don’t recommend relying too heavily on your own assets. Influencers will have their own preferences and ideas on social media posts that will engage their target audience. 
  • Click and clickless tracking: Track affiliate codes and links, making offline to online tracking a breeze. 
  • Flexible commission rates and structures: You can choose how much you pay each influencer with flexible commission rates. This makes it easy to frame commission payments higher for the most high-performing influencers. Keep in mind, you don’t even have to pay through commission rates every time. Tapfiliate lets you customize the commission value to 0% for those influencers that require a pay-per-action sort of deal. 
  • Integrations: We play well with others, helping you connect your affiliate program to eCommerce platforms, payment processors, shopping carts, automation apps, and other items in your tech stack. If you don’t see a choice app in our list, you can use the REST API to create a custom integration. 

Start with affiliate tracking for influencers today

Influencers aren’t going anywhere — more pop up each day, which presents ample opportunities for rich, engaging affiliate marketing campaigns. 

Since influencer affiliates aren’t the biggest upfront investment, it’s easy to pay less attention to them compared to the rest of your marketing efforts. But tracking affiliate sales is vital to your success. You need data insights to make the most of your influencer marketing program. 

Tapfiliate can help with custom links, powerful reporting, engaging affiliate interfaces, and tracking for coupons and links. Try our 14-day free trial today

Chrissy Kapralos

Chrissy Kapralos

Chrissy Kapralos runs a Toronto-based writing agency called No Worries Writing Co. She’s passionate about helping businesses communicate and share their stories. When she isn’t writing about the latest tech and marketing content, you’ll find her traveling, cooking, or watching horror movies.

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