How to choose tools for automatic tracking in affiliate programs
How much time do you spend on your brand’s affiliate program? We’re talking about sourcing affiliates, managing relationships, allocating links and codes, awarding bonuses, and most importantly? Monitoring performance — the most time-consuming of all.
Do you keep a mental note of every transaction and every lead from every affiliate in your network? That’s a lot of info to track. Eventually, you’ll mess up the numbers and won’t have accurate records. Even delegating the task uses up valuable labor hours.
You’re in a pickle: do it yourself and waste time, or outsource and waste money.
Maybe you’ve used Google Analytics, but it’s not enough to attribute unique referrals and codes to your affiliate network.
That’s why an affiliate tracking tool is essential for your affiliate marketing program.
Affiliate tracking tools help you automate tracking tasks and free up time for more important marketing tasks.
If you’ve never used affiliate tracking software, it’s time to catch up. Don’t you wonder why affiliate software is expected to reach a market value of over $30 billion in 2028?
Don’t worry, there’s room for your eCommerce brand, too. Let’s walk through affiliate tracking tool functionalities, how to pick the right one, and examples of tools you can try.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What do affiliate tracking tools do?
- What makes a fantastic affiliate tracking tool?
- 5 of the best free affiliate tracking tools
- Start your affiliate program free today
What do affiliate tracking tools do?
Let’s say you’re a successful children’s educational toy brand. Ecommerce automation helps you track your visitors’ activities on your website.
But how did they get there in the first place?
Affiliate tracking tools automatically track conversions on your website. And conversions look like many different things:
Answering a survey
Sharing something on social media
Clicking a specific link or button
Of course, affiliate marketing tracking tools don’t all look the same. One tool might not catch every conversion from your affiliate marketing campaigns.
Affiliate tracking tools usually include these main capabilities, either one or both:
Coupon or clickless tracking: Affiliate links aren’t feasible for in-person events and some social media posts. Handy coupon codes make it easy for your affiliates to share discounts with potential new customers. Every time a customer purchases something with a coupon code, the affiliate tracking tool records the transaction. This is also known as clickless tracking.
Click tracking: Ever wondered where your customers click once you land on your website? Click tracking shows you where they click, and in some cases, where their cursor moves.
Here’s how click tracking works with Tapfiliate. Once someone clicks an affiliate link to your website, your website triggers a click-tracking script that tracks the click and stores a cookie on the user’s browser. Our reporting functionality shows you these click figures for each landing page:
- Conversion amount
- Commission amount
- MLM commission amount
Tapfiliate landing page tracking
Some click-tracking tools show you heat maps, highlighting every cursor sweep to find out where your customer lingers and what triggers them to exit your website.
But here’s the thing: the multi-billion dollar affiliate marketing industry sees tons of software enter the market each year. How do you identify one that’s innovative, reliable, and helpful for your affiliate marketing business?
We’ll cover some key factors that separate slammin’ affiliate tracking tools from disappointing ones.
What makes a fantastic affiliate tracking tool?
Each affiliate tracking tool has its own appeal. Some might have impeccable real-time reports that meet your every analytical desire. Others might have limited reporting, but make up for it with fantastic customer support. We’ll cover a few must-have features to look out for, but buyer beware:
When sifting through the options, don’t just take the company’s word for their features. Sure, they might have a certain feature or benefit— but how do you know if it’s any good? If they boast high conversion rates, look for case studies to back up their stories. If they rave about their tracking capabilities, check user reviews to get a neutral perspective.
Now that we’ve sorted that caveat, let’s dive into the must-have features of fantastic affiliate platforms:
Easy implementation: Look into the tool’s set-up process. Can you implement the software in a few minutes Or do you need a developer to get up and running? At the very least, look for affiliate program software with great instructional content and stellar customer service.
Real-time tracking and reporting for all affiliate sales: Does the software only record one-off orders at the end of the day? Or does it notify you every time someone makes a purchase with an affiliate link?? Ideally, an affiliate tracking tool tracks sales the moment they happen. Additionally, it should also cover one-off and batch orders. .
Affiliate tracking software should include detailed reports with filters and segmentation to inform business decisions. Actionable insights or no deal. If you can’t figure out how much revenue an affiliate brought you this quarter, the tool won’t help you assess performance. And beyond all the details? An affiliate tracking tool should give you a bird’s eye view of your entire affiliate program.
Tapfiliate reporting dashboard
Want to start an affiliate program? Try all the features free: 👉with a 14-day trial here
Customizable commission rates: Not all affiliate partners are equal. Blanketing every rep in your affiliate network with one commission rate is limiting. Your strongest affiliates feel unappreciated and less motivated to perform well. Look for software that allows flexible commission structures, including one-time commissions for eCommerce businesses and monthly commissions for SaaS campaigns. Tapfiliate has tiered commissions where you can further reward affiliates for reaching milestones, like 100 conversions, for example.
Workflow automation: Affiliate marketing is vital for many SaaS and eCommerce businesses — but we’ll admit it’s full of tedious tasks. The best affiliate software finds ways to make your life easier through workflow automation. Productivity, employee engagement, and improved accountability are nice domino effects.
Performance goal tracking: How would you know if an affiliate reaches a 1,000 conversion milestone? An affiliate tracking platform that tracks revenue goals makes it easier to disperse commissions and bonuses.
Affiliate network: We’ve talked a lot about tracking affiliate performance. But let’s take a few steps back to sourcing affiliates. If you have your tribe — fantastic. If not, you’re tasked with hours of sifting through content and screening potential candidates. Very few affiliate software present users with a connection to an affiliate network, but Tapfiliate is one of them. Our Admitad Partner Network connection offers 100,000 potential affiliates ready to promote your products.
Custom branding: It’s hard to feel at home with new software. That’s why some affiliate marketing platforms allow customizable branding for affiliate links and a customizable interface. You’ll solidify your brand authority across your network and add some flavor to a new piece of your tech stack. Pssst. Tapfiliate is one of them.
Helpful customer support: Many affiliate software companies boast “24/7” or “dedicated” support. The truth is, you won’t know whether that’s true or not until you try them out. An easier way to vet them is to check out reviews. For example, Capterra features tons of reviews praising Tapfiliate’s quick and responsive customer support team.
Free trial: Look for a software solution that believes in their product enough to offer a free trial. Even a 7-day trial is enough to get your feet wet. But we think 14 days is the sweet spot.
Flexible pricing: A flexible affiliate management software will offer at least three tiered pricing plans to best meet your needs. Plus, a healthy relationship is one where you can leave when you want — for affiliate software, that means no cancellation fees.
Easy data export: An affiliate marketing solution might not be capable of working with your data exactly like you need it to. While advanced features should cover extensive, detailed reporting, sometimes we just want to have the data on our own channel. For example, Tapfiliate allows data export through CSV files for:
- Reporting data
- Conversion data
From there, feel free to mold and dissect that data any way you please. Package them into branded company success stories for your next meeting, or keep them in a folder for your offline records. You do you.
Phew! That’s a lot of criteria, but we’re sharing because your business deserves the best. And while all these qualifiers might channel American-Idol-esque judgment? That’s not the case — you should just expect a lot from your affiliate software.
Speaking of software, let’s explore some contenders.
5 of the best free affiliate tracking tools
You don’t just get married at first sight — you go on a couple of dates first. We’ve compiled a few affiliate tracking tools that allow a few dates in the form of free trials. Why not fill up your calendar and put yourself out there by trying out a few? Starting with…
Tapfiliate is a reliable, feature-rich affiliate marketing tool with over 2,000 clients in the eCommerce and SaaS spaces. Our software smooths out every part of your affiliate process, all the way from sourcing and research to revenue tracking and affiliate management.
Pricing: $59 - $149+ per month
Real-time tracking: We’ll track every single purchase, including one-off and batch orders. As for other leads? Just tell us what to look for, and we’ll link the data to the right affiliates.
Performance bonuses: Tapfiliate can track conversion data as well as performance targets, triggering easy bonuses for deserving affiliates. Whether you reach 10 conversions or 100 new purchases, you control which milestones earn affiliates bonuses.
Clickless or cookieless tracking: Got coupon codes? We’ll help you track offline to online purchases and affiliate campaigns with your unique discount codes.
Workflow automation: Trigger emails, webhooks, and affiliate approvals with our rich automations, integrating Zapier to make your affiliate program run as smoothly as possible.
Affiliate network: Access Admitad’s Partner Network of over 100,000+ affiliates to partner with. You’ll see a network carefully vetted and verified affiliates you can trust. The best part? You can work with them in minutes — connect quickly and seamlessly.
Data access: Access your data on our platform any time and export easily through CSV files.
Quality Customer support: We care about our clients and respond as soon as possible to resolve any issues. Just check out our 4.6⁄5 Capterra review and “Customers Love Us” reward from Source Forge.
Customizable interface and branding: Add your mark with custom links or Tapfiliate’s interface with our flexible branding features.
We’re also known for our fraud detection tactics, as well as our pricing flexibility. You can decide between various pricing tiers and cancel anytime.
Sound good? Kick things off with Tapfiliate’s [free 2-week trial!(https://tapfiliate.com/signup/?utm_campaign=affiliate)]
2.Post Affiliate Pro
Image source: Post Affiliate Pro
Post Affiliate Pro is a widely used affiliate management, marketing, and tracking tool in one.
Similar to Tapfiliate, Post Affiliate Pro allows you to create promotional materials like social media images and banners to help promote your offerings. Its extensive tracking features cover sales and leads, campaign management, affiliate commissions and payouts, and of course, affiliate revenue and clicks.
Seems like the only downside is the platform’s unintuitive interface. Some reviewers find it tricky to get the hang of without a software background.
Pricing: $129 - $599 per month
- Flash and HTML banners
- Campaign reports
- Audit logs
- Reports describing top affiliates or locations
- Performance rewards
- Mass payments
- Customizable interface
Image source: Binom homepage
Binom is an affordable click-tracking software that tracks endless affiliate data, from conversions to other high-value metrics like CPA and CPC.
Users praise its user-friendly dashboard and interface, while appreciating its affordable price. Unfortunately, Binom doesn’t have coupon tracking abilities at this time.
Pricing: Free to $69/month
- Click tracking (all clicks)
- Quick reporting and real-time analytics
- Intuitive interface
- Filters and segmentation
Image source: FirstPromoter
This affiliate and referral tracking software is a welcome platform for SaaS companies to track and market referral-based marketing programs. One feature we especially liked was the two-sided report for affiliates and their customers, which helps ensure inclusivity.
Some reviewers note the platform feels outdated and not so user-friendly.
Pricing: $49 to $149+
- Flexible and recurring commissions
- Invoicing for EU companies
- Powerful reporting across 17 data points
- Customizable email automations
- Customizable affiliate dashboard
- Direct URL tracking
- Fraud Protection
Based in Vancouver, Canada, ClickInc has a simple website that boats their personal approach to each client. Its intuitive web interface is suitable for affiliate marketers with limited programming backgrounds, and the platform offers marketing assets like banners and images to enhance affiliate content.
Clickinc has limited reviews online, making it difficult to verify its success among SaaS and eCommerce brands.
Pricing: Starting at $25 per month
- Website traffic tracking
- Organic traffic reports (daily and weekly)
- Coupon management and creation
- Affiliate messaging
- Banners and data feeds
- Customizable commissions
- Campaign tracking
Start your affiliate program free today
Data-loving marketers, to the front! Affiliate tracking tools give you the zest you need to take your affiliate strategy to the next level. No more relying on blind guesses and gut feelings — affiliate tracking software arms you with cold hard data and automation to reach your revenue goals.
Ready to try a free affiliate tracking tool trial? Try Tapfiliate’s 14-day free trial!!