It’s nearing 5 p.m., but your work as a brand affiliate program manager isn’t done yet. You still have affiliate applications to review, links to track, and monthly performance reports to analyze. Oh, and don’t forget — your marketing director asked you to disperse bonuses to the highest-performing affiliates once you’re done.
Sounds like it’s time to factor some affiliate tracking software into the budget. These platforms help brands like yours manage and scale their affiliate marketing programs.
A leading platform in the industry? Refersion. We’ll walk through this affiliate solution’s tracking capabilities, key features, pricing, and reviews. Then, we’ll present Tapfiliate as an alternative to Refersion for brands that want to supercharge traffic and conversions via their affiliate program!
Refersion is an affiliate tracking tool that’s been around since 2013. They specifically cater to ecommerce businesses, especially those at the enterprise level with large annual revenues. This also makes sense when we consider Refersion’s affiliate discovery features, which links ecommerce brands to some of the industry’s most premium publishers (high traffic and recognition).
While Refersion offers a lot of the standard affiliate tracking features that other software offers, they add ecommerce-specific tools like an integrated product feed and certified Shopify Plus features for brands with larger affiliate programs. Of course, they offer integrations with all major ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce and BigCommerce.
Refersion offers affiliate recruitment capabilities via its marketplace directory of over 3.6 million affiliates. The platform makes it easy to seek out your ideal publishers via an intuitive keyword search bar. You can type in your ideal industry, publisher type, or individual affiliate names themselves to start recruiting for your program.
One snag — Refersion only offers access to their partnership marketplace to Enterprise clients. Aka, you’ll need to spend the most money on a custom-tiered plan at a higher price point than the professional or business plans.
Refersion has a super intuitive dashboard where you can view conversion data by affiliate (display photo), commission tier type, and total earnings. You can also view “VIP” affiliates with a small banner distinguishing them from the others in each row.
If you want to change commission tiers for different affiliates, Refersion enables this via tiered structures and bonus rewards (the latter only for enterprise clients). Other flexible commission features include rate by product, new or existing customers, and subscriptions.
The most significant management feature for ecommerce businesses is the product feed. Refersion lets you automate product feed data and helps affiliates easily promote specific products to help you sell overstock or launch promotions to your audiences. Brands can also leverage guided onboarding to smooth out affiliate transition, though this is only available to enterprise clients.
Refersion affiliate tracking
This affiliate solution uses link attribution and first-party tracking to help you visualize which affiliates are bringing you traffic and conversions. You can use Refersion’s tracking features to keep tabs on conversions based on SKU (product type), coupon codes (clickless tracking), or specific creative assets.
Most customers cite satisfaction with Refersion’s affiliate tracking capabilities.
Refersion’s integration with Zapier helps you power 2,000+ integrations, which is a huge enabler of customization. On top of that, Refersion offers customizable commission rates based on product, customer status (new or existing), and subscription purchases. However, reviews cite limited customization when it comes to reports and analytics.
Unfortunately, customers can’t access all of Refersion’s potential when it comes to reporting. The subscription tiers specify that only enterprise clients can benefit from custom reporting, though this review by a Verified User in Marketing and Advertising implies that you might still be able to access those reports once you check in with a customer support rep:
Refersion offers 30+ easy integrations with all major ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud. On top of that, Refersion’s Zapier integration helps brands customize their workflows and integrate with even more apps. If you don’t see your tech stack listed in integrations, Refersion’s RESTful API helps you create custom ones.
Refersion boasts unlimited affiliate partners for every tier in their subscription package. However, the three tiers speak to the maximum tracked conversions each month for each brand. Here’s what each tier looks like in terms of pricing and features:
Refersion largely serves large-scale ecommerce brands across a wide range of niches like health and wellness, beauty, retail apparel, jewelry, and food products. Clients showcased in Refersion’s case study page bring in tons of revenue per year, ranging from $1 million to $50 million.
Here are some deets on example customers:
Most of Refersion’s clients are US-based but have global brick-and-mortar locations along with an extensive ecommerce website.
Refersion has average customer ratings on multiple review sites. For example, G2 shows an average 3.5/5-star rating. Common positive notes include satisfaction with Refersion’s tracking capabilities, user-friendly interface, and super responsive customer support team. Unfortunately, most of G2’s reviews contain more negative points, such as Refersion’s expensive price point for standard features, limited reporting capabilities, limited affiliate link customization, and regular glitches. Some customers can’t filter the reports they need and end up waiting a while to receive custom reports from the customer support team, if at all.
TrustRadius shows an average rating up 7.5/10 stars for Refersion. Positives also cover an excellent and responsive customer support team and an intuitive interface. However, negative points seem to consistently surround Refersion’s glitches and reporting issues.
Capterra has a higher 4.⅖-star average review, but some customers mention issues with the platform’s automatically approved affiliates. Specifically, Refersion doesn’t catch fraudulent affiliates that end up losing brands money.
Think about the gaps in your affiliate program and how an affiliate software can fill them. You might want to expand your program to higher-value affiliates with wider social media followings. Or, you could be interested in coupon code tracking to see if your affiliate discounts actually result in substantial conversions and traffic. Many brands also use affiliate tracking software for their real-time reporting and data visualizations to strategize.
It’s vital to understand your brand’s needs for your affiliate program before investing in a software. Without clear needs and objectives, you’ll likely take longer to leverage an affiliate software and waste money in the process.
Time to hit Google. You might start with niche-specific queries like “Affiliate software for ecommerce shop” or “affiliate tracking for course creators.” This is a great way to hone in on software with similar clients to your business.
Of course, you can always check leading affiliate industry publications for recommendations, too. Always plug in top contenders into review sites to see how they perform in practice, as you’ll see insights there that you won’t find on individual brand websites.
What capability is your existing affiliate marketing operation missing? For most brands, it’s link tracking and attribution. But you might also want a more streamlined way to communicate with affiliates, disperse commissions, or engage affiliates with rewards. We recommend looking at each software’s features, but don’t just glance at the subscription list of features — go into individual web pages to get a fuller picture.
Additionally, you can’t take each listed feature at face value. Dive deeper into the capabilities of a particular feature. For example, two different affiliate marketing software might both offer affiliate tracking. But the devil’s in the details — do they both offer various types of tracking? Or does one only offer link tracking? What happens if your potential customer clears their cache? That means the link tracking feature becomes useless for your affiliate to capture commission and for you to capture insights. That’s why Tapfiliate offers both click and clickless tracking.
Your affiliate software should be easy to use for you, your team, and your affiliates. Otherwise, you won’t reap all the benefits a software promises. For example, real-time reporting and segmented insights won’t mean much if you don’t know how to toggle and customize reports on the platform. Instead, you’ll just have a bunch of features and potential you can’t actually monetize. Similarly, an affiliate communication platform doesn’t mean much if your affiliates are too confused and unmotivated to use it.
Our advice? See what both brands and affiliates say about a software’s ease of use on trusted review sites and in-depth reviews like this article.
Can’t live without Zapier? Then you better make sure your affiliate software has a Zapier integration (Tapfiliate does). Most affiliate software boast a wide range of integrations, so you should review each one and compare them against your tech stack.
If you don’t see a particular app listed in a software’s integrations, look for an API to implement custom integrations. You can also look at customer ratings to see if the software loads slower or has any functional issues with an individual integration to help make your decision.
Affiliate management software ranges in price and subscription tiers. You might pay as low as $100 or as high as $10,000 for a specific software plan.
Consider the features you receive with each tier and compare pricing across different platforms for those same features. Additionally, make sure the features you’re paying for are paramount to your affiliate program. You’ll usually find customer sentiments about pricing on review sites. Notice what they say about the plan they’re paying for and assess whether you’ll find it more or less worth it.
Free trial is the bread and butter of any affiliate software research process. Why? Because pictures and video tutorials aren’t the same as actually trying a platform. Testing out a tracking solution will help you assess value for your affiliate program.
Our take? A platform that doesn’t offer a free trial shows that the company isn’t confident enough in their offerings. So why would you take a risk on them?
Claim your 👉 14-day free trial with Tapfiliate!
Ever been the victim of fake traffic and meaningless clicks? There’s nothing worse than paying an affiliate for clicks and leads when those clicks are fabricated from that same affiliate’s computer. That’s just one of the many ways brands experience fraud and lost revenue in their affiliate programs.
The best affiliate software safeguards you from that risk with fraud prevention features. This might look like fake traffic scans, encrypted data, and GDPR compliance.
There’s nothing worse than pausing a task while waiting for a customer support representative to get back to you. Talk about time waste! The best affiliate software has a 24/7 customer chat option to help you resolve issues quickly.
Some providers even offer dedicated affiliate managers to clients on higher-tier plans, which is worth looking into if you’re looking to scale with data insights and extra support.
Track clicks, affiliate links, or coupon codes for offline sales in real-time through Tapfiliate’s conversion tracking feature. This covers every type of purchase, from batch orders to one-time sales.
As long as that click or conversion happens in your toggle-able cookie window, we’ll track it. What’s more, we’ll lay it all out for you via visually appealing data visualizations and custom reports. You can use powerful segmentation and filters to drill down into the insights you find most valuable to your program, whether that means exploring conversions by location, product, or affiliate.
Selling fitness courses? You might crave a Teachable integration — and we’ve got it, along with 30+ other plug-and-play integrations you can implement in as little as a few clicks. Our integrations cover all the popular customer relationship management apps, email marketing tools, payment processors, and ecommerce platforms that you need to manage your day-to-day with ease.
Don’t see a tool in your tech stack? Create your own integration via our REST API.
It’s not easy to find affiliates that you trust enough to represent your brand. But a fab place to start is with the people who already know and love your products.
That’s why Tapfiliate’s affiliate recruitment capabilities center around an automated Referral Program. Monetize the power of word-of-mouth marketing and empower your customers to promote your brand with shareable referral codes and drive sales and revenue in the process.
If you’re looking for ways to expand your affiliate program, researching new potential publishers can feel intimidating and time-consuming. Tapfiliate’s access to the Admitad Partner Network takes away that burden.
Browse through a vetted list of world-class publishers of all types, from coupon websites and comparison apps to niche influencers and bloggers. This is available to all of our customers, no matter their subscription tier.
Commissions aren’t as simple as a flat fee bonus at the end of the month. Why? Because you can’t paint all types of affiliates and their subsequent performance with the same brush. Tapfiliate offers flexible commissions to help you engage your affiliates and maximize your program:
✅Lifetime commissions: This rewards affiliates with commission on every purchase that their lead gives your brand.
✅Recurring commissions: For SaaS and subscription-based brands that want to reward affiliates throughout the entire length of a customer’s subscription.
✅Percentage-based commissions: Customizable for different affiliates, too!
✅Flat-fee commissions: Keep things simple!
✅Product commissions: Special commission rates based on SKUs — great for selling out overstock in your inventory.
On top of that, you can add custom triggers to increase commissions if an affiliate reaches a certain performance milestone. For example, if your top influencer affiliate brings in over 2,000 conversions one month, you can engage them further with a higher commission. Or, you can trigger a performance bonus!
Tapfiliate knows how much time goes into managing an affiliate program. That’s why we made it our business to lighten your load as much as possible. The best way to do that is automation.
We’ve leveraged that technology in pretty much every affiliate task, from auto-approving affiliates and custom triggers for commissions to automated workflows via our Zapier integration.
Don’t take our word for it. Try Tapfilate for free for 14-days.
We took extra care to ensure our plug-and-play user interface was as intuitive as possible. Still, we want our clients to feel completely supported in the event that they can’t figure out a feature on their own.
That’s why we offer a three-pronged customer support arsenal for you to leverage at any time. Check out our extensive knowledge base, complete with walk-throughs and helpful guides that answer common customer inquiries. And if you still need support, take comfort in out 24/7 live chat function where you can speak to our skilled team of customer support experts.
But don’t take our word for it — check out our countless positive reviews on Capterra, many of which include customer satisfaction with our customer service team!
Tapfiliate offers more competitive pricing options than Refersion, which makes it more appealing to small businesses. Many of the features you can get with Tapfiliate’s Essential and Pro plans (maximum $89 per month) are only accessible on Refersion at the Enterprise level, such as bonus rewards for affiliates.
Both Tapfiliate and Refersion offer conversion tracking based on product, affiliate, campaign, and creative asset. Tapfiliate also offers customizable cookie windows and plug-in conversion goals to help you assess progress.
Additionally, Tapfiliate offers much more wiggle room in the number of conversions you can track. Refersion’s basic and business plans allow up to 50 and 200 monthly conversions tracked, respectively. Only the enterprise plan allows for unlimited tracked conversions. On the other hand, Tapfiliate’s essential (basic) plan allows for 2,000 tracked conversions monthly, and our Pro plan allows 10,000 tracked conversions.
Affiliate program management:
Refersion offers lots of ease to brands in creating custom campaigns across unlimited affiliates and partnerships. The platform’s easy-to-use dashboard helps you view performance metrics at a glance, while paying out flexible commissions based on affiliate performance. Another positive for ecommerce businesses is Refersion’s automated product feed data.
Tapfiliate’s program management includes custom campaigns and creatives to give you and your affiliates ample creative authority to tailor every piece of content to appeal to their audiences. Plus, we offer more commission options to help you get the best value out of each dollar spent while being inclusive of many types of businesses. For example, we offer lifetime commissions to incentivize affiliates to nurture strong customer relationships, and recurring commissions for subscription-based businesses. Finally? Award affiliates for reaching important conversion milestones with performance bonuses on our Pro plan.
Both platforms offer a Zapier integration to implement endless workflows into your affiliate program.
Tapfiliate and Refersion both have solid customer ratings regarding customer support options and responsiveness. However, Tapfiliate offers a live chat function for 24/7 support to all tier subscriptions, including our most basic tier at $119 per month. Refersion doesn’t offer 24/7 live chat functions to all clients, only preserving that vital support option for the more expensive enterprise plan.
Tapfiliate has a slightly higher average rating on Capterra at 4.5 stars, while Refersion’s sits at 4.2. Both platforms receive praise for link-tracking capabilities and responsive customer support. However, many reviews cite frustration with Refersion’s limited reporting capabilities, specifically the fact that they can’t generate custom reports themselves. Additionally, Tapfiliate doesn’t have any reviews about glitches, but Refersion does.
Refersion is an affiliate marketing platform that primarily serves ecommerce businesses with large annual revenue. The platform offers affiliate discovery and recruitment functionalities, link tracking and attribution, payment processing, flexible commissions, and data insights to brands with ambassador, influencer, and affiliate programs.
Refersion is priced higher than other similar software tiers in the industry. Plus, customers regularly complain about glitches, limited reporting functionality, and high price point for the service they receive.
Refersion is an affiliate marketing software that caters to ecommerce brands. Here are a few other competitors in the affiliate software space:
Looking for an alternative to Refersion? Take a look at our alternatives page.
Want to start tracking affiliate sales? Take advantage of our free 14-day trial to see if Tapfiliate is a good fit for your business.
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.