How does automatic tracking work in affiliate programs?

Affiliate Marketing

Influencer Marketing

Affiliate program tracking

Have you found the perfect influencer or publisher for your affiliate marketing program? You’ll need to keep tabs on their progress — that’s where tracking affiliate programs comes in.

When an affiliate signs up for your program, you’ll give them an affiliate link with a unique ID. Every time a customer purchases a product with that link, you’ll know which affiliate led them to you, be it through influencer campaigns, email marketing, coupon sites, or other avenues.

But how do you track all your affiliate links, especially if you have several players in your affiliate network? Of course, you could jot them down — but affiliate tracking software is much more convenient.

Benefits of setting up tracking for affiliate programs

Affiliate marketing isn’t going anywhere. Similarweb found about 454,000 searches for affiliate marketing in April 2022, with similar numbers in the leading months.

What does the upward interest have to do with tracking affiliate programs?
Well, it could explain why so many eCommerce brands are doing it. One report found that 70.9% of brands tracked coupon codes and referral links from affiliate campaigns to measure progress. Similarly, 71% tracked sales and ROI from influencer campaigns — a 6% increase from 2020.

But what’s everyone tracking, exactly?

Pretty much every customer action or effect that results from your affiliate program. When it comes to any affiliate campaign, brands track:

Conversions and sales: Conversion tracking is vital for your affiliate program. You’ll learn how many customers complete an action on your site, including signing up for a trial newsletter or purchasing a product. Of course, tracking sales and revenue is extremely valuable to your marketing strategy.

Platform performance: Do you have any social media influencer affiliates? You might explore which platforms bring you the most traffic — Instagram? TikTok? Facebook?

Engagement or clicks: Website tracking might include customer clicks and scrolling across a page.

Offline to online transactions: Brands work with affiliates that attend in-person events or publisher partners that still use paper, like magazines — both these partnerships bring offline customers to your website through coupon codes.

But you could also track website traffic from certain affiliates, engagement, and more.

The benefits are clear:

Distinguish high-performing affiliates: If you’re shelling out 5%, 10%, or even 25% in affiliate commissions, you should see the fruits of your spending. Don’t worry, the bigger expense isn’t a bad thing — far from it. Sometimes, you have to spend to earn, and that’s 100X more true when it comes to a quality affiliate program.

Affiliates that take up more of your budget bring you either lots of customers or a few big-spending customers. Cha-ching! If you wanna keep them, you might consider giving them a bonus or commission increase. Tapfiliate can help you reward affiliates that generate the most affiliate income. Automate rewards partners with unique, customizable bonuses when they reach certain conversion or revenue goals.

Optimize your strategy: Data helps you make better business decisions. Automatic traffic helps you embrace your money-making campaigns and improve poor-performing ones.

Compare revenue and clicks: Did you ever think the affiliate bringing you the most traffic could bring in the least revenue? It happens. Some affiliates are great at building hype but not so great at attracting the spenders. Similarly, you might notice some affiliates bringing you the same revenue as others, only with half the traffic. These insights are great for different reasons. A click-heavy affiliate is still a great way to promote brand awareness. But if you have too many of them? It might be time to pivot your strategy.

Get a bird’s eye view of your affiliate program: It’s hard to keep up with hundreds of promo codes, tracking links, and different affiliates. How does one low-revenue month look against your entire affiliate program? You need to see the bigger picture of ROI, revenue, and commissions — tracking affiliate programs helps you do that with an affiliate dashboard and intuitive interface.

Now, how do you get started?

How to set up automatic tracking for affiliate programs

The only way to automate affiliate tracking is with affiliate tracking software.

Trust us; we employ tons of experts with technical knowledge who live and breathe affiliate marketing, but they’re not tracking the daily minutia. Instead, they’re adding a human touch to our tech. Our software carefully collects data, and our insights inform our clients’ strategies.

Affiliate tracking software transforms your affiliate marketing campaigns. But how does it work?

To track affiliate activity, you’ll need to bridge affiliate tracking software with your shopping website backend or payment provider.

That’s where integrations come in. These connections between software and applications clear a path for seamless data sharing. Integrations help you streamline workflows, minimize errors, and most importantly? Make your affiliate marketing campaigns more flexible and efficient.

You’ll usually need to set these integrations up yourself, but it’s usually easy. For example, you just need a few clicks to integrate Shopify with Tapfiliate. But if you’re looking for custom carts, you might need support from a web developer.

Pssst. Intuitive processes are always best, but a developer could help you open even more doors for innovation. Check out our guide on picking a developer for eCommerce affiliate marketing.

Don’t worry — you’re working with first-party data. When third-party data eventually phases out (Google keeps delaying it), you won’t have to worry about tracking and data accuracy.

Plus, because it’s first party, the data belongs to you.

All integrated? Great. After installing the tracking codes, you can invite affiliates to your software and start automating your sales tracking.

The great thing about automated software like Tapfiliate is that your affiliates will get their own login area where they can see their own data, access any assets you want them to promote, and see their sales come in in real-time.

We recommend that before you invite your network, put yourself in their shoes and sign up as an affiliate. Explore how it feels and create a test transaction to make sure everything’s working properly.

Look for sales in your advertiser or affiliate account — they should appear in real-time.

Now, all you have to do is pick the right tech.

Best automatic affiliate program tracking software

Let’s explore some of the market’s top automatic affiliate program tracking software, starting with yours truly. We’ll cover key features, pricing, and more about these affiliate tracking tools.

1. Tapfiliate

Tapfiliate affiliate tracking

Here at Tapfiliate, we lead our affiliate marketing efforts with two goals in mind. First, to optimize your affiliate marketing strategy and make you money. Second? To help people enjoy advertising again.

We’re especially skilled in scaling affiliate programs for eCommerce (including dropshipping) and SaaS businesses, but we work with business owners from all verticals.

From customizable, personalized dashboards to robust and accurate tracking, our all-in-one platform is your personal organizer, project manager, and performance strategist. Curious about which affiliates bring you the most customers? You can identify and reward them easily through our affiliate tracking software.

Pricing: $59 – $149+ per month

Key features:

Real-time coupon code and direct-link tracking: Our robust tracking automatically links every purchase to your affiliate partners.

Sales tracking: See sales performance easily on your affiliate dashboard.

Affiliate network: Our Admitad Partner Network’s affiliate pool helps you connect with over 100,000 potential affiliates.

Performance bonuses (partner rewards): Adjust conversion tracking targets and revenue milestones to automatically award affiliates with bonuses.

Track influencer campaigns: Coupon codes enable clickless tracking, helping you monitor coupon code redemptions from influencer campaigns — a fab, essential feature for IG, TikTok, and Facebook marketing.

Automated workflows: Triggered emails and webhooks help you automate your life and carve more time for important things (like that much-needed golf trip).

Offline to online purchases: Working with an affiliate on an event? Or perhaps your target audience is a sucker for that industry magazine. Bring your offline customer base online seamlessly with unique, clickless coupon codes. We can track them, too!

Want to start using automatic tracking software? ?get a 14-day free trial with Tapfiliate

2. Voluum


Voluum is an ad tracking and conversion tracking software accessible through the cloud. Some reviewers don’t praise it as a dedicated affiliate marketing software; however, it’s a fantastic choice for various ad campaigns.

It integrates seamlessly with Google Ads, TikTok, and curiously enough, dedicated iGaming affiliate platforms. We especially like its automated bid adjustments and campaign rules! Display your findings with clean, real-time reporting features.

Pricing: $499 – $1,999 per month

Core features:

  • Affiliate marketing dashboard
  • Custom conversion tracking
  • Web visit tracking
  • Workspaces
  • Trend analysis
  • Real-time reporting

3. Everflow


Everflow categorizes its services in eCommerce channels, B2B partnerships, and ad networks. This affiliate software is especially competent for click tracking, zooming in on web visitor time on your site, and distinguishing between true engagement and suspicious clicks.

Everflow uses direct linking to track multiple marketing channel performance and record revenue from specific affiliates. Users praise its accurate reporting and reactive platform but lament its occasional slow load times.

Pricing: Starts at $750/month

Essential Features:

  • Instant cart setups
  • Click level details
  • Click-to-conversion time reporting
  • Partner rewards
  • Automated reports
  • Engagement event tracking

4. Cake


Led by principles of simplicity and innovation, CAKE is a leading affiliate marketing solution active in 50+ countries. The company guarantees 99.9% uptime, deep custom targeting, and real-time affiliate attribution to help you measure success.

One downside is its limited customizability for detailed reporting. Some users report extensive partner-specific and day-specific reporting, but can’t adequately generate custom reports across multiple affiliates.

Pricing: Not listed

Core features:

  • Location targeting
  • Fraud prevention
  • Real-time reporting
  • Two-way APIs
  • Click and conversion caps
  • Product-based tracking
  • Discount code tracking

5. Tune


Tune specializes in tracking affiliate programs for financial and subscription-based businesses. You can use it to automate endless tasks in your affiliate marketing strategy, from payment processing and performance optimization to fraud prevention.

Higher-tier plans for this affiliate management software get you a dedicated customer success manager and useful time-to-action (click-to-conversion) reporting. However, the company isn’t as experienced in supporting eCommerce and influencer campaigns as others, like Tapfiliate.

Pricing: $599-$1,500+ per month

Core features:

  • Funnel metrics
  • Real-time reporting
  • Advanced targeting
  • Desktop and mobile tracking
  • Offer optimization

6. OSI affiliate

OSI affiliate

OSI Affiliate has many experienced use cases, from eCommerce businesses and SaaS and medical and real estate industries. This affiliate marketing platform makes it easy for your affiliates to share custom social graphics and boost engagement — just keep track with unique coupon codes!

They lose points for unintuitiveness, though. Some reviewers report a high learning curve.

Pricing: $47-$97/month

Core features:

  • Easy customer referral marketing tracking
  • Smart rewards
  • Discount codes
  • Advanced reporting
  • Email templates
  • Social media sharing
  • Custom web pop-ups

7. Refersion


Refersion helps brands create customized links for affiliates for easy tracking. Unfortunately, users don’t have much autonomy in generating similarly customizable reports, with one reviewer citing having to contact a Refersion representative for specific reports.

Its biggest benefit? The platform is extremely user-friendly, with visually appealing graphics and data visualizations.

Pricing: Starts at $99

Advanced features:

  • Tiered and customizable commission structures
  • Key performance tracking
  • First-party tracking
  • SEO link building
  • Individualized affiliate dashboards
  • Robust reporting by campaign, product, and creative

8. Impact


Impact features impressive, comprehensive tracking for every type of conversion — email marketing signups, app installations, subscription upgrades, and affiliate traffic.

But you might not want to rely on the platform for sourcing affiliates. While there’s an affiliate discovery feature, reviewers cite the partner options as “low-quality,” with minimal revenue increases.

Pricing: Not listed

Advanced features:

  • Branded features
  • Multi-layered tracking
  • Event, channel, and device tracking
  • Cookie and non-cookie tracking for accurate affiliate attribution

9. Affise

Affise boasts an impressive 98% customer satisfaction rate, helping businesses leverage partnerships for profit. Customers can easily track campaigns and test new strategies with Affise’s insights.

The company’s detailed reporting includes click, impression, and conversion tracking — and that umbrellas down to C2S, Google Parallel, cookieless, promo code, and S2S tracking. Talk about comprehensive! But the downsides are limited event tracking and minor bugs, according to some reviewers.

Pricing: $500 – $1,500 per month

Core features:

  • Promo code tracking
  • Conversion tracking
  • Click tracking
  • Flexible targeting settings

Get started with automatic tracking today

Tracking affiliate programs isn’t a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have for your digital marketing strategy. You can’t scale without understanding which affiliates bring you revenue and traffic, and how your hard-earned income is being spent.

Plus, you’ll become more confident in your business with the immense awareness and knowledge you’ll learn about your customers.

You’re not just looking for basic affiliate link trackers — your customers and affiliates demand more appeal, which you can only offer through the valuable insights tracking software can offer you.

Ready to get started with tracking affiliate programs? Tapfiliate has a 14-day trial waiting for you to redeem. Start your 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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