Some bloggers love the challenge of creating their own products and courses.
Other bloggers strive to find the perfect brand ambassadorship.
My one true love as a blogger is affiliate marketing.
It’s the thing that allowed me to finally stop trading hours for dollars.
It’s the opportunity that made me feel that I was finally, truly working for myself.
Many bloggers struggle with affiliate marketing because they throw affiliate offers at their audiences hoping something – anything – sticks.
But even if it does, if you don’t know where the money came from and what made it convert there is no way to capitalize on that success.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliates are paid by businesses for referring leads and sales. It’s performance-based, so the more sales and good leads you refer to the merchant the more you are paid. Because of this, it’s so important that you learn to read the numbers.
With the right information, you can duplicate those results over and over again. You can make what is converting convert even better. Here are four reports that can help increase your affiliate income.
4 Reports To Increase Your Affiliate Income
1. Your Referring URLs
Almost every affiliate network lists the URL referring each lead – somewhere. It can be a little difficult to find this information, but it’s worth the hunt.
When you find out what pages and posts on your site are converting into sales, you will quickly learn what calls to action work best for your audience and which products they are most interested in. Use that information when creating content going forward.
- In CJ, you will need to run a Transaction Report which will list the Click Referring URL.
- In ShareASale, you will find this in the Activity Detail.
Not every lead will have a referring URL available. This could be because they clicked through from an email or free report in which you included your affiliate link. An HTTPS site may not pass referring links.
If you use redirects those can sometimes drop the tracking as well depending on how they are set up. But even with those limitations, it’s well worth the look.
2. Invalid Clicks
A broken link that’s getting clicks is potentially money lost. That’s always bad news. Thankfully, affiliate networks were quick to realize that. Most larger networks now provide lists of these invalid clicks with just a click of the mouse.
- In CJ, you will see a notification on your dashboard of the number of clicks from invalid links. Clicking that link will download a file of the merchant, link ID and referring URL.
- In ShareASale, you will find an Invalid Links Report under your Reports. This report will give you the Merchant, Invalid Reason and Referring URL. Unfortunately, ShareASale only gives you the invalid links for the past 24 hours. Check this one regularly you can’t do it everyday.
- In Impact Radius, the report is called Clicked from Expired Ads.
As you can see, the report names are similar and are provided by most larger networks. This information may not be available with independent, self-managed affiliate programs, but periodically running a scan for broken links on your site may uncover them.
3. Sub IDs
Because you won’t always be able to locate the referring URL, I like adding Sub IDs to my affiliate links. This is especially helpful if, for example, you have a banner ad and a link within your post. Even if your reporting shows the referring URL, you will also be able to see if it’s the image or text link that are making the sales.
I also find Sub IDs are very helpful for those places that won’t show in your referring URLs regardless such as your email newsletters, autoresponders or subscriber freebies. The more information you can get on where your money is coming from the better.
Sub ID are easy to add, most networks have a little spot available when creating your link.
- In ShareASale, you simply add something you’ll remember like “newsletter” or “sidebar” behind “afftrack=” in the HTML.
- In CJ, there is a box in the link builder called SID.
Running reports for your Sub IDs isn’t so easy sometimes, however.
- In CJ, you will again run a Transaction Report which will include Sub ID indicators.
- In ShareASale, you will need to run a Traffic Report > choose a specific merchant > Group Report by Afftrack Value.
If you are using one of the big networks outside of these two, Rae Hoffman has a great tutorial here.
4. Your Popular Posts
Every quarter or so, I export a list of my top 50 posts from Google Analytics. I spend a little time going through those that haven’t been looked at in a while to make sure they are properly monetized and up to date. If they are seasonally relevant, I get them pushed out through my social media channels again. This tip is single-handedly how I took my affiliate income to another level.
It isn’t about promoting a million offers hoping something sticks. It isn’t about pushing affiliate products until you have pushed your audience away. It’s about making sure every piece of content you publish is as good as it gets.
As a rule, he or she who has the most information will have the greatest success in life. -Benjamin Disraeli
Blogging blindly isn’t a good path to success. You need to know where you are coming from to know where you are going and how to get there. You also need to know when things aren’t optimized to their utmost potential.
Start digging into your reports and analytics to see what areas for improvement you can uncover. Check back with us and let us know what you found and any positive results your experienced from the fixes.