View Poll Results: How are you using analytics in your affiliate efforts?

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  • I have some tracking installed, but I rarely look at it.

    6 17.14%
  • I study my traffic closely to see where it comes from, but I don't know where it goes.

    12 34.29%
  • I track outbound clicks to merchants, but I can't determine what traffic buys as opposed to just visits.

    10 28.57%
  • I have a method to marry up sales data from my merchants/networks with my own analytics. I know almost everything.

    6 17.14%
  • I don't use any tracking at all.

    1 2.86%
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  1. #1
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    How much are you using Analytics to drive success?
    I was curious as to what the state of affairs is for affiliates using analytics to check on what works on their websites, and what doesn't. Just a brief poll so I can get my head around it.
    Kevin Webster
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    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  2. #2
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Be advised that this is a public poll: other users can see the choice(s) you selected.
    Kevin, I don't know what others may think, but I think that if you make that poll pivate (anonymous), you may get more people voting on it...

    For example, these three questions:
    but I rarely look at it.
    I know almost everything.
    I don't use any tracking at all.


    I don't think it's a good idea to tell everybody on the net that you personally do any of those three things... (think about the many crooks out there)...

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I'll see if I can get it changed to a private poll.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  4. #4
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Interesting. I actually double checked that before posting.... Thanks Sal. Wanted it Private
    Kevin Webster
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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador meadowmufn's Avatar
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    I have a pretty decent custom coded tracking system, but there are a few holes I need to figure out how to patch up. I often get sales that slip through without tracking IDs. I know why, but coming up with a solution is tricky.

    I do have a system to marry up the data, but I wouldn't say I know everything. Far from it. It could definitely use some improvement.

    That said, I don't pay nearly enough attention to analytics as I should. I pay enough attention to them to not get myself into trouble on the very few PPC campaigns I run. LOL.
    -Don't criticize anyone til you've walked a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and have their shoes.
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  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Okay, it's now a private poll.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I have a home-grown system where I track sessions on my site, then pass the session ID in the affiliate link (using SID on CJ, afftrack on SAS, etc.). Since the networks report on those IDs, I can track it from start to finish. I can match up sales all the way back to the referring site, keywords, item clicked, time spent on site, etc. You can get a real wealth of information that way.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  8. #8
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    I think I'm pretty basic. I can see where the traffic is coming from and to what pages etc. and then I check the stats the networks give me to see clicks, sales etc. I know I probably should have something that tracks click outs as well to compare them to what the networks have.

  9. #9
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    @Trust "Should" is relative. If you show a strong ROI for your efforts, it doesn't matter today. What you might struggle with is if things start to dry up down the road (and I hope they don't). You won't have a comparitive set of data to work against from the days when "things were great." As an affiliate, I'm not much further along than you. I do a much better job in lead gen and e-commerce.

    @Michael: Awesome. Home grown is beyond the skill set of a good percentage of modern affiliates though. But it's what we should be doing.
    Kevin Webster
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    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  10. #10
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    While we don't have a lot of responses here, I think the networks should take note of the results thus far.

    What we're seeing is as I expected. Affiliates (as a whole) are really struggling to understand which of their website traffic is actually purchasing. Therefore, they are probably struggling to improve conversion results.

    I'm sure here, as almost everywhere, that the 80/20 rule applies. Bigger affiliates have the wherewithal to understand their success moreso than do the bloggers and fledgling affiliates.

    My question becomes this: With API's flying around from analytics software and networks, why hasn't someone stepped to the plate and delivered a product that would benefit both affiliates and their merchant partners?

    In fact, why aren't networks using the Google Analytics API on behalf of their affiliates to drive more sales?

    Isn't it in YOUR best interest also?
    Kevin Webster
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    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador
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    "What we're seeing is as I expected. Affiliates (as a whole) are really struggling to understand which of their website traffic is actually purchasing. Therefore, they are probably struggling to improve conversion results."

    I don't know about that. What is it do you think I'm not getting from the networks, specifically?

    "In fact, why aren't networks using the Google Analytics API on behalf of their affiliates to drive more sales?"

    Please no, let's get off Google's teet. There's got to be something else out there.

  12. #12
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Eh, I don't have to use Google, but let's face facts: it's very commonly used.

    To my point Trust, I think we need to look at a larger affiliate community now. Especially if you're SAS or Avantlink. What kind of real programming background do you think most of their affiliates have? I'm talking sign up numbers, not revenue numbers in this case.

    There's a vast list of potential publishers out there running on Wordpress and Widgets. I think that affiliate marketing needs those publishers. And I think that good analytics will help them to succeed. Them being the bloggers and the small networks.
    Kevin Webster
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  13. #13
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Oh, more specifically on your question. You can probably tell what pages convert well. But can you tell exactly what visitors?
    Kevin Webster
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    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  14. #14
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    Can't you just compare the time of the sale to when they were on your site? Thinking more, not very accurate if it's on a page with a lot of traffic.

    And what does this give me? If I have a sale from somebody from Florida vs. somebody from Washington, or 2PM vs. 9:30AM etc.

    Like I said, I never got that deep into it, I'm trying to figure out what this will give me?

    Most of the times I can see what links the sale came from, what page, what time, sometimes the specific products purchased from a simple text link etc. Trying to figure out what else I need?

  15. #15
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Can't you just compare the time of the sale to when they were on your site? Thinking more, not very accurate if it's on a page with a lot of traffic.

    And what does this give me? If I have a sale from somebody from Florida vs. somebody from Washington, or 2PM vs. 9:30AM etc.

    Like I said, I never got that deep into it, I'm trying to figure out what this will give me?

    Most of the times I can see what links the sale came from, what page, what time, sometimes the specific products purchased from a simple text link etc. Trying to figure out what else I need?
    Sure you could. In the case of Avantlink and SAS though (and maybe other networks), I'm not getting IP information or click timing. Just the time that the merchant reported the sale. Correct me if I'm missing something.

    If I am missing something, it's buried.

    And if we're simply using Page Conversion metrics, it doesn't really tell us anything about where that traffic came from. If you converted a sale on your Blue Widgets page, the traffic may well have come in on Red Bumplestumples keywords.

    I just think we need to start making it easier for affiliates to understand what works. Personally, I'm not satisfied to just know that my Blue Widgets page drove $5,447 in revenue this month. I'd rather know why it was that much, and further, why it wasn't $25,000 based on traffic volume.

    Merchants are asking affiliates to take all the risk. And they get better data than affiliates do. To me, that's a gap that needs closing.
    Kevin Webster
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  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    I can't even find out with some merchants what the products were that got the sale. I'd like as much info as possible (umm and to learn how to analyze it to be able to improve of course )

    AvantLink I think provides the best info of all the networks and some of the independents don't really have anything.

  17. #17
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    "I'm not getting IP information or click timing. Just the time that the merchant reported the sale. Correct me if I'm missing something."

    With CJ, they have Event Date and Posting Date, Event Date being when the sale actually took place. Good thing about this thread, reminded me of the product reports CJ has - http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...hlight=product

    Forgot about that one, need to use it more.

    "I can't even find out with some merchants what the products were that got the sale."

    Was posting, when you made your post. You can with a lot of merchants at CJ, at Linkshare, at Amazon, doesn't matter what link the sale come from. I use mainly text links to the home page and can see the exact item people are buying.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador meadowmufn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I have a home-grown system where I track sessions on my site, then pass the session ID in the affiliate link (using SID on CJ, afftrack on SAS, etc.). Since the networks report on those IDs, I can track it from start to finish. I can match up sales all the way back to the referring site, keywords, item clicked, time spent on site, etc. You can get a real wealth of information that way.
    That's along the same lines as what I have, but I don't keep all my links in a database, so I have missed putting session IDs in a few of them that convert. I need to track those down.
    -Don't criticize anyone til you've walked a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and have their shoes.
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  19. #19
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    With CJ, they have Event Date and Posting Date, Event Date being when the sale actually took place.
    That assumes a session based sale to make the analytics worth it for most affiliates.

    On my kayak fishing blog, I usually have at least a three day tracking gap. And that breaks the metric you're talking about there.

    Has anyone (AffiliateTip, Jangro, etc) put up numbers on average click to sale lag recently? If it's not a session sale, everyone but MC and Meadow and other programming based affiliates are missing out big time. That's a lot of sales, and a lot of bad science on the affiliate end.
    Kevin Webster
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  20. #20
    Half a Bubble Off Plumb RemodelingGuy's Avatar
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    I gotta tell ya Kev,

    This whole darned Analytics thing is driving me freaking crazy.

    I've really put in the effort the last few weeks, since you got your forum, trying to get this thing to hummmmm.

    As well as a million other things that are making my brain hurt..

    I think I'm getting freaking DUMBER everytime I change or add something to get a different "custom" result that I think I want.

    I've got about a years worth of stats with Google Analytics stats to work with, so it's not something that I can't get some targeted reults with, but *^%*%*&%)*%%%, it just ticks me off.

    Write an Analytics eBook for Idiots and I'll buy it.

    I think I just need someone to hold my hand and start at the beginning.

    Sad, but true.

    Could also use a ..........

    Twitter for Idiots.

    Creating an eBook for Idiots....

    Jimmy McDonald - Your Local Hard Working RemodelingGuy ( & SprinklerGuy - & GarageGuy )
    StartRemodeling.com .... MySprinklerGuy.com .... MyGarageGuy.com ....
    We're Bettering YOUR Life by Improving Where YOU Live It ...
    Do What You LOVE & LOVE What You Do! ....

  21. #21
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Actually, RMG, some of that stuff is doable with Advanced Segmentation and Custom Reports without delving into the ^%$ stuff.

    Start a thread on what you want to see in reporting, and I'll see if I can find an easier way to do it.
    Kevin Webster
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  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Awwh don't feel bad RemodelingGuy you're not the only one. You're not gettin dumber....is just somethin a lil bit new to ya that's takin a lil extra bit of time to master.

    Thanks again Kevin for this thread It'll just take RemodelingGuy and me a bit longer to understand it all. (after the holidays am gonna focus on it)

  23. #23
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    I think I'm pretty basic. I can see where the traffic is coming from and to what pages etc. and then I check the stats the networks give me to see clicks, sales etc. I know I probably should have something that tracks click outs as well to compare them to what the networks have.
    Ditto. This is one area I'd really like to work on. I use both Google analytics (OK guys don't look so surprised) and Statcounter.com.

    Like Trust, I track what comes in, from where, what page, etc and compare to the Networks.
    It's taking it to the next level where I'm lacking. I wouldn't even know where to begin to create a home grown tool like MC.

    I know this is going to sound dumb but I don't even have an advanced tool to ensure I'm not being robbed of commissions.

    I know this is a long time coming for an affiliate like myself and I feel embarassed that I must be lagging behind most affiliates in this area.

  24. #24
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I feel embarrassed that I must be lagging behind most affiliates in this area
    From the looks of, you're not.

    I'll bet we're lagging behind the super affiliates though..... Hmmm. Maybe that's how they got to be super affiliates? <sly wink>
    Kevin Webster
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  25. #25
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    From the looks of, you're not.

    I'll bet we're lagging behind the super affiliates though..... Hmmm. Maybe that's how they got to be super affiliates? <sly wink>
    Well hopefully I will learn a lot in this area from the great members at ABW.

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