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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 21st, 2006
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Track SEO Keywords for Sales on ShareASale?
    I had an affiliate ask about this just now and figured I would post for him here to see if anyone can help...

    I did a podcast the other night with James Martell and he was listening. I mentioned the importance of tracking sales to keywords. I was thinking of Pay Per Click, not SEO, but he is wondering if that is possible?

    Is it possible on ShareASale, or in general, to track keyword performance on clicks that come from the natural listings on Google and other SEs?
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  2. #2
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    You could use the conversion-tracking features of Google Analytics (or Google AdWords), or other analytical tools (WebTrends, many others), but the key is getting the data in. An affiliate-tracking technology or network can't track the inbound clicks from organic search, because those aren't going to be affiliate links that pass through the affiliate technology. Instead, you've got to capture data about the two critical events (the initial click/entry to site with the referring URL, and the sale/transaction data) AND you've also got to make the connection between those two events (for each sale, what was the source[s]).

    Added: OK, I re-read the question and I see that you're asking the question from the affiliate (publisher) perspective. In short, can I, as the publisher, somehow pass along data so I can match up the sales transactions reported by ShareASale to that visitor's referral source when entering my site?

    The short answer is, "yes," but it would require some programming. What you'd need to do is encode all outbound affiliate links with an afftrack= tag, and insert the relevant data into that tag. Each SAS transaction will show the afftrack value that you sent. To do what you're asking, you'd need to capture the referring URL data, follow that visitor through your site, and then attach the relevant afftrack= tag whenever any affiliate link is shown.

    For example, on entry to the site, you might see that it's a referral from Google, from the search term "purple widget." You'd probably push a cookie to the visitor with a value like "google|purple_widget" and then when each page is requested, that value would be inserted into the "afftrack=" field of each SAS affiliate link (some other affiliate networks provide similar parameters, but some do not; you'd also need to pay attention to any field-length limits and any special-character limitations). Then, if the consumer clicked on an affiliate link, the afftrack value would get passed along to ShareASale, and would be echoed back as part of the sale-transaction data you see in your reports.

    Another alternative would be to simply assign each visitor to your site a unique ID tag, and pass that value as the afftrack= value, so that your valuable proprietary data isn't visible to others. Then, you'd need to set up a system to map the ID tags (from the afftrack field for each transaction) back to the original referral source -- but then you could do additional analysis.
    Last edited by markwelch; May 20th, 2010 at 12:30 PM.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 21st, 2006
    Fort Wayne, IN

    That is a huge help!

    So just to be sure I understand...

    Option One is to capture the URL from Google:

    And append the afftrack with "learn+piano+dvd" such as:

    So that the affiliate can run a report in ShareASale by afftrack

    Option Two is to do the same thing but keep the keywords on his end and only pass say a number such as "111" and cross-reference the ShareASale reports with their data such as:

    with "1234" = learn+piano+dvd

    Thanks a ton Mark!
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

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