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  1. #1
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    Google Analytics - Why do affiliates need them?
    I realize analytics are very important...but in all my years I never used them. I would rather by to develop my own program, or use an outside company if there was one. I just see the "cost" of sharing my data as too high with Google, if you catch my drift. I mean, I don't want them to know where and how I make my money. I just seems more and more affiliates are using Google Analytics.

    my question is, if you do ppc..can Google Analytics tell you what keywords convert for you? ie: if you are promoting an affiliate program on CJ, and they track your conversions. I would like to know this information for 2 reasons - one, I'm thinking it would help me lower my ppcs costs when i know what keywords convert, and don't. and #2, obviously i'll learn what are my best keywords..and i can focus my ad spend there.

    if anything, i'm just looking to see if any affiliates would share why they are using Google Analytics? I just feel like if i used them, i'd be making a deal with the Devil. any opinions are welcome

  2. #2
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    "I just see the "cost" of sharing my data as too high with Google, if you catch my drift. I mean, I don't want them to know where and how I make my money. I just seems more and more affiliates are using Google Analytics."

    I did a poll on this awhile back and was surprised most affiliates use them. I have never for some of the same reasons you just mentioned. Just never made sense to me to have a competitors tracking code on my site and some to this day, don't even realize Google is an affiliate themselves and compete directly with affiliates in some areas. Typical response is Google knows a lot about you already, which is true. But they know even more when you put their tracking code on your site. It's free for a reason. Brilliant move on their part to mine affiliates to death.

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  4. #3
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Are you against all analytics or just Google?

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Are you against all analytics or just Google?
    I'm against sharing my data with Google. Just trying to figure out if affiliates think using Google Analytics is worth it. Moreover, is there a way they can track conversion data for affiliates? I don't think there is, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

  6. #5
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    To my understanding a merchant can add tags for most of their online sales channels. They can add them for affiliate sales. That doesn't help the affiliates unless the merchant would add their pixel to the merchant site.

    I do not use AdWords but to my understanding you can track your sales with your ads.

  7. #6
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    Thanks Chuck. with ppc costs rising every day......unfortunately i just think for affiliates like me its time to consider Google Analytics or an alternative

  8. #7
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    I wish I had the answer here... I totally share your concerns about giving Google access to site statistics, and to that end I removed their tracking from my sites earlier this year.

    However, in recent weeks one of my sites has experienced a traffic surge - I had spent months rebuilding sections, changing the way I publish content, etc. Stats were improving - time spent on a page, page views per unique visitor - and it occurred to me that I wanted to share that info with Google (the search engine).

    Two weeks ago I put tracking back, and as much as my paid service gives me good data, Google Analytics has given me additional insight. The new interface is vastly superior to the "default" and the live view is second to none.

    I agree with Trust that the cost of sharing data with Google could be high. Unfortunately I don't have the development resources right now - I needed to see extra stats, and Analytics has given me a birds-eye view I didn't have before.

    I haven't done a complete about-face from my position earlier this year (when I removed tracking), but it's been a tough year, and frankly I need all the help I can get. I'm looking at this as a short-term experiment.

  9. #8
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    You don't NEED to use Google Analytics to track PPC conversions. You can build your own PHP based (or whatever) tracking system which would marry up clicks to sales. Simply use the link tagging that the networks provide.

    Do you do primarily DTM PPC, or to your own site? The methodology is different depending on your answer.
    Kevin Webster
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  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    I wish I had the answer here... I totally share your concerns about giving Google access to site statistics, and to that end I removed their tracking from my sites earlier this year.

    I haven't done a complete about-face from my position earlier this year (when I removed tracking), but it's been a tough year, and frankly I need all the help I can get. I'm looking at this as a short-term experiment.


    Thanks for sharing, teezone. Do you Google Analytics to track your conversions as well? or just traffic data?

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    Do you do primarily DTM PPC, or to your own site? The methodology is different depending on your answer.
    I sent the traffic directly to my own site.

  13. #11
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Then you can definitely build a database tool to measure your PPC (and all) clicks.

    Can't remember specifically how CJ works, but you'll use their PID or SID I think. Write each clickthrough from your website to a database, include that PID/SID, and then import your sales data. They will line up, and you'll have your answer. (That's my simplified response... it's slightly more complex than that, but you should be able to get my drift I think).
    Kevin Webster
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  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    Then you can definitely build a database tool to measure your PPC (and all) clicks.

    Can't remember specifically how CJ works, but you'll use their PID or SID I think. Write each clickthrough from your website to a database, include that PID/SID, and then import your sales data. They will line up, and you'll have your answer. (That's my simplified response... it's slightly more complex than that, but you should be able to get my drift I think).
    I do. Thank you Kevin!

    I'm still curious though, do any affiliates use Google Analytics for conversion tracking? lets face it, our money is in the keywords we use that convert. i'm vary wary to share that information with anyone....it can make them your business partner, or your competitor. either way, a scary proposition.

  15. #13
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    I switched from Google Analytics to Statcounter a few months back. I do realize that the Goog has more options but Statcounter has provided me with the data I need.

  16. #14
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboysfan View Post
    I sent the traffic directly to my own site.
    Create multiple ad campaigns, one for each keyword or variations of the same keyword.

    Append the destination url with ?keyword or &keyword depending if you have other variables in the URL.

    Use your server logs to track...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  17. #15
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Create multiple ad campaigns, one for each keyword or variations of the same keyword.

    Append the destination url with ?keyword or &keyword depending if you have other variables in the URL.

    Use your server logs to track...
    You still have to match up the network or program identifier to track sales though. Click throughs is one thing, but only a small portion of the story.
    Kevin Webster
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  18. #16
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    You still have to match up the network or program identifier to track sales though. Click throughs is one thing, but only a small portion of the story.
    Yes, but he's driving traffic to his site not DTM. He would need to modify his affiliate links (referrering URL) to capture that info - correct?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  19. #17
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Yup. And likely create his own analytics database.
    Kevin Webster
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  20. #18
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Saw this article by Carolyn Kmet with assistance from Kevin Webster and thought it had a good summary of basic metrics for newbies: Affiliate Marketing Metrics: A Primer | Practical eCommerce

    Good discussion about what numbers are good for program management but that may need a different thread.

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