2 Ways to Track Affiliate Link Sales & Income

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By  •  5 min read

Having proper affiliate link tracking is key to visualizing your affiliate marketing efforts.

If you don’t have it setup, how would you know how much you made?

Or which links convert, and which ones don’t?

In this post, we’ll cover the three main ways affiliate marketers track their affiliate links income, as well as step by step setup and integration tutorials for each.

In order of the most efficient ways to the least efficient, the three best ways to track affiliate sales are:

  • Via Google Analytics
  • Manually via bookmarks and spreadsheets

Let’s jump into the two main ways, their pros and cons, and how to begin doing each three optimally.

How to Track Affiliate Links via Google Analytics

You can also track your affiliate sales via Google Analytics using UTM parameters, although it’s somewhat technical and will take a decent amount of time to integrate in this manner. If you don’t feel comfortable with HTML and Javascript, it’s probably best to hire help, or use another method.

In order to get started, you’ll need the affiliate program and corresponding links you’d like to track, as well as GA access.

There’s two main ways that affiliate links operate.

The first is developer side cookies. When an affiliate link is clicked, and a consumer is taken to a landing page, the developer stores a cookie on their end with the affiliate ID, where a tracking pixel is used to track any purchases or sales made by the consumer.

The second method involves using Google Tag Manager (GTM), and Google Analytics to store cookies. A thing to note about this method, is that there can be issues tracking when a user is using certain ad blockers, Chrome extensions, or applications.

Both of these issues will look for a pageview like a like thank you page, or successful order page. If these aren’t in place by the merchant you’re affiliating for, you may run into issues as well.

Julian at AnalyticsMania explains this entire process better than we ever could, so give his guide a read if you’d like to learn how to track affiliate sales via Google Analytics.

Overall, this method can be split for you depending on your circumstances. One upside however is the near real-time data you’ll get from this method.

How to Track Affiliate Sales Manually

Easily the least sexy option of the three, logging income manually is certainly doable.

Whether it’s you doing it or a V.A., it will be time consuming. Using Afflytics just requires you to connect programs once, while the second method takes a lot of time upfront. Do that once, so you never have to do it again.

What you’d want to do is setup a folder via bookmarks, document, or other shortcut with all of the login pages of the affiliate programs you support.

Most browsers will support bookmarks, and place them in a convenient and easily accessible location.

Then, you’d want a place to store the data, so you can keep it forever, you can use the Affiliate Income Template.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Drive Traffic to Affiliate Links?

There’s plenty of ways to generate traffic and send them to affiliate offers. Some of the top affiliate marketing traffic strategies include SEO affiliate websites, social media, adwords, email marketing, and more.

You can learn more about affiliate marketing and driving traffic in 0ur beginners guide to affiliate marketing.

At the end of the day, all affiliate marketing strategies will work, you’ll just need to find the method and niche that are best for you!

Why is Affiliate Sale Tracking Important?

Affiliates play a key role in the e-commerce ecosystem. They blast retailers conversion rates through the roof via their trusted referrals and review. It’s important for them to know if their efforts are working.

In many cases their livelihood depends on driving as many affiliate sales as possible. Afflytics is made by affiliate marketers, for affiliate marketers, and dedicated to connecting all affiliate programs to one dashboard.

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, all affiliate link management options will get the job done.

The second option is rather technical, and not feasible or simple for most webmasters. If you’re going to go this route, be prepared for lots of code.

The last option is likely the most common method, although it takes the most time to setup, and will be required for you to do any time you want to view your affiliate marketing data.

We’ll leave it to you to decide which option makes the most sense. We know which method we think is the best.

Now that you have some background on the different ways to track your affiliate programs income, let us know which method you picked in the comments!

Full-time SEO and Website Flipper with over 10 years of experience. Currently living in Bali