End-to-end Analytics in Affiliate Marketing

24 March 2023
Reading: 5 min

Relying on intuition is not an option in any business. And when it comes to marketing, where there are a billion metrics affecting the profitability of your actions, it is better to trust mathematics. You can use campaign analytics for this purpose. We’ve already explored the issue of collecting data through tests and tracking, and now it’s time to learn how to analyze the information we receive in order to draw conclusions and improve further performance. Let’s look at analytics in affiliate marketing from the inside, focusing on the concept of end-to-end analytics.

Basic analytics

The best place to start is with an overview of the basic affiliate marketing analytics tools that are freely available to you.

Ad account

Whichever advertising platform you use, you’ll always have a set of metrics inside your affiliate account to track the effectiveness of your campaigns. There can be a lot of them (like on Facebook or Google Ads) or smaller ones, like in push-ads networks. However, the vast majority of affiliates use the fixed set of them:

  • CPM (price per 1000 impressions) — the smaller, the better
  • CTR (conversion from impressions to clicks) — the higher, the better
  • CPA (cost per action) — should be kept to a minimum
  • various quantitative data — impressions, clicks, conversions, interactions, frequency of impressions, etc.

Affiliate network dashboard

The second analytics tool is inside the affiliate network dashboard. Regardless of your choice of an affiliate network, all dashboards are similar and provide information on unique visitors, the number of leads (total, applicants, rejected, etc.), CR, and ePC. For the average affiliate, all this is enough to work with. But are you an average one?

Analytics services

In addition to the standard and free analytics tools, there are many optimization services. They allow you to sort advertising streams and build overall performance graphs for different sources and providers. Such tools are really useful for large teams working with different affiliate networks, advertising channels, and offers, but also for beginners.

Last but not least — end-to-end analytics

A system of end-to-end analytics is an analysis method that allows you to measure the effectiveness of your marketing investment by tracking the entire customer journey: from ad views to sales and repeat orders. The scope of end-to-end analytics aggregates data from all your advertising channels and shows how much you have earned through each one. It’s a way to measure the effectiveness of every dollar invested in advertising, in terms of sales made. You know exactly how much you have spent on advertising, and end-to-end analytics helps you understand how much you have earned from it.

End-to-end Analytics in Affiliate Marketing

Why do I need end-to-end analytics?

The requests for the product are coming in, and the sales department is reporting orders. But how do you know where the customer came from? Which channel brought in revenue for the business? Setting up end-to-end analytics helps solve many business and marketing challenges:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of marketing channels
  • Redistribute the advertising budget to reduce the cost of attracting a customer, and increase the number of sales
  • Understand the entire sales cycle: from keyword to in-store checkout amount
  • Save time in making decisions on managing advertising costs, scaling campaigns, and selecting the most profitable promotion channels
  • With end-to-end analytics, you can more accurately assess the effectiveness of advertising channels and make better decisions based on the information obtained

End-to-end Analytics in Affiliate Marketing

Why Google Analytics isn’t enough?

Google Analytics shows you the main channels from which visitors come to your site (contextual or media advertising, organic search, etc.), as well as many other useful metrics. But it won’t show whether visitors from one channel or another have made a purchase, and therefore you won’t know which of the ads have brought you money in the end.

The fact is that a visitor is likely to visit the website several times through different channels before making a transaction. Focusing on the last (or first) visit won’t give you an accurate indication of which channel worked after all. In order to get a clear picture of the user’s path through the sales funnel, you need to look at the multichannel sequence — Google Analytics has such a report. But keep in mind that you can only see a full understanding of the situation if all of your customers take the target action online.

But what if some segments of your target audience call before they make a purchase (to ask for details, price, availability) or place an order over the phone, you won’t see these transactions in Google Analytics. If this is the case, you need a call tracking system. Integrated with Google Analytics, call tracking sends call data to Google Analytics, and it shows up in your reports.

End-to-end Analytics in Affiliate Marketing

It would seem that a solution has been found. Yes, with the collaboration of call tracking and Google Analytics, you can track the number of users and particular ads they came from. But how many of them actually made a purchase, and for how much, remains a mystery. This way, you won’t be able to calculate the actual profitability of advertising without end-to-end analytics.

Final thoughts

Analytics is useful in any form and in any affiliate line of business. In order to run successful campaigns and use the budget effectively, every affiliate must know the state of affairs through performance analysis. End-to-end analytics would be a cool way to do this.

The need for end-to-end analytics does not depend on the size of the company or the number of sales managers. You don’t need it only if you don’t advertise at all and therefore don’t spend money on it. In other cases, however, optimizing advertising campaigns without end-to-end analytics will look kind of depressing.

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