Affiliate Link Tracking Software: Beginner’s Guide

In this article from Better Sales Funnels, we are talking about your options for an affiliate link tracking software.

Disclosure: this website contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. 

What is an affiliate?

In the internet marketing world, an “affiliate” is an individual or company who work to refer customers to websites, products, and services. They are contractors, not employees. Aside from terms of the affiliate agreement between the business and the affiliate, the business does not control what efforts are made to promote the product. If a customer purchases a product from a referral by an affiliate, the company pays the affiliate the agreed upon compensation, usually a percentage of the sale. 

What is an affiliate link?

An affiliate link is a special link. Once clicked, it takes a customer to a specified product or service. What makes it special is the information that gets carried along with it. The information carried in the link is communicated to the website where the product or service is sold. It tells the website the identity of the affiliate who directed the customer to the site. 

The information carried in the special affiliate link is how affiliates earn commissions on products once sold. The website (and the company) selling the products knows exactly what was purchased by the particular customer referred by the affiliate. Commissions are calculated from that amount, depending upon the agreement between the company and the affiliate.

Looks matter…

Affiliate links can look neat and tidy, like this link promoting ClickFunnels’ Funnel Builder Secrets:

Affiliate links can also be messy and ugly like this link promoting this product from Clickbank (Flat Belly Fix):

There are many good reasons for affiliates to use link tracking software. Cleaning up scary links is one of those reasons. Internet users are more scared than ever of scams, cons, and bad guys. If the link looks like it could be a virus or something else malicious, they won’t click on it. 

What is link tracking software?

Link tracking software is a program, generally a SAAS product (software as a service) rather than a downloadable product. It that gives users data about who and what clicks on links.

With a link tracking software, you can see how many times the link was clicked. Depending upon the service you use, you can identify the time, date, country, and other details about the click. Some services may even provide you with the IP address of the click and narrow down the click’s location to the city. With the IP address, the software can also tell you whether the click was a “unique click” (meaning someone who hasn’t clicked on the link before) or a returning user (or someone who clicked multiple times on the link.

High quality link tracking software will also help you identify the quality of the traffic that is clicking your links. You will know, for example, if your traffic is real traffic (like actual people) versus bots or spiders. This is especially key when you are purchasing traffic from a vendor. There are tons of great traffic sellers doing great work out there, but there are just as many scammers who look for inexperienced businesspeople and marketers who don’t know yet to guard themselves and their wallets against bad traffic.

Most link tracking platforms offer a ton of other useful tools, aside from tracking and collecting information from clicks. You can cloak messy links with a custom domain, collect and track conversion data, rotate offers and landing pages, and much, much more.

Why would affiliates want to track their links?

The key to building a successful affiliate marketing business is knowing your numbers. If you simply put links out there left and right, without tracking what happens and when to those links (if anything), you won’t know how and where to invest your time and money going forward in the future. If you are driving traffic to your affiliate links through multiple sources, you should really only continue to spend money on traffic that results in a sale. But if you can’t tell how your sales are achieved, you won’t be able to focus on the valuable traffic source.

Preventing click fraud is an obvious reason as well. If you are going to be utilizing solo ads as your paid traffic source, having a high quality link tracker is essential. While platforms like Udimi work very hard to address and reduce low quality or fraudulent traffic, there’s simply too much of it going on for affiliates to simply trust that their traffic will be good enough.

(By the way, I have a link to a $5 discount if you want to check out solo ad traffic through Udimi. Click here to redeem it.)

Recommended Solutions

There are plenty of free options to cloak your links and track how many times the link has been clicked on. Bitly and Tinyurl are some well-known solutions to create less scary links, but you can’t use your chosen domain int he free option. Pretty Links is a wordpress plugin that is free, but has a paid pro option. Int he free option, you can use your own domain to create good looking links.

However, for affiliates, a higher quality link tracking solution is necessary if you are serious. Most of the free options for link tracking do not do anything to help you track click-fraud. There are several paid options for link tracking software, but for those who are new to affiliate link tracking, we recommend Clickmagick as an initial place to get started.

affiliate link tracking software

Affordable even for newbies…

Clickmagick has plans that cost as little as $12/month, and scale up with you as your business grows. You get almost all the functionality Clickmagick has to offer at the lower tier plans, certainly everything you’d need as an affiliate just getting started out. 

affiliate link tracking software

Further, Clickmagick has been around the block a time or two. They have tons of training articles and videos available to you, and their support is excellent. For example, if you are just getting started promoting Clickbank products, you’ll see that Clickmagick has a whole set of training videos about setting up Clickmagick to talk to Clickbank in order to provide you with more information about your conversions on Clickbank product sales pages. 

affiliate link tracking software

You can try Clickmagick for 14 days for free, and see if this is the affiliate link tracking solution you’ve been looking for. Click here to get your free trial.

If you aren’t sure, check out the Clickmagick free 1-Hour Guide to Click Tracking. They call it “an introduction to click tracking and conversion optimization for small online business owners and entrepreneurs.” There’s no optin, no collection of your email. Just high quality information that you need to know, if you aren’t already tracking your affiliate link clicks. 

Click here to get access to this free guide/training.

Before you go…

If you have never heard of “marketing funnels,” you should check out our post about our recommended marketing funnel builder. Anyone who is getting started in affiliate marketing should know about funnels. CLICK HERE to check it out.

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