Affiliate Marketing and Web Analytics

I got chatting via Skype with Eric Nagel a few days ago about web analytics.  He was working on some Goal related items in Google Analytics, and the conversation eventually turned to Custom Reports and Advanced Segments.

That’s when the light bulb went off in his head.

You see, Google Analytics can provide a decent share of affiliates with better information than they currently have.  As I’ve said before on ReveNews, and here, affiliates in general do a decent job of understanding where their traffic comes from.  And they build their SEO and SEM campaigns around that data set, as well as from (hopefully) good information provided to them by merchant partners.

There are TINY simple steps in Google Analytics though that can make affiliates so much smarter, and better at their jobs.

Lets look at one.

Advanced Segments in Google Analytics for Affiliates

In many situations, affiliates using their own hand coded websites, or WordPress or Joomla, pass visitors through a special page before they technically leave the site to visit a merchant.  This could be mysite.com/outbound.php or whatever, depending on how your site is structured.

Just make sure you have your Google Analytics code on that page.  And most preferably, use the latest asynchronous code in the HEAD of the document (loads first) before completing the redirect, so that the javascript fires properly.

Then, create a Goal in Analytics that is triggered whenever that outbound page is loaded (in other words, a click through to your merchant partner.)  If you’re really savvy, you know what your long term website EPC is, and you can assign a dollar value to that goal.  Then you’re really doing something.

So now, we want to get an overview of what works for us as affiliates.  So we build a Custom Advanced Segment to filter down to only traffic that ends up going to your merchant partners.  The gold.  The good stuff.  The money makers.

Advanced Custom - Google Analytics

My first goal for this website is Contact completions, so you’ll see above that the dimension in question is called that.  In your case, make it Click Throughs or whatever you’re comfortable with.  Even Goal 1 is better than nothing.

Then, add a O (zero) to the Greater than box, name the advanced segment, and hit save.

Now, when you call that advanced segment, you will ONLY see traffic that has gone through to visit your merchant partners.

And now you can start making sound business decisions.

If you have a question, feel free to contact me or drop a comment below.  Thanks!

About kevin

I work as an internet marketing manager in domestic (US) manufacturing, and blog about B2B web lead generation, CRMs, web analytics, and a little bit about affiliate marketing. I also am an avid Kayak Fisherman.