This is chapter 9, Tracking Your Affiliate Program, of Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants.
It should go without saying that your affiliate program tracking and reporting have to be reliable.
You have a few different options for tracking your affiliate program.
You can go with an affiliate network, pick up software off the shelf, or roll your own.
Personally, I’d advocate going the network route.
Regardless of the path you take, there are a handful of reporting items you must provide, at a minimum, to affiliates.
In a lot of cases, affiliates will want more data, but this is the bare minimum:
- Commission earned per transaction
- Order ship date
- Total commission earned
Again, those data points are what the affiliates will need at a minimum. I’d suggest providing a lot more in the way of analytics for your affiliates.
This won’t be a problem for you if you go with an affiliate network, but if you decide to buy software or build your own, you’ve got a challenge ahead of you.
Here are two affiliate software programs I’ve used (note: this was years ago) and would recommend checking out: Groundbreak.com’s Ultimate Affiliate or iDevAffiliate.