Using Web Analytics to Grow Your Affiliate Program #AMDays

Editor’s Note: This is our second in a series of live blogging coverage from the Affiliate Management Days conference. There will be several articles during this event covering topics of interest to businesses running affiliate programs. More coverage of #AMDays.

Kevin Webster AMDays

This is live blogging of the session “Using Web Analytics to Grow Your Affiliate Program.” This covers remarks during the session featuring speaker Kevin Webster (pictured left), Internet Marketing Manager at Forbes Custom Products, a direct source for custom information packaging products and documentation presentation solutions.

In this session, Kevin Webster highlighted a few great points on how to use analytics and key performance indicators to enhance your affiliate marketing program.

This session covered: 

  • Why it’s important
  • What’s at stake
  • What to look for
  • How to use it to grow your program

Major take aways:

1. Why it’s important

  • Affiliate traffic should always be growing.
  • Channel strategies change the way affiliate marketing works.
  • 60% of your revenue could theoretically come from non-decipherable sources.
  • 40% of Amazon’s 2011 revenue came through their affiliate marketing channel.

2. What’s at Stake

Loss of proper channel value:

  • Social value
  • Revenue value
  • Stickiness

A foot in the door:

  • Open a communication channel with your affiliates.
  • Having stats you can talk about with your affiliates will give you a reason to outreach to them.
  • Leverage your web analytics to garner trust with your affiliates – talk about the navigation process and issues on your site that you recognize and are working to fix.

Basis for a growth strategy:

  • Without fully understanding outcomes, how can you properly plan?
  • Also, how do you know what to fix for better performance?
  • Don’t get lost by multi-channel attribution – OWN IT
  • Make sure you’re properly tagging and tracking things on a micro level so you can properly attribute the value of particular efforts

3. A Basis for Channel Growth

What is your affiliate traffic really doing?

  • If it was your PPC / Display traffic, how would you assist in converting?

How do you take it back to affiliates?

  • Devise a strategy based on actions, not simply conversion rates.
  • Know what’s happening to your super affiliate’s traffic and take it back to them.

4. What am I Looking For?


  • What differences do you see in affiliate traffic versus other channels?


  • Your affiliates might know what is hot before you do. See: Pinterest, Social Media

Segmenting Affiliates:

  • Use analytics to create product specific affiliate groups.

5. Know How to Grow

  • Look for high converting niches to exploit, then develop specific recruitment strategies.
  • Use Google Trends buzz tracking website and – ALL THE TIME. Most people miss this.
  • Use external analytics to shape your recruitment strategy.
  • Match historically effective creative (what worked in the PPC channel to drive customer acquisition, what has driven sales INSIDE your cookie cycle, what has driven sales on First Click – First Click affiliates might end up being your most valuable.)

Recommended analytics tracking tools:

In conclusion, the purpose of analytics is to grow your program performance while fostering better relationships with your valued affiliate partners.  To Contact Kevin Webster, check out, Forbes Products or follow him on Twitter @levelanalytics.

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Sarah Bundy Sarah Bundy is the founder and CEO of All Inclusive Marketing, Canada's leading full-service Affiliate Management Company, which offers personalized Affiliate Management training and consulting services for Internet Retailers. Sarah speaks at industry events, contributes to industry leading periodicals and blogs, and teaches at the Online Marketing Institute. Sarah has also been interviewed on radio shows such as QAQN and Webmaster Radio.

9 Reactions
  1. Well written details and extensive researching

    Thanks for posting

  2. Any idea where that 40% number came from? Amazon did 48 billion in sales for 2011 and 40% would put their affiliate program at just over 19 billion – a number I find a little hard to believe.

    • Chris: I’ll have to find that statistic again. I know I was stunned when I read it too. Give me a few days, and I will get back to you.

  3. Ashley K. Edwards

    Metrics & analytics is definitely something I need to make better use of in my program. Also, I, too, am stunned at the Amazon stat. Any luck on sourcing that data?

  4. Patrick Brennan

    now if I can just translate this into local marketing somehow, I’d be on my way… well written, Pinned it!