This article was written by Kristopher McIntosh, team leader at Awin.
If tracking is the underlying technology that allows the affiliate channel to function, enables both advertisers and publishers to fully understand and optimise their performance, and allows advertisers to fairly reward publishers for their activity, then it’s certainly not an area that should be overlooked when it comes to investment.
It’s all too frequent to come across a situation whereby an advertiser hasn’t implemented a full version of the network’s tracking code or has some form of tracking issue that prevents adequate data collection and/or use of network functionality.
With that in mind, here is a selection of reasons to ensure investment in tracking is a top priority this year:
The tracking each network utilises has been developed over the course of the network’s existence, and it’s been developed to be as reliable as possible. By implementing a complete and up-to-date version of your network’s tracking, you’re implementing a solution that’s likely been years in the making and will be the most reliable version available, enabling you to accurately track as many transactions as possible.
Implementing a complete version of the network’s tracking solution allows advertisers to maximise the amount of data recorded, therefore, providing access to a greater level of insight which can then be used to optimise performance. Awin’s Product Level Tracking (PLT) and Custom Parameter functionality are great examples of this. PLT provides advertisers and publishers with product-level reports, which can be utilised to understand performance at product and category-level. Custom Parameters take this concept a step further and allow advertisers to report on any data point which is relevant to them. A large number of advertisers utilise this across the network, reporting on items such as delivery method, customer type, product attributes, and delivery location.
Understanding channel value
Your network’s tracking has been developed to be as reliable as possible; tracking regardless of location, device and customer journey, therefore, implementing a complete version of the tracking reduces the number of ‘lost’ transactions, providing a more accurate understanding of the channel’s value.
For advertisers that had already implemented a full version of Awin’s tracking, September 2018 could come and go with little concern. For the rest, it represented the release of ITP 2.0 and with that the date that a significant portion of their affiliate activity may fail to track should they not update their affiliate tracking. Implementing a complete version of your network’s tracking not only safeguards you today but helps protect you from future industry-wide developments.
Looking a little closer to home, it’s worth preparing for affiliate network developments too. Most networks will be looking ahead and developing tools and technology to make affiliate marketing easier and more efficient.
As many of these developments will be built based on existing network functionality and technology, it’s important to ensure your programmes are prepared for these developments. Cross-device tracking, cross-channel assist reporting and payments, and channel parameter de-duplication are just some of the past developments that were available to advertisers that had implemented a full version of Awin’s tracking. For those that haven't, not only was the functionality not immediately available, but the historic data that could have been collected and utilised was unavailable.
Last, but by no means least, it’s worth highlighting fairness. Your publisher base likely ranges from one-person ‘start-ups’ run out of their homes to large, global companies with tens or hundreds of members of staff. These companies, no matter how big or small, are providing a service and should be fairly rewarded for those services. Implementing a complete and up-to-date version of your affiliate network’s tracking allows for a higher level of tracking accuracy and therefore a more accurate level of remuneration for publishers, helping them grow and continue to drive valuable sales for your affiliate programme.