Conversion Tracking Basics

Affiliates are an often under-served bunch. Merchant and networks expect you to make sales for them, yet they don’t give you a fool-proof way affiliate conversion tracking method. In the age of APIs and openness, it’s disappointing that most networks still keep conversion data all to themselves.

With the exception of SellHealth and some newer networks, the only way affiliates can track conversions is by using Tracking IDs or TID. So that’s what we have to work with if we really want to make sense of our affiliate promotions and to track our ROI – especially if we’re paying for ads!

How TID Affiliate Conversion Tracking Works

TID tracking is primitive at best. It involves adding some identifier text to the end of your affiliate link to determine the source of the traffic. Depending on which affiliate network you’re in, it can also be called SID (Subcampaign ID) or CID (Conversion ID).

Here’s how you would use TID in a ClickBank affiliate link:

The same method also applies to Commission Junction links, although here they are called SID:

For any affiliate program handled by the popular iDevAffiliate software, your TID could look like this:

You can change the actual tracking text of “test” to anything you want. In most cases you can do this “on-the-fly” instead of having to actually create a new campaign using the affiliate program’s tools.

The Big Problem with TID Tracking

The problem with TID tracking is that you must use the naked affiliate link, with no link masking or cloaking. The moment you cloak links – manually or using a software like LinkTrackr – you lose the ability to instantly add TID tracking to your link.

Not many affiliates (especially super affiliates) want to expose and use their naked affiliate link. This renders TID tracking completely useless, and therefore it’s difficult for affiliates to correctly identify where their sales are coming from.

Believe it or not, the average affiliate doesn’t track his conversions or ROI. They simply try to get more traffic to make more sales, but they are never able to figure out where the sales come from and therefore they are never able to focus on the sources of profitable traffic.

How LinkTrackr Solves The TID Puzzle

With LinkTrackr, we allow you to place the variable code (lt-campaign) into your actual affiliate link to replace the TID. Therefore when you create campaigns using LinkTrackr, the exact campaign name is converted to your TID.

Here’s how the actual code would look like when you cloak / mask it using LinkTrackr:

The actual TID will appear in your affiliate program’s stats and reporting feature. This helps you truly utilize the TID tracking method most affiliate networks depend on, yet be able to cloak and mask your affiliate links at the same time.

Read this knowledgebase entry for more information on how our TID Conversion tracking feature works, and how you can implement it easily on all your existing cloaked affiliate links.

The only drawback is that you will not be able to see the actual conversions in your LinkTrackr dashboard. Instead, you need to check your affiliate program’s stats to find your conversions and TID sources.

Until affiliate networks start to open up their conversion data to third-party applications, I’m afraid TID tracking is the best that you can do as an affiliate to make sense of your marketing efforts and maximize your profits.

Look on the bright side: At least now you have a reliable affiliate conversion tracking method to gauge your ROI!

This post was guest blogged by Gobala Krishnan of LinkTrackr. To try LinkTrackr, simply go and create your account. If you’re signing up for any of the paid plans, then be sure to use the coupon code JOHNCHOW to get 20% off.