What affiliate marketers have missed about Google Analytics

30-second summary:

  • Affiliate marketers can use Google Analytics to do the following– Google Event Tracking to keep track of on-site engagements, Google Dashboards for evaluating user habits, and develop customized Audiences for improving audience retargeting.
  • As an affiliate online marketer, Google Analytics does not provide you with off-site tracking, so you can’t see what actions an individual performs on a merchant site after leaving your site.
  • With server-side tracking and Google Analytics, you can keep an eye on an entire affiliate funnel through one platform. Benefits include the ability to produce lookalike audiences based on individuals who bought, run enhanced retargeting campaigns, and export lookalike information across numerous ad platforms.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that provides important insights for anyone handling a site. In this article, I will talk about how to utilize Google Analytics for your affiliate marketing campaigns. I will then show you how to use third-party tools to offer you with additional insights to create more earnings from your existing traffic and make much better usage of your ad spending plan.

How marketers presently utilize Google Analytics for affiliate tracking

If you are utilizing Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisements as your primary consumer acquisition channel, your profit margins are directly connected to advertisement expenses. Any edge you gain that improves your ROAS will offer you with a competitive advantage in the advertisement auction.

There are three primary levers of a PPC project, the ad copy, the audience targeting, and the landing page experience. The insights you gain through Google Analytics can help you enhance audience targeting and the landing page experience.

PPC and how marketers use Google Analytics for tracking affiliate marketing

Google Event Tracking allows you to track outgoing clicks on affiliate links. As soon as established, the control panel is available through

Google Analytics - Event tracking

Behavior > Events. You can appoint each click a value by setting up Goal Values if you understand the typical conversion rate for an item. You then require to make adjustments to the GA tracking code or add a special configuration to your GTM tag.

This post covers occasion tracking in more detail. With Google Event Tracking, you can monitor your assumed profit margins for a project through Google Analytics. Obviously, these figures are far from accurate. When carried out successfully, Goal Values offer you with a theoretical model for predicting your project’s profitability. Nevertheless, it does not show your real sales. To access this data, you need to log in to your affiliate dashboard, examine the sales, and see if the predicted revenue margins align with the real results. Affiliate platforms offer varying levels of insights. That implies you might just get a”gross sale value “that covers sales from all traffic

, as opposed to traffic from one website. The second thing most affiliate marketers will do is evaluate the info supplied through Google Analytics control panels to monitor what individuals are doing on their landing pages. For instance, you may keep an eye on how far down a page people scroll, how much time they spend on the page, the bounce rate, and more. You can also see the number of affiliate link outbound clicks.

You can run A/B tests and other experiments to check how your actions affect the CTR to affiliate links. You can adjust the position of affiliate links and the positioning of the products you are promoting to improve CTR.

Insights gained from Google Analytics provide you with important information to test your assumptions. You can utilize this information to improve the landing page experience and increase your CTR.

Any enhancements you make to the landing page experience can and must improve your ROAS.

The last thing you can do is utilize Google Analytics to enhance your initial targeting. If you are tracking who clicked on the affiliate link, you can create a refined lookalike audience for Google AdWords through Google Analytics. The following guide talks about audience targeting and Similar Audiences.

Any enhancement to your targeting will offer you an edge in the advertisement auction.

What are the limitations of Google Analytics for affiliate tracking?

Google Analytics is an effective tool for keeping track of the on-site activities of your visitors. As an entrepreneur that controls a whole funnel, you can put your Google Analytics tag throughout your website, consisting of the checkout page where the deal really happens. For That Reason, Google Analytics supplies you with all the data you may conceivably need to keep track of and optimize a funnel.

Rather than relying on assumed deal worths, you can monitor whatever through one or more Google Analytics dashboards. Sadly, as an affiliate marketer, considering that you can’t put your GA tag on the merchant “thank you” page, Google Analytics fails to provide you with these insights. You are forced to jump in between your affiliate programs, the ads platform, and Google Analytics to keep an eye on how your PPC projects are performing.

I talked about why you could not use GA Event Tracking for the lasts of an affiliate funnel. It is an inconvenience that avoids the real attribution of transactions to an advertisement click.

This problem impacts your marketing at two important levels, which will undoubtedly increase your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and your capability to automate your campaign targeting and optimization:

  1. Your whole audience is combined into basic “pails,” which avoids you from displaying appropriate ads according to the users’ positions in the funnel.
  2. You can’t build lookalike audiences of your best possible “clients” due to the fact that you do not understand who’s done what.

While these two factors will unquestionably reduce your revenue margins, they will likewise undermine your long-term business goals and ability to complete on the ad auction.

The last hassle you’ll face is that you can’t share custom audiences generated through Google Analytics throughout other advertisement platforms. To be fair, Google Analytics was never ever created to supply off-site analytics tracking. As an affiliate marketer, enhancing your Google Analytics data with off-site conversion information can bring a lot of worth to your service. I’ll talk about how off-site tracking works in the next area.

How offline conversion tracking works

Offline conversion tracking ties actions taken by users on your site and actions taken on sites or systems outside the reach of the preliminary site’s Google Analytics tag. The most common methods for carrying out off-site analytics tracking are through server-side tracking API (also called postback tracking) and manual data/ CSV upload.

Out of the two choices, JavaScript tracking is the simplest approach to implement. Stringent web browser personal privacy settings and AdBlocks have made this method significantly undependable. Moreover, with JavaScript, there are further restrictions like web browser memory, reduced cookie runtimes, and rejection of access to session storage.

Offline conversion tracking model

With server-side tracking, unique click ID information is passed throughout the outgoing click and is then returned through a server-side URL. The distinct click ID value is the common denominator that connects a click from your website to actions on a separate website.

The information flow is handled through a postback URL. In the following post, I share technical details about how postback URLs work and why they’re important.

The primary advantage of server side tracking is that it is not impacted by ad blockers, ITP, ETP.

As an affiliate online marketer, off-site marketing analytics provides you with a total overview of your marketing funnel. You can track an off-site purchase. With this information, you get the same insights and advantages as a business where completion sale is made on their website.

An extra benefit of off-site tracking is that you can sync conversion data across several channels/ platforms and then use this data to create custom audiences. You can, for that reason, test your marketing funnel making use of more affordable traffic sources, then utilize the information to develop lookalike audiences for advertisements on Facebook or Google, for instance.

Not all ad platforms support off-site tracking. Google introduced off-site tracking in 2013. Bing Ads introduced the service in 2017, while social networks platforms such as Twitter and TikTok have yet to offer an appropriate option for affiliate marketers.

Solutions for offsite tracking

Offsite tracking has several benefits for individuals operating in the affiliate marketing specific niche. That’s not to say that it’s not without issues. You need a lot of technical knowledge to set up a system to link data from an internet browser to the server-side.

Google Analytics offers a substantial API that enables developers to carry out server-side tracking. There are three primary methods for carrying out off-site tracking:

  1. Google Analytics API: Requires the greatest level of advancement skills. However, the Google Analytics API offers developers with the very best capacity for total server-side tracking.
  2. Google Tag Manager: A High level of technical skills. Google Tag Manager will just allow you to effectively track off-site actions if you can include Google Tags to the merchant’s site.
  3. Third-Party Affiliate Tracking Software: Plug & & play options that link Google Analytics and other Ads markets (Bing, Facebook, and other platforms).

Due to the ever-evolving data and analytics space, keeping and establishing up with the continuous changes requires a substantial financial investment of time and resources. Big business may pick to buy a custom-made internal service for off-site tracking. However, services that utilize the Google Analytics API are too pricey for the majority of affiliate marketers.

Affiliate tracking software like AnyTrack.io, a business that I founded, supplies a native server-side tracking integration with Google Analytics, Bing Ads, and other advertisement networks. It’s certainly a lot much easier than hiring a designer to produce a custom solution.

On balance, no matter your technique, the restrictions of offsite tracking are surpassed by the large benefits. That is, assuming you wish to enhance your marketing funnel and increase your ROAS.

Integrating Google Analytics With Offsite Tracking

Implementing Google Analytics with offsite tracking software like AnyTrack.io is straightforward. Google Analytics already supplies the basic dashboards for tracking visitor flow throughout a website from landing page to conversion.

When you incorporate offsite tracking, you are, basically, simply gaining the very same kind of data as somebody who manages an entire funnel across a single website would see. The benefit is that you get access to information you can utilize to improve your ROAS.

Case Study

One of our customers, Cliverse.com, has six sites in the animal care industry. The majority of the traffic to their websites comes from organic search. They were dealing with an information difficulty that you may be familiar with; they discovered it challenging to understand what items were converting and from which pages those conversions were occurring.

In addition, PPC ads were more expensive than needed. They were running retargeting ads to people who had purchased an affiliate product suggesting they make a purchase. With better information, they might improve ROAS.

Using AnyTrack.io, Cliverse might lastly see from what page, and which connect on a page was generating the conversions. Through analyzing the information, Cliverse was able to increase earnings by 30% thanks to page optimization. Due to the fact that they have the complete image, they are now able to run paid media campaigns to their site with complete confidence.


Bridging the gap in between your google analytics information and affiliate network conversions is the optimum way to improve your position at the advertisement auction. With a complete overview of your affiliate funnel, you gain actionable insights on what triggers conversions and produces sales. It’s a crucial edge that can assist improve your ROAS.

In this guide, I showed you 3 ways to utilize Google Analytics as an affiliate marketer. You can utilize Google Event Tracking to keep an eye on individuals who click on your affiliate links. With Goal Values established, you can track your projects’ likely outcomes. Additionally, you can run retargeting projects and create Custom Audiences for future advertising campaign.

Through the Google Analytics dashboards, you can get insights into your website visitors’ actions. You can utilize these insights to verify the presumptions you make when running conversion optimization tests.

While Google Analytics is an effective tool, you can’t see what actions people take when they leave your site. You get access to this data if you integrate off-site tracking. Most third-party tools, such as the one we produced, enable you to utilize Google Analytics to get a complete introduction of your affiliate marketing funnel.

As an affiliate online marketer, off-site tracking integrated with Google Analytics provides you with valuable insights that can help you improve your ROAS. Follow the steps shared in this guide to see the results on your own.

Laurent Malka is Co-founder of AnyTrack.io, a plug & & play conversion tracking platform. He can be found on Twitter @laurent_malka.