Affiliate marketing is a pay-per-performance business model. Brands subcontracted their marketing strategy to independent contractors. When those marketers refer visitors to their website, they compensate them for leads, sales or other actions they take.
Affiliate marketing has been around for at least 20 years. Amazon, Plenty of Fish and many other big brands have paid affiliates for leads and revenue they generate. However, affiliate marketing is becoming more complicated than ever. Successful affiliates need to take advantage of big data to carve a competitive edge.
Why big data is redefining affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketers have always depended on data to create profitable campaigns. They need to know which elements of their campaign are working in which need to be cut. Here are some ways big data has helped them.
Using Better Tracking Tools
Here are some ways affiliates use data to optimize their campaigns:
- Determining which ads and landing pages convert the best.
- Seeing how subtle changes in their ads affect CTR and conversions.
- Identifying the best performing traffic sources.
Affiliate tracking technology has been around for around 15 years. Tools such as prosper202 and CPV View make it easier for affiliate marketers to test and optimize their campaigns. Luke Kling has written a blog post on the importance of using third-party tracking tools in affiliate marketing:
“Using a 3rd party tracking system is one of the milestones to becoming a more serious affiliate marketer. Most affiliates start out simply direct linking using their favorite affiliate network’s links, but as you grow as a publisher you find that using your own tracking software has many advantages. You will be provided more data, you’ll have easier access to all that data, and you will be able to track clicks and conversions across multiple offers and networks easier.”
However, older affiliate tracking tools have proven to be insufficient in recent years. Bids on most popular advertising networks have surged. Affiliates need to create more sophisticated funnels to remain competitive in increasingly crowded niches. These funnels require affiliates to collect larger amounts of data.
Most advertising platforms are allowing Affiliates to track other types of data, so they can use additional tokens. For example, RTX platform allows Affiliates to track the different channels their traffic broker’s use. This allows Affiliates to cut poor performing channels.
Tracking higher volumes of traffic from disruption marketing campaigns
Many affiliates use disruption marketing strategies to promote their offers. PPV is one of the most common forms of disruption marketing. It relies on pop ads to reach customers.
While pop traffic on RTX and Propel Media (formerly known as Traffic Vance) has decreased over the past year, other networks have actually increased the amount of pop traffic they are promoting. This gives super affiliates a chance to scale their campaigns better, but they must track a lot more data.
Fortunately, there are a lot of big data hosting solutions that make it easier for them to track this data. They can host their trackers on cloud-based networks and have all the RAM they need.
More accurate analytics for organic campaigns
While the most successful Affiliates earn most of their money through paid traffic, many affiliates also build their own web properties to promote offers. According to The Blog Starter, big data is changing the strategies of performance marketers that use organic traffic as well.
Google and Bing stopped allowing publishers to track organic keyword traffic. This has forced publishers to track other variables to optimize their web properties. More sophisticated analytics tools have made this possible.
Big Data is changing the Future of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a rapidly changing profession. Successful affiliates need to either keep up with recent developments or perish. Fortunately, big data has made it much easier for affiliates to optimize their campaigns.