Affiliate marketing is a process with many middlemen, companies, networks, tools, and products involved. Simply speaking, it’s just finding means to promote a chosen product on the internet. In reality, it’s a rabbit hole with hundreds of ongoing processes of varying difficulty.
If you’re a complete newbie, you don’t need a tracker or any commission management software. However, if you’ve launched your first campaign and feel the need to improve your efforts – a tracker is the best affiliate marketing tool to get.
That’s why we decided to gather all relevant information in one place. Read the article to find out what the current best affiliate trackers are and how to choose the best option for your business.
Is using a tracking affiliate software necessary?
That depends on how serious you are about affiliate marketing. But if you actually want to make money then yes, tracking is pretty much necessary. Traffic sources usually offer basic reporting features. However, if you want to create strategies based on data, you need more than just basics.
Finding a tracking solution is the first step to becoming a pro affiliate marketer.
Trackers might seem like an expensive tool to invest in. Especially for beginners who are not yet even making three-digit numbers per day. Investing in an expensive campaign management software can put a strain on your budget.
Performance marketing is characterized by the need for constant performance monitoring. The more money you want to make the deeper the research you do should be. And researching only starts with spy tools and recommendations. Sure, if you don’t know how to start, what offers to choose, and where to run them, you should talk to the communities and affiliate managers. But that’s only the beginning.
Figuring out the market is best done on a trial and error basis. When everyone is telling you that the only way to advertise nutra is by making advertorials, you should come up with alternatives and test them against each other. Tracking software is necessary to help you with that kind of research.
What to look for in an affiliate marketing tracker?
There are so many great ad tracking software solutions available on the market, everyone can find something for themselves. A beginner is going to have completely different needs than an affiliate marketing veteran. Some people run five campaigns a day, some teams go up to hundreds of campaigns. There are also marketing agencies working on huge volumes of traffic.
Of course, each tracker has a variety of subscription plans available. So, if you’re worried about outgrowing your limits then you really shouldn’t. The support team will make sure your plan grows with you.
Now, if you’re an affiliate marketer who would describe themselves as having a beginner to intermediate level of experience, you should pay close attention to the following features.
Self-hosted vs. cloud-based solutions
The biggest affiliate tracking dilemma – should you choose a cloud-hosted or self-hosted solution. As always, there are advantages and disadvantages to both options although when it comes to beginner media buyers the advice is clean cut.
Self-hosted solutions require you to have experience in administering systems and working with servers. You would need to do your own setup and the accuracy of tracking your affiliate links and conversion rate will be dependent on the infrastructure you create. If you have some experience in that area or feel comfortable about getting that knowledge, self-hosted solutions are perfect for you.
The main benefit of self-hosting is cost savings. Opting for a self-hosted tracking software allows you to run unlimited amounts of traffic without any extra costs. However, considering the hassle of creating, maintaining, and updating a server on your own, such solutions might not be ideal for beginners that are not tech-savvy.
Cloud-based solutions tend to have an easy setup process and you can track, analyze and optimize your campaign almost immediately without worrying about infrastructure. The downside is that all of your clicks are counted and if you scale your business you’ll need to pay overages or upgrade the plan.
Once you’re past the choice of hosting options, you should think about what kind of a plan you need. Affiliate trackers have various names for their plans although the drill is simple: they go from basic to agency-sized advanced.
The more traffic you drive to your offers the more events per month you’ll need to track. Some affiliate trackers also offer bonus free events. It’s always good to take advantage of that at the start.
Before committing to a plan, it’s best to assess your plans for growth. Affiliate marketers who have sufficient budgets and plan to turn affiliate marketing into a full-time job should take that into consideration. While a free trial is a good place to start, choosing a subscription that will meet your needs for the foreseeable future is an important action.
Commission management features
A tracker is an affiliate marketing software that deals partially with commission management. That’s why this feature and any closely related feature is an important part of picking the right tool.
Apart from tracking data, clicks, page visits, and user behavior, you’ll be tracking your commissions as well. Not only is it important to choose the best affiliate software with as little downtime as possible, but it’s also crucial to have traffic source integrations for smooth cost tracking.
Fraudulent clicks happen. They always happen, no matter how many anti-fraud tools and protective measures are used. Traffic sources do their best to filter out suspicious traffic but if anything does get through it’s important to have another line of defense.
In general, the more bot-blocking, auto-detection bot filtering features, the better. While subscription plans with a better focus on protection tend to be more expensive, they save you some money and trouble by blocking anything that could cost you a ban in an affiliate network or just a few cents of pointless spending.
Support and documentation
No other affiliate marketing platform seems as intimidating as tracking software. There is a whole lot of data to deal with and even though this affiliate software does it for you, you still need to have a grasp on what’s going on.
Customer support is extremely important for beginners who might need a lot of support. Additionally, real-time live chat is a luxury that might provide priceless help. Looking for a tracker, it’s smart to pick one with a number of various learning resources. Personal onboarding is highly recommended for beginner affiliates.
Best affiliate tracking software
Without further ado, let’s go through the best solutions available on the market in 2021.
This one does not need an introduction. Voluum is by far the most popular cloud-hosted tracker and a winner of multiple awards in the ‘Best Tracker’ category. It’s integrated with a large number of traffic sources, including Google Ads and Facebook, and it’s also fully integrated with Zeropark.
They have a variety of plans to match the needs of every kind of client. Their strongest points include no downtime since 2015, Automizer, mobile app, and customer support team that will match the price of your current tracker if you’re planning to switch teams. Here are some other benefits:
- Extensive real-time reporting with instant data access & raw data
- AI-powered automatic campaign optimization for offers, landers, and paths
- Traffic source integrations with auto-rules, custom alerts, and more available via Automizer
- Various anti-fraud solutions & Anti-Fraud Kit
- Collaboration tools perfect for affiliate teams
- Up to 24 months of data history and custom domains included in the plans
- Various tracking options including redirectless
- 7 AWS hosting regions
The monthly costs are $69 per month for the Discover plan, $149 for the Profit plan, and $499 for the Grow plan. There are, of course, custom solutions for agencies and businesses as well. Although you don’t get a free trial there is a 7-day demo to check out how the product works.
BeMob is another cloud-based tracking software that is perfect for beginners because of the free plan. For those who haven’t had a chance to spread their wings yet, the free version of this easy-to-use tracker is the ideal solution.
What makes BeMob special is the 11 AWS regions that ensure fast and flawless conversion tracking. Also, the customizable workspace is perfect for those who always want to have things their way. Other benefits include:
- Multi-offer, landing page, and banner tracking
- Real-time tracking with or without redirects
- Unlimited custom domains with SSL
- Advanced tracking distribution rules
- Raw data access and detailed reporting system
- Advanced teamwork solutions
Apart from the completely free Basic plan, the price per month lands at $49 for the Professional plan, $249 for the Business plan, and $499 for the Enterprise plan. Who needs a free trial if you have a free plan, right?
Binom is yet another popular and loved tracker. Despite being self-hosted it has a ton of benefits and the customer support is said to have epically quick response times. The biggest advantage? No overage charges, nothing to stop from spontaneously doubling or tripling traffic (as long as your server can do it, of course).
There is plenty of reasons why Binom is always on the list of the best affiliate tracking software:
- In-depth data insights with highly customizable reports
- Custom events (including such trifles as landing page scroll percentage)
- Fully flexible commission management system
- Installation help, real-time system monitoring, and instant support
- Fraud detection solutions
- Fast reporting and forever data retention (it’s self-hosted, so.. obviously!)
There is a 14-day free trial and after that, you can buy the Binom license for $99 per month with a possibility to add additional licenses for $49 per month. All that excellent 24/7 customer support? Yeah, that’s for free.
RedTrack is the perfect cloud-based affiliate tracking software for teams and agencies. Apart from that, of course, it’s full of useful and innovative features that will come in handy for solo media buyers with various levels of experience at affiliate marketing campaigns.
The strongest feature of RedTrack is that they never stop innovating. The brand-new features just keep coming and RedTrack is said to really listen to what their customers have to say. Some of their best features include:
- Traffic source multi-account integration
- Real-time fraud detection
- Easy to use user-interface
- Auto-optimization algorithms
- Multi-currency advanced commission management
- Advanced workspace customization
- Redirectless link tracking & various integrations
RedTrack has many pricing plans with a varied number of features. The Basic plan starts at $49 per month, the Pro plan $99, the Team plan $199 and the advanced Agency plan starts at $449. Of course, you test the platform before committing with a 14-day free trial that doesn’t require entering your credit card number.
ThriveTracker gives you the option to choose between self-hosted and cloud-hosted options. This affiliate software has initially been a cheaper, self-hosted alternative to Voluum but it grew into its own platform with distinct characteristics.
Thrive Tracker gives you the unique possibility to estimate quite accurately how much you’ll have to pay for the number of clicks you drive to your affiliate links. But the cool website slider is not all it has to offer:
- 9 AWS hosting regions
- Anti-fraud and bot detection solutions
- Domain control & traffic filtering
- AI Optimization & Campaign auto-scaling
- Multiple landing page set-up
- Faster redirects
As we’ve mentioned earlier, the draggable slider will show you the price you’ll pay based on how many clicks you need to track every month. However, there are still simple plans that start at Cloud Lite for $39 per month, followed by Cloud Classic for $99, Cloud Pro for $249, Cloud Entrepreneur for $425, and Cloud Enterprise for $899. You can of course request a custom Cloud Elite plan, but at the very beginning, we just recommend the 14-day free trial.
CPV Lab Pro
CPV Lab Pro is another self-hosted position on the list. It was launched (or rather re-launched) in 2018 and immediately earned the trust and love of affiliates all over the world. It frequently gets praised by the community for improvements and quality of service.
While a self-hosted solution might not be for everyone, CPV Lab Pro makes it pleasantly easy to set everything up. With solid customer support and a long trial period, this affiliate tracking software is definitely one of the top ones out there. More benefits include:
- Over 35 Mobile Data points to track and optimize campaign performance
- Automatic cookie and cookie-less tracking
- Flexible tracking and optimizing across multiple traffic sources
- Easy-to-use setup wizard
- No limits and overcharging due to being self-hosted
- Various affiliate program/network/traffic source integrations
Now for the plan options, you’ve got an impressively long 30-day free trial of the Pro version that otherwise costs $59 per month. But no this is not the most basic plan. CPV Lab Pro has a completely free Starter plan with limited functionality but enough features to satisfy every beginner. Then there is also the Expert plan for $89 per month for bigger affiliate management needs.
AdsBridge is a web-based affiliate tracking software which apart from covering the usual affiliate tracking tasks, also offers plenty of unique features. It’s one of the relatively new trackers in the industry with only 4-years of experience but already a great reputation.
AdsBridge is more than just a tracker. They also have their own smartlinks and a lander builder but that’s only some of the features. Additional benefits include:
- Intuitive visual landing page editor
- HTML editor with templates ready-made landing pages
- PPC effectiveness monitoring
- Fraud detection with customizable metrics
- URL rotator with auto-optimization features
- Free plan with unlimited visits for AdsBridge smartlinks and offers
The starter plan costs $29 per month but if you’re happy running AdsBridge smartlinks, you can use the free plan. Other options include $89 for a Professional plan, $199 for Advanced, and $379 for the Business plan. Of course, smartlinks remain free for every plan and you can give the tracker a test run for two weeks thanks to the free trial.
LandingTrack is the affiliate tracking solution that takes pride in its many integrations. With this tracker, affiliates can sleep soundly as all of their affiliate campaigns are managed and monitored straight from this cloud-based solution.
While LandingTrack doubles as an affiliate management tool and optimizer, it’s also got the highest data and cost accuracy tracking available. Other perks include:
- Directly integrated with the biggest traffic sources and affiliate networks in the industry
- Remote campaign management from the tracker’s dashboard
- Fraud detection
- Real-time analytics for your advertising campaigns
- 24-month data history and up to unlimited custom domains included
- High free ad spend limit for integrated sources
The LandingTrack tracking software offers a 15-day free trial. Once that’s over and you’re happy with the product, you can get the Starter plan for $49 per month, a Professional plan for $99, or a Business plan for $249. If you’re dreaming big then the Master plan is $449 and if that’s still not enough you can ask for a custom plan.
Chrome/Safari/iOS updates vs. tracking in affiliate marketing
The biggest threat to affiliate marketing is always the updates. No matter what browser or OS you’re using companies are always trying to bring innovations and limit tracking options. Every time a new update is announced the web is full of questions like:
Is 3rd party cookie tracking dead?
What will be the effect of the Google Privacy Sandbox?
What does iOS 14 mean for tracking?
If you think trackers can be bested by these changes then you are most likely wrong. And if you don’t believe us just yet, we’ve brought the experts from Voluum to explain to you what these updates really mean and how trackers are always finding ways to beat them.
“Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Protection, Google’s Privacy Sandbox, Enhanced Tracking Protection in Firefox, and overall fight for the more private web has been in motion for quite some time now.
We are facing 3rd party cookies blockage in a full form (Safari), partially (Firefox, for known tracker domains), or optionally (Chrome, opt-in, and by default in privacy mode). Add to that first-party cookie bounce tracking protection, cookie lifetime limitations in different scenarios and browsers, and last by not least – stripping down available to advertiser data through iOS14 changes and further ones within Privacy Sandbox proposals.
It might seem that tracking your ad campaigns is becoming near to impossible. But is it really so?
The industry is constantly changing, that’s a fact. With the aforementioned projects, some of the scenarios might be harder for advertisers to cover, that’s a fact, too – e. g. retargeting that could be heavily based on device identifiers or conversion tracking through 3rd party cookies. Some businesses might be heavily affected by the ongoing changes (Facebook’s tracking pixel being probably the best example).
Nonetheless, there are workarounds, and an ad tracker can help you with putting them in place. We, at Voluum, constantly improve our tracking mechanisms to give you an opportunity to track without 3rd party cookies, without additional redirects, and make tracking easier for you. As the market changes, so do we, and we can assure you that we keep an eye on all new challenges you have, closely monitor the market, and listen to your concerns and needs.”
Other useful affiliate marketing tools
Tracker is the most basic affiliate marketing software. All you need to launch a campaign is an ad network and an affiliate network. All you need to make a profit is to act on the gathered data. Sometimes that might be enough to earn a side income. But sometimes, you might need a bit more.
Pro affiliate marketers use all kinds of software. The bigger the budget, the more money you can stream into your affiliate business. And all that additional software can really increase your conversion rate.
Spy tools allow you to do just that – gain insights into the ads and offers that have been running the longest. Without spying on others, you’ll be going in blind. And while this is a good method that may help you discover new profitable offers, you might need to burn some budget before you find a gem.
Landing page builders are another must-have when going pro. Although you can often find a ready-made landing page included in the affiliate program you applied to, this is usually a lander that’s being used by many others.
In your affiliate marketing career, you will most likely try all kinds of offers. Being able to develop, adjust, and design your own lander is going to be an advantage.
Of course, there are numerous other tools that you can use to improve your business. You might need a hosting service, an image editor, a copywriter for hire, maybe a grammar checker if you feel like creating your own copy, SEO tools, auto-optimization software, and anything else that might aid a successful conversion flow.
Digital marketing is something that requires you to use performance marketing software. Just like in any business, you won’t go far if you try to do everything alone. Sure, if you’re skilled at programming and like data, you can create your own tracker. But with so many great options available on the market, it’s just not worth the hassle.
Affiliate marketing software includes more tools with different purposes. You need to have a product to advertise, you need to have traffic, and then you should have various other helpers like trackers, commission management tools, landing page builders, top affiliate marketing guides, digital marketing spying software, and resources for media buyers.
All in all, the affiliate tracker is the best affiliate software to invest in. Get data, analyze it, and draw conclusions. A good strategy always pays off!