Without tracking your conversions, the world would end. Babies would cry, puppies would get abandoned on a lonesome road, seals would get clubbed, and the England would actually win a World Cup with its soccer team.
Yes, we may have exaggerated there a bit (England would never win a World Cup, even if hell froze over), but in all honesty, conversion tracking is one of the most important practices of every affiliate professional out there, and if you are not doing it, you are seriously missing out.
In this article, we will discuss the advantages of conversion tracking, how big of a deal this practice actually is, and give an example that sums up what most likely happens all too often nowadays.
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Simple as that. That sentence alone should be enough to peak your interest, but it is much more than that. Conversion tracking gives affiliates knowledge, empowers them and puts them in the driver's seat for all of their affiliate campaigns. It simplifies their workload, boosts their confidence, and shortens the time necessary to get some things done. Here is what it does:
So conversion tracking means paying attention to who is actually buying goods, downloading apps, making phone inquiries, essentially doing the things affiliates would like their visitors to do, once they are on their page or website.
But where did these visitors come from? Surely, every affiliate would love to know that. After all, they had to come from either some advertising campaign, social media activity or content that was published somewhere on the internet.
Affiliates had to spend some time creating an advertising or content strategy. They had to put in the hours determining target audiences, picking the right channels, analyzing possible keywords, preparing landing pages, writing or recording content. They had to work hard building ad creatives and learning which formats to use, writing and scheduling social media content, all down to including hashtags and similar search elements.
Conversion tracking helps affiliates understand if their efforts were in vain. Not realizing that hours upon hours of hard work were in vain can be classified as the end of the world. With conversion tracking, affiliates can learn which target audiences are more inclined on making a purchase. They can learn which keywords are bringing in more visitors that converted to sales. They can understand which ad campaigns brought in spenders, and which brought window shoppers.
Pay attention to the term window shopper. That’s the most important term here. Conversion tracking helps affiliates differentiate between need and interest.
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The best way to explain the difference between need and interest is through a real-life example. Let's say Affiliate Kate sells cars. She builds all this content related to the automotive industry with blogs, ebooks, podcasts and videos. She reviews different car models, discusses advantages of electric cars over those with internal combustion engines, and helps her readers save money on maintenance. She tackles the idea of autonomous vehicles and if people will lose jobs over them. She creates social media content, and sets up a strong ad campaign to better promote her site and the content she shares with the masses.
And it works! She gets clicks all over the place. People are consuming her content and seem happy with its quality. But - she notices that the bulk of her visitors comes from a particular group on Twitter. So she instinctively does what everyone would do - focuses her time, energy and funds on that group, (slightly) neglecting the minority of clicks she gets elsewhere.
Because she does not track conversions, she fails to realize that the group of her readers from Twitter is not really in need of buying a car. They do enjoy her content, love the fact that they learn a bunch of new things, but they never needed a car and never intended to buy one. They were just interested in learning something new. It is basically an equivalent to window shopping. You like what you see, but that is all there is to it.
If she does not track the conversion from leads to sales, Affiliate Kate will never be certain if she is not just giving fresh information to people that never intended of doing any business with her in the first place. For her, spending countless hours and a large budget on campaigns that don’t work is the end of the world.
That is why every hardcore affiliate professional will track conversions. Using analytics tools like Google Analytics just to monitor traffic won’t suffice, as affiliates need something to differentiate between traffic of high quality (need) and traffic of low quality (interest).
They need to track conversions and click rates of everything they do, including every social media post, every email campaign, and every ad campaign. Consider using social media management tools that allow you to create customized links. Using these links in your campaigns will help you track traffic and monitor visitors as they convert to leads and ultimately to sales.
Obviously, the world will not end if you do not track your conversions, but it will make your professional life difficult. Without conversion tracking, you are essentially tapping in the dark, trying to understand who the people around you are, and what their intentions really are. Even if you've done all the due diligence in choosing the right network and using the right tools, without conversion tracking you can never be certain if your content strategy is a solid one, or if the keywords you use for your ad campaign make any sense.
Finally, without conversion tracking, you can never be sure if your visitors really need to buy something that you are selling, or if they are essentially just window shopping. And you really should focus on the people who need whatever it is that you are offering.