Why is it important to use an affiliate tracking software
In affiliate marketing, data collection and further optimization are key practices to a successful campaign, rather than hoping for the best and ending up with a nonsense mix of information. And getting an ad tracker is the best way to gather all this data, measure its performance, and manage your campaigns. Having a tracker will allow you to have all the data in one single place. Most of the affiliates are using different traffic sources and, even though we provide all the needed data you need to optimize the campaigns, it’s even better if you can have all of this combined with the data from other traffic sources. In addition, you will also be able to check for the data of your landers and optimize it!
So, basically, ad trackers are essential as they allow users to measure data. And without measuring it, there’s no way to improve a campaign. So they’ve become a basic key in order to have consistent and regular revenues.
How do Ad Trackers work?
Ad trackers collect and aggregate campaign data from all of your campaigns through redirects. After someone clicks on your ad they are sent first to your tracker where all the information about that click like source, country, device, etc is recorded. Then they are immediately redirected to your offers landing page. This ideally happens in a blink of an eye so the time to load your offer is not significantly affected.
Some ad trackers now provide optimization tools to help you auto-optimize all your campaigns across different sources all in one place. This is done through direct integration between traffic sources like pushground and the trackers.
Main considerations when choosing a tracker
When talking about trackers, we can gather them in different groups. The choice of whether to use one type or another depends on different factors such as:
- Data privacy
When using a cloud-based server, all the data for your campaigns is stored in another company’s server. If the case is that you want more privacy, then a self-hosted tracker is the best option for you. On the other hand, if there is no conflict of interest in your case, feel free to use a cloud-based one.
- Backend servers
When going for a self-hosted tracker, there is a setup process behind it that requires some prior experience. You will have to find out the specifications needed in order to host the tracker, install it on your server, setup monitoring, etc. So, it requires extra work, and depending on your willingness to do that or not, you’ll have to choose between a self-hosted and cloud-hosted tracker.
There is an obvious difference in price between one type of tracker and the other one. In general, self-hosted trackers are cheaper for the user plus you don’t have to pay for clicks, they’re unlimited.
So again, you can choose between them depending on the price. Bear in mind that cloud-hosted trackers are overall more expensive but they come with other advantages, and depending on your needs one or another will be better for you.
Self-hosted trackers give you more control over the speed of your redirects by allowing you to host your tracker on faster servers closer to your campaigns. Although most cloud-hosted trackers nowadays are pretty fast so it might not make a huge difference. Still, it’s important to test the speed of your tracker because every second long your ad takes to load, you could be missing out on more conversions.
Types of trackers
- Cloud-hosted trackers with optimization features (Voluum, Redtrack, The Optimizer, Landing Track, BeMob, Kintura): not only are they trackers, but they also come with optimization features. Although they might be a little more expensive, they can help you save a ton of time.
- Managed or Cloud hosted (Keitaro,AdsBrigde, Thrive Tracker, Funnelflux): in this case, users only have to register and start using the service. It doesn’t require any kind of extra installation. In contribution, users have to increase their spending on the tracker as their traffic volume increases.
- Self-hosted trackers (Binom, Funnelflux, Thrive Tracker): the users can download and install the trackers in their own server, personally managing them. It carries an extra step with some possible complications but once installed, they have a great value no matter the volume of traffic being managed. They require prior experience as the setup process is complex, although when correctly set up it has many advantages, such as more privacy and speed.
Cloud-hosted trackers with full optimization features
Voluum is a cloud-hosted platform and the most popular tracker in the industry, it comes with a big variety of features, which makes it one of the most complete trackers!
It allows you to track your campaigns regardless of their format, as well as optimizing and automating them, making your life much easier.
You can integrate your account with Pushground and set up rules and alerts, create whitelists and blacklists, and access to regular targeting reports, among other things.
Starting from $69, there are different pricing options and as for other platforms, the prices vary depending on the features needed and on the volume that you want to reach. All of them include the Automizer option. Check here to see the different available plans:
From self-managing option to security features, Voluum has all the tools a marketer needs in order to make profitable campaigns, such as:
- Impression tracking
- Custom conversion tracking
- Multiple cost models
- Direct tracking pixel
- Traffic source & affiliate network templates
- Tracking domains with SSL
- Rule-based targeting
- Anti-fraud kit
- Lander protection script
- API reporting
- Extensive reporting
- Mobile app
And much more!
This amazing tool will allow you to integrate your traffic sources via API integration, and therefore auto-pilot your campaigns allowing Voluum to act on them quickly when your performance suddenly changes
- Create auto rules
- Auto updates
- pause/activate campaigns
- Change bids
- Exclude non converting sites
- Create whitelists and blacklists
Redtrack is a cloud-hosting ad tracker that allows you to both manage and analyze your campaigns. Its website is designed to be simple and attractive regardless of your experience, without missing any of the important features a tracker should have. They especially care about client support, providing a good service, and making the marketer’s life much easier.
Prices in Redtrack depend both on usage and frequency of payment.
There are 4 main categories, Basic ($49, $30 annually), Pro ($99 , $60 annually) Team ($199, $120 annually) and Agency ($399, $240 annually).
There is also a free 15-day trial!
Redtrack meets the needs of both newbies and experienced users, providing them with a large number of features. Users in the earlier stages in affiliate marketing experience can benefit from some of them, such as:
- Multiple integrations
- Intuitive interface
- Granular reporting with several dimension points
As well as those with a greater experience in the industry, who will find useful:
- The possibility of tracking any kind of traffic
- Domain customization
- Multi-user access
- Flexible postback settings
- Fraud filtering
Pushground’s discount: Use the promo code PUSHGROUND to get 25% off the first three months at RedTrack with all the features.
The Optimizer is mainly focused on automatic optimization as well as campaign management. It’s technically not a tracker but more a cloud-based automation platform but because of its popularity among affiliates, we thought we would add it to the list. It connects directly to trackers and traffic sources to provide more complete data in one place to better optimize your campaigns. The Optimizer is integrated with Pushground with an API-based integration, that will allow you to fully control your spend on all your campaigns.
For push/pop and redirect traffic, there are three pricing options, Mobile Started ($99/month), Mobile Pro ($199/month), and Mobile Master ($299/month), and the difference in prices is built upon different features and possibilities. All options come with a 15-day free trial to let you make a better idea of what you can expect!
Their main features are related to campaign automation and management, such as:
- Automatic rules
- Campaign budget management
- System activity
- Accurate analytics
- Bid management
As well as others to help you controlling your campaigns:
- Campaign-level rules
- Publisher-level rules
24/7 live support is available for their clients and who just like premium support when needed.
Pushground’s discount: Use the discount code PGTIPS in the below link and Get 69% OFF your 1st month of subscription.
Landing Track is another tracker that comes with auto-optimization tools. Its tracking software is cloud-based and it is also API-based integrated with Pushground.
Doesn’t matter if you run Push, Pop, Redirect, Display, or Native campaigns, Landing Track is a fit for all of them!
Like almost all trackers, prices depend on what the plan offer, all of them including a free trial.
For this tracker, they start (on a monthly basis) from $49, followed by $99, $249, and $449. There is also the option of adapting the plan, which can be requested.
The main features that Landing Track is offering are related to Campaign Automation, such as rules to optimize your campaigns, to block non-converting sources, etc.
- Campaign automation
- Offers capping
- Bot defender
- Real-time analytics
- API integrated advertisers
- API traffic sources
- A/B testing for landers
Pushground’s Promo: Pushground users can get a free 30-day trial along with 1 month free with a 2-month subscription, 2 months free with a 4-month subscription, or 4 months free with a 6-month subscription. Signup here.
BeMob is also a cloud-hosted tracker, and a very interesting option considering its free plan. So, it’s a fair tracker for beginners, including up to 100.000 clicks per month for free, plus an initial bonus of 1.000.000 clicks.
As previously mentioned, BeMob is allowing users to use their server for free up to a certain level of traffic.
Furthermore, they are also offering price-competitive plans, starting from $49/month to $499/month, depending on the volume of clicks, the data retention period, the price per click, and the domain customization.
BeMob is offering a large number of features within a simple and easy panel, that lets users use multiple methods of tracking the traffic.
- Tracking with or without redirect
- Multi cost model (CPA, CPM, CPV, RevShare), as well as auto or manual payout method
- Multi offer, Landings, and Banners tracking
- Custom domains with SSL
- Custom conversions
- Cookieless tracking
- Advanced rules & targeting
- Anti-fraud system
- Real-time stats
And much more!
Kintura is a leader in cloud-based trackers that prides itself on its infrastructure, integrity, and power. They offer an all-in-one tracking solution for native, push banner, and pop traffic. Kintura also is starting to provide more auto-optimization tools to their users but for now, the number of traffic sources with this feature is limited.
Kintura is priced for larger operations with their main plans fluctuating between $199 and $999 a month. They do offer a great free plan that includes up to one million events per month but they limit their best features.
Kintura comes packed with features including:
- Real AI algorithm
- Easy stackable whitelists and blacklists
- Virtual whitelisting
- Bot detection
- Proxy detection
Adsbridge is the perfect fit for those larger affiliates and agencies. They provide a large sphere of tools without limiting the functionality of the users based on their pricing plan.
The platform is also one of the most intuitive and attractive, and it allows you to quickly integrate with a great variety of traffic sources.
Their prices depend on the expertise level as well as the payment method. Starting from $29 for a Starter Plan, to $89 for the Professional one, followed by $199 for the Advanced Plan, and finally $399 for the Business one, all charged monthly. When the payment is made yearly, all the plans have a discount.
Apart from the common optimizing options, AdsBridge provides its users with quick redirects, saving both their time and money.
- Traffic distribution system
- Split testing
- Campaign auto-optimization
- Detailed targeting
- Landing page customization
- Fraud filter
- Daily capping
- Multi-user access
Pushground’s discount: Use the promo code PushAdsBridge to get a 15% discount on all AdsBridge packages except their Starter package.
Keitaro is another cloud-based tracker that will ensure users manage their campaigns, generate useful reports, and provide security against bots, spam, and harmful traffic. It is a fit for solo marketers as well as for companies who want to manage all of their data and traffic in one secure location.
Prices in Keitaro start for $25/month, with the possibility to upgrade the plan to $40/month or $70/month depending on the features needed. There is also the option of saving up to 30% on the price when paying it yearly.
There is also the option of a 7 days free trial!
- No redirects
- All stats inside the tracker
- Traffic distribution
- Built-in landing pages and offers editor
- Ultimate integration opportunities
- Link protection
- Flexible settings
- Fully functional API
Pushground’s discount: Use the promo code PUSHGROUND to get a 20% discount for the very first purchase of Keitaro.
Cloud-hosted and self-hosted trackers
Thrive Tracker is both a self-hosted and a cloud-hosted tracker, and it is a platform to be used in all existing traffic sources. It is possible and easy to create campaigns in mass, as well as getting clean data. It will allow you to focus on competition, strategy, and scaling instead of constant campaign management.
Like the other platforms, Thrive Tracker’s cost will depend on the type of service that you’re subscribing to, and they are offering a wide bunch of plans. Starting with $39 monthly, prices can vary a lot as shown in the following chart. There’s also the option of subscribing yearly so the prices will be cheaper, in all plans.
All the plans offered by them include basic features such as Al Optimization, offer capping, traffic source templates, custom redirections, etc.
- Bot filter
- Fast redirects
- Multi-user access
- Reporting API
- 30-day step by step email
- 24/7 email support
Same as the previous one, Funnelflux also provides self-hosted tracking software and cloud-hosted options. When being self-hosted, the initial setup will require some prior technical knowledge, which the support team at Funnelflux will provide.
It is an easy platform that will allow you to create, optimize, and make changes in your campaigns without the need of having certain skills. The platform is intuitive and has a visual interface.
Prices in Funnelflux depend on the version you’re using on the tracker (so, they’re different depending on if it’s cloud-hosted or self-hosted).
Self-hosted tracking software has a single price of $99/month, with no extra charges and an almost free first month!
If you would rather choose the managed hosting version, prices start at $49/month with the option to have a pro version starting at $99/month. Like all pricing plans, the difference in the price depends on the features needed by the user.
The stats provided by Funnelflux are diverse and you will find up to 60 KPI you’ll be able to use for analyzing your data.
You will have what is known as “Lifetime Value tracking”, a tool that will show you whether your leads are providing you with a good return on your investment.
Another useful feature is the Funnel Heatmaps, which will help you find gold mines very easily.
Some other features that you’ll find here are:
- Visual funnel builder
- Powerful reporting engine
- Multi-user support
- Self-hosted & managed options
- Multivariate testing
- Bot & custom traffic filtering
Pushground’s discount: Pushground users can get 10% off of each month of their self-hosted plan by signing up here.
Binom is a self-hosted tracking software and they define themselves as a tracker for professionals. One of their main advantages is the speed of clicks and report generation, which will make you reduce the time invested in a campaign at the same time that you maintain a good performance.
You can integrate your data via API to have access to all the functionalities and reports, which are generated almost instantly.
Binom offers a smooth interface that will help you learn fast and experience a boost in the efficiency of your campaigns
- Unlimited domains
- No redirects tracking
- Ultra-fast reporting
- Instant click processing
- Split testing
- Filtered system for white and blacklists
- Multi-user access
- 24/7 support with free tracker installation
- Group campaign reports for cross-analysis
Pushground’s discount: Pushground users can get a 30-day free trial plus 40% off the first month with the promo code PUSHGROUND.
Other honorable mentions
Expert insights from the industry leaders
Lastly, to provide some additional insight we reached out to some of the top names in tracking and automation providers. We asked them a few questions to help you avoid some common mistakes and determine the right tracker for you.
What are the main reasons you should use a tracker?
“Nowadays having a tracker to properly track the performance of the campaigns is an absolute must. And frankly, we quite often see people not using one. Skipping on such an important tool directly affects the optimization efficiency and accuracy of a campaign, which most of the time leads to negative results or improper evaluation of the performance of the campaigns.
Moreover, adding an automatic optimization tool in the loop of the campaigns’ management will multiply the ability to efficiently optimize campaigns in terms of volumes, scalability, and traceability. This is because even though most trackers try to report a close estimation of the real cost of the campaigns, that is not 100% accurate. Things which can lead to inaccurate decision making while tweaking bids, blocking publishers, ads, etc.
Using an automatic optimization tool will cover all the gaps between the traffic source and the tracker, while giving the ability to automate over 90% of the campaign optimization process, without having to waste time with manual optimization.”
Losid, The Optimizer
“We have recently covered the very same topic in our recent live stream. But to sum up, an ad tracker is a must-have tool to collect all your advertising /promo /referral data in one place for a single source of truth and transparency. It helps media buyers and advertisers turn every piece of data and insight into action and make optimization decisions to reach a higher ROI.
Besides, it’s not a secret that a tracker is not about tracking only. It’s about providing additional value, like real-time reporting without data sampling, auto-optimization based on campaign (or its elements) performance, alerts and notifications, and many more.”
What are the most common mistakes people make with regards to trackers?
“Generally speaking, on the tracker side, most new affiliates tend to overload their campaigns with multiple landing pages and offers without increasing their testing budget. This makes it impossible to reach statistical significance in order to make sound optimization decisions and therefore get negative results.
Besides that, like manually as well as with automatic campaign optimization tools, one of the common mistakes I’ve noticed over the years is that most people try to micro-manage or over-optimize their campaigns. This by either blocking publishers too soon, tweaking bids too often, or even updating their funnel too frequently. A series of continuous changes in the campaign optimization strategy that makes it virtually impossible to settle on a viable strategy.”
Losid, The Optimizer
“Well, the mistakes are often the same year after year. The top 1 mistake is probably the incorrect setup of postbacks. Sometimes people don’t like reading guides and watching videos, so they set up the links the way they used for one Network, for example, and don’t consider that the parameters of other networks might be different. In turn, it influences data losses and discrepancies.
Some other common mistakes with trackers relate to domain set up and adding a landing page. But the biggest plus is that working with trackers, you always see an error with the setup. So it’s super essential to promptly check the stats and make edits timely or refer to the tracker support team.”
What are the main things to look for when deciding on a tracker?
So far, the approach I’ve seen working best is the one where you let the data speak and influence the optimization decisions. It’s really not that difficult! One simply needs to acquire data, analyze them, then translate the pattern outcomes into actionable decisions. In the case of campaign optimizers, translate that into automatic rules. This way the overall optimization strategy ends up being more organized and reliable to get to the required results.
Losid, The Optimizer
“To sound impartial, while choosing a tracker, I would advise taking into account four criteria:
- Cost of ownership (e.g., Do you need to buy and maintain servers by yourself, or trackers cover that all? What is your traffic volume? Does the tracker have any hidden costs, like limits of certain features?)
- Needs /solutions match (the main question to ask – Can a tracker solve your particular needs?)
- Support (take into account the tracker’s support, onboarding assistance, and check feedback of other users on different review platforms)
- Vision (Does a tracker have a solid background and a concrete strategy on further development and feature implementation?)”
I want to add that, when choosing to go for an automatic campaign optimization platform, the things to look for are mainly the number of supported ad networks, tracking platforms, as well as the flexibility to create the right optimization rules for your campaigns. On this last one, being able to work with specific metric ranges, and/or include pre-conversion statistics in the optimization strategy, will help a ton in terms of testing budgets and time to reach the desired results.
Losid, The Optimizer