It surprises me when other affiliates don’t know exactly how much they’ve made each day or week.
To know your numbers, you have to record them manually. Why should you record your profits when you can see how much you make through trackers like Voluum.com?
It’s because Voluum.com’s data is not 100% accurate. The costs are based on estimates. Trackers are great for getting a quick overview and for analyzing data, but they shouldn’t be your only tool.
My spreadsheets are for me to record my exact revenue and costs. I want to know exactly how much money I made each day. If you have employees and you’re giving them a percentage, you have to take that into account and calculate what your real profits are.
I have been launching campaigns for 6 years, and I have every single profit recorded. It’s nice to have these numbers for accounting reasons and for referencing your old campaign data.
I’m re-launching a campaign I was running earlier this year. Because I switched from CPVLabs to Voluum, I don’t have access to any of the old data, provided by the platform. But at least I have the Excel sheets so I can see which countries/traffic sources were the most profitable.
To help you with your tracking tasks, I am giving you two spreadsheet templates I have used myself.
I recommend this template for newbies or people running a few campaigns.
Record all the information here, e.g., clicks, cost per click, landing page clicks, etc. Typing in all the numbers yourself will give you a deeper understanding of how the metrics affect each other.
Play around with the data to see how you can increase your profit.
How can you become more profitable? Here are a few ideas:
- decrease your cost per click (higher CTR on ads, buy ads in bulk)
- increase your payout (ask your affiliate manager for a bump, go direct)
- increase your conversion rate on the offer (higher converting ads/landing page copy, better targeting)
- increase your landing page effectiveness (better landing page copy/headlines/pictures)
In simple terms: affiliate marketing is about lowering your CPM and increasing your eCPM.
Download the Deeper Analytics Template
I run campaigns across many verticals, placements and traffic sources. At some point, it becomes too much work to track everything.
Instead, I just track the total profits, and I use Voluum.com to analyze the data.
Download the Profit Overview Template
Recording the Data
I do the analytics myself each morning. I set a 30-minute timer to record the data, and then I analyze it.
I used to outsource the analytics task. Someone else would log into all the traffic sources/affiliate networks and record the data for me. I would get a nice email each day with an in-depth overview, accompanied by fancy charts.
If you know Ngo, then you know I’m a fan of delegation, but not in this case. I stopped outsourcing data recording and analysis for a couple of reasons:
- Typing in the numbers myself allows me to understand them better. It’s like reading a book vs reading a book and taking notes.
- I don’t want any errors. One time my helper recorded the data incorrectly, and I made optimizations based on faulty information. It cost me a lot of money.
I have a programmer friend that has the data completely automated to avoid any errors. That’s another great solution you should consider.
Should you use Excel or Google docs? It doesn’t really matter – either one works. I switched over to Google docs because it makes it easier to share the information with a team. I record the data, and my employees can see the numbers but can’t change them.
I like to match the timezone to the data perfectly. If the traffic source is showing you the data in PST time, then make sure your stats are also showing in PST time. Fortunately, most affiliate networks are using CAKE, which lets you choose the timezone.
Tabs are your friend to help you keep data cleaner. A tab can represent a country, traffic source or a vertical. How you want to use it is up to you.
Sometimes you will be sending visitors from a few different traffic sources to the same offer. How would you separate the revenue from each traffic source? You could utilize additional SUBIDs to keep track of the sources, e.g, SUBID3=PlentyofFish (or use a code if you don’t want to let your network see the sensitive information).
In my current setup, every big traffic source has its own sheet. For example, Adwords has its own document. Mobile is one big document, but I have a tab for the traffic sources. I also have a “master” sheet that records profits for everything.
Remember this is your document. Personalize it the way you want. Add charts to help you visualize your data, or add or remove metrics to deepen your understanding of it.
Start treating your affiliate campaigns like a real business. Without knowing exact numbers, you can’t make the best decisions for your campaign. The numbers tell a story. Tracking them with precision will give you the clues you need to get your campaigns to massive profitability.
Did you enjoy this post? Want more templates/giveaways? Share this post, or comment below to let me know. Also, if you have a template you want to share, feel free to leave it in the comments.