What next for affiliate tracking?
2012 has seen big improvements to affiliate tracking, with Affiliate Window now reporting at a device level and offering facilities such as stay date tracking for hotel campaigns. With these in mind, we've been giving some thought as to what the next steps could be for tracking our campaign performance.
Tracking bounce rate and time spent on site at an affiliate level would allow us to gain an understanding of the quality of the traffic sent by each individual affiliate. Whilst we can (to an extent) achieve this with conversion rate analysis, just because a click didn't convert to a sale doesn't mean the traffic isn't good quality. A consumer who spent 10 minutes browsing your site is still worth something, even if they don't convert within the 30 day cookie window.
Tracking impressions for text links would also be really useful. Whilst this might be available on some networks, the majority will track impressions for banners only, which makes it more difficult for us to understand the true reach of our affiliate exposure.
With these improvements in place, we'd be able to consider more creative ways of remunerating affiliates, beyond the traditional CPA model.