Ultimate PPC Affiliate Tracking Software

I’ve said before that there are many different ways to make money online and blogging is just one of them. If you’re not the most articulate type, it might be in your best interest to attempt a different strategy. Affiliate marketing could be your calling, and in case you didn’t notice, it can also be pretty lucrative.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of numbers and stats that you’ll want to watch. It can all be quite overwhelming, because you want to know what PPC campaigns are working, which are not, and which affiliate programs are making the most money. To help you keep an eye on the entire process, Wes Mahler has created an online tool called Tracking 202. It’s 202, because this is so much heavier than a 100-level program.

Keep Track Of Your PPC Affiliate Campaigns

By and large, Tracking202 is geared toward a specific type of online marketer. The process is actually quite a bit more complicated than this, but it can be broken down into three critical steps.

  1. Set up a PPC ad campaign (Adwords, etc.)
  2. Use that campaign to drive traffic toward an affiliate offer.
  3. Be on the receiving end of the affiliate payout.

In a nutshell, the profit margin is the difference between what the advertiser (affiliate program) pays you for referring a customer their way and how much you’re paying for the pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. The most successful PPC campaigns are those that target the right keywords and have the most click-grabbing ad copy.

tracking202-banner.jpg

The way that an amateur would go about it is to set up a number of PPC campaigns and have them all link to the same affiliate URI. By doing this, they have no idea which campaign is the most effective at generating affiliate income. By using the Tracking202 affiliate tracking software, they can gain access to a whole myriad of information that will optimize these campaigns.

How It All Works

So, how does Tracking202 work? Instead of having the PPC campaign point directly to your affiliate URI, Tracking202 steps into the middle of the action by providing a redirect. The people who click on your Adwords ad, for example, would then be sent first to the Tracking202 page (though they don’t see it), and then they would either be sent to your landing page or directly to the affiliate offer. By going through the redirect, Tracking202 is able to keep track of click-ins and click-outs.

It is possible to mask this redirect just as John does with his other affiliate deals. For example, visitors see http://www.johnchow.com/go/azoogleads.php instead of the actual affiliate URI. The same can be done with the Tracking202 URI, giving visitors the impression that they are visiting a “legitimate” site, rather than some affiliate link.

Video Tutorials Make All The Difference

I’ll admit that I was initially pretty confused by what Tracking202 was all about, because the documentation on the main page wasn’t clearly laid out for noobies. As I said, this is Tracking202, meaning that it is meant for intermediate to advanced users. Thankfully, Wes Mahler has set up a number of tutorial videos that vividly illustrate not only how the affiliate tracking software works, but how you can use it.

tracking202-video.jpg

The first three videos, each of which is about 10 minutes, are particularly enlightening. Note that you need DivX to play these.

The pacing is good and the instructions are easy to follow. I don’t think I’d understand how to use Tracking202 if it weren’t for these videos.

The Matter of Privacy

All affiliate marketers will tell you that their keywords are their livelihood. By using a Tracking202 redirect — as is necessary for the tracking software to work — you are effectively opening up this data to the Tracking202 people. This data reveals which keywords convert the best and which provide the best rate of return. It’s easy to bid on “ringtones” on Adwords, but if you discovered a cheaper alternative that converts better, you wouldn’t want this information to get out.

tracking202-stats.jpg

As such, the biggest concern over Tracking202 is that of privacy. All of your data is hosted on their servers and while Wes seems like a stand-up guy, there’s no way of knowing whether he (or anyone else at Tracking202) is sneaking around, stealing your keywords. A self-hosted version would provide more assurance, but it would likely come with some limitations as well.

Can You Beat the Price of Free?

For anyone running a PPC affiliate campaign, Tracking202 appears to be an incredibly valuable tool, providing all sorts of incredibly useful information that will help you minimize costs (PPC) and maximize profit (affiliate income). The screenshots, like this one, are particularly revealing.

And the best part? Tracking202 is completely free. Wes plans on monetizing the service through small, unobtrusive advertising. Privacy issues aside, Tracking202 appears to be a very solid tracking solution for affiliate marketers and I’d say that it’s definitely worth a shot.


30 thoughts on “Ultimate PPC Affiliate Tracking Software”

  1. RacerX says:

    Nice Review and looks great. Love the video feature. Gonna check it out. Thanks Michael!

    1. Why is everything on JohnChow.com something I’ve already cued up to write about myself? I think John is stealing my thoughts! 👿

      1. Maybe he is psychic!

        1. ViralKing says:

          Chris, can you queue up to write about my site please? Maybe John will then read your thoughts and Ill get 2 reviews? 😈

  2. Gotta check it out a bit closer, especially since it’s free.

    1. Poker Sharks says:

      The downside is that all your affiliate resutls and keywords are hosted on his server so potentially he coulds steal your good campaigns.

      Just use google anaylitics until there is a version you can host on your own server so it cant be stolen.

      1. Wes Mahler says:

        Thank You John and Michael For the Review! Appreciate It!

        Hey Poker Sharks, I agree with you on the main concern being the keyword security issue, we made a decision early on to keep the user’s information safe our highest priority, for this I will personally promise you that you are the only one looking at your keyword data.

        Tracking202 is a free product because 202, our company is going to also introduce several other affiliate marketing products into the industry here shortly. Tracking202 will become a launch pad for the rest of the products which we believe will potentially make ultimately more money, than if we actually charged for the tracking service. I promise you that even since private alpha 7 months ago, every user that has registered and used T202 has had their data secure and this is the reason we still have users.

      2. And you don’t think some “non evil” web geek at Google is looking at your best keywords? Not!

        1. True on that, it is impossible to keep the keywords secret but it is possible to let as less people possible to know about the keywords (i.e. not publishing them for public).

          And since Tracking (as Wes announced) is going to release more softwares I doubt he would want to hurt his company and business by just stealing some keywords (well, depends on what the revenue would be heh).

          This is a really good and detailed review (and most importantly on topic too).

      3. HI Poker Sharks,

        I wanted to add that Google Analytics is a web analytics company and can not do half the things Tracking202 does. Two different types of companies that should not be confused with.

  3. Ecko says:

    Well, great info I’ve got here. Thanks a lot Mr. Chow…

  4. Jared says:

    I’ve been using T202 since it was alpha.

    It is a fantastic service not to mention Wes is an all-around great guy!

    No complaints since I’ve been using it. Look for him at ASW!

    1. RacerX says:

      THe videos cleared up some issues for me as well.

      Good stuff to at least review!

  5. pencil says:

    Such a great info and really good for me.Thank you mate!I will try this thing out later. 🙂

  6. Seems useful, as long as it is not any more work that I really want to do.

  7. This looks really great. I need a product like this and I watched the first video briefly and I’m pretty impressed with what I’m seeing. I’m not doing any ppc right now, but I’m itching to get back into it.

  8. Postal says:

    Really cool tool. I think its the perfect tool to actually get a nice visual of how much your actually earning for each PPC program your with! Thanks for the review John and Michael

    Postal

  9. That definitely looks like something worth checking out for anyone who owns a blog.

    Great review! :mrgreen:

  10. Marc says:

    I thought you said you would do a hosted version the other day on uberaffiliate. Look Wes, you may be an honest guy, but you can’t prove it. There is no way in hell I would upload my keywords to your site.

    Even if you are honest, people who work for you might not be. They could gain access to all the best keywords across all the niches tracked by your site.

    As I mentioned on another blog. There is no way you can guarantee data security. Any affiliate marketer who gives up keywords for free tracking is a sucker. That’s about as polite as I can be on the subject.

    1. Wes Mahler says:

      My apologizes if I communicated that we were going to definitely release a self-hosted version, we have been discussing it whether or not we should do it. But honestly it is not our primary concern right now we are focusing Tracking202 the free service, and helping our users in the current moment. I do not know if we will ever really release a self-hosted, we’ve had a lot of talk between ourselves, and others about this but it is really something that has a lot of potential pros, and also a lot of potential cons for us.

      I respect your opinion, and realize what you bring up it what other PPC marketers also believe. But I would disagree with you that any affiliate marketer using a free ppc analytics service is getting taken advantage of. Even if it was a paid monthly analytics service which it was originally intended on being, the issue of keyword security would still be there, regardless if it was free.

      To me personally it isn’t about the money, it is about keeping a promise to the hundreds of users I swore to keep their data safe. I’d loose everything by violating all of those relationships, and in the end I’d be poorer, both financially and emotionally I believe at the end of the day if we were to take advantage of others’ data.

      If you were in our position, and you have promised over 400 people that you would keep their data secure, and only seen by them. That you promised, and put your name on the line, to hundreds of people who work in the same industry as you that you would keep their information secure.

      Would a few thousand dollars mean more than hundreds of personal relationships you have built? I mean wouldn’t you also keep your word if you promised hundreds of users who trusted you to keep your data safe?

    2. Wes Mahler says:

      My apologizes if I communicated that we were going to definitely release a self-hosted version, we have been discussing it whether or not we should do it. But honestly it is not our primary concern right now we are focusing Tracking202 the free service, and helping our users in the current moment. I do not know if we will ever really release a self-hosted, we’ve had a lot of talk between ourselves, and others about this but it is really something that has a lot of potential pros, and also a lot of potential cons for us.

      I respect your opinion, and realize what you bring up it what other PPC marketers also believe. But I would disagree with you that any affiliate marketer using a free ppc analytics service is getting taken advantage of. Even if it was a paid monthly analytics service which it was originally intended on being, the issue of keyword security would still be there, regardless if it was free.

      To me personally it isn’t about the money, it is about keeping a promise to the hundreds of users I swore to keep their data safe. I’d loose everything by violating all of those relationships, and in the end I’d be poorer, both financially and emotionally I believe at the end of the day if we were to take advantage of others’ data.

      If you were in our position, and you have promised over 400 people that you would keep their data secure, and only seen by them. That you promised, and put your name on the line, to hundreds of people who work in the same industry as you that you would keep their information secure.

      Would a few thousand dollars mean more than hundreds of personal relationships you have built? I mean wouldn’t you also keep your word if you promised hundreds of users who trusted you to keep their data safe?

  11. Jim Karter says:

    Looks interesting. May be I should give them a try. But really, privacy is really an issue. I will see how much it will take me to write that piece of code to track it on my own site.:d

    1. It would take a lot of effort and a massive amount of time. This isn’t like designing a basic webpage although it can be done.

  12. HostingCow says:

    Finally a good tool for affiliate tracking.. It`s good because it`s free 😀 I`m gonna try this as soon as I get accepted in few affiliate networks.

  13. Tammy E. says:

    sounds like an excellent tool and free! I’ll have to check it out, Thanks

  14. Robert says:

    This is brilliant. The adwords-affiliate payout process is great, but I didn’t think there was a way to figure out which adwords campaign was working best. Now this software provides that service. This may take a while to catch on, but I think when it does, it will skyrocket among the make-money-online niche.

  15. I have a nice site that allows me to view the keywords that people use to visit my site, I’m not sure if that’s what you’re talking about here, but it’s really handy.

  16. Leo says:

    ➡ I’ve dealt with PPC through AdBrite.com. What do you think of AdBrite.com? I have gotten mixed results.

  17. David Chew says:

    Looks interesting but not sure if it is good enough.

  18. I really need a software program that will be able to do this.
    I have had some experience with other programs that haven’t lived up to their hype though. Thanks for sharing this great information.

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