How to Void a Transaction in CJ Affiliate

Managing an affiliate program is more than just recruiting, activating, and compliance policing. These tasks do require a majority of an affiliate manager’s time, but there are other tasks required to be completed when managing an affiliate program.

One important task is reconciling orders at the end of each month and voiding any that need to be. Voiding an order can be done for various reasons including returns/refunds, fraud, or violation of promotional methods.

In this post, I will go over step-by-step on how to void transactions in the CJ Affiliate dashboard.

Step 1 – Navigate to the Transactions Page

Once logged in to the CJ Affiliate dashboard, click “Reports”, then “Transaction” from the drop-down menu. This will take you to the page where each individual transaction can be viewed from the current (or any previous) month.

Step 2 – Enter the Order ID to Void

A search can be done either using an order ID, Commission ID, or Transaction ID. In this example, the Order ID will be used. Enter the Order ID in the field named “Enter ID”, then hit the magnifying glass. Scroll down and the Order in question is now available to view along with all of the pertinent details.

Step 3 – Select Transaction and Begin Voiding Process

To begin the voiding process, put a tick mark in the box and then hit “edit”. By doing that it will initiate a pop-up to formally void the transaction.

Step 4 – Void the Transaction

At this stage, the sale amount and publisher’s name will be visible. Select a “Correction Reason” from the drop-down menu. The choices include: invalid credit card, returned merchandise, duplicate order, can’t ship/sold out, and other. Select the reason that best matches. To void the transaction, click the blue pencil box and change the quantity to “0” and do the same for the sale amount, change it to “0.00”. Click save and the transaction is now voided.

Reconciling transactions is a multi-step process that should be done monthly at a minimum. The last thing to do is pay affiliates for orders that were not processed or returned. Follow these steps and this task will become second nature.


3 Ways to Monitor and Review Your Affiliates

Some might consider affiliate marketing to be a Wild Wild West of digital advertising, though, with a proper approach, risks associated with this channel will be minimal. Affiliate marketing is all about trust and relationships, but it’s a business for all parties involved.

Monitoring and policing your affiliates is the first step to securing your own business interests and surprisingly enough, the only way to build a healthier affiliate program.

Below are 3 ways to monitor and review your affiliates.

#1. Auto Approve Practice Leads to Chaos

Almost all networks have an option to auto-approve applications from new affiliates for your program. Not making good partners wait might sound tempting, but if you opt for it, you’ll lose control of the program and also lose one of the best opportunities to learn about your new affiliates.

Respond personally to each request to join your program and try to find a direct contact with an affiliate (in most cases affiliate networks don’t provide contact details, but you can find them on the affiliate’s website listed in a profile). Ask all new candidates about their traffic sources, audience, promotions that work the best etc. Doing so will help you gain control over the program and learn crucial details. Be like a bank — know your partners.

#2. A Little Background Check Didn’t Hurt Anybody

monitoring affiliates

You’ve got a new affiliate application, you have followed the #1 the rule and didn’t auto approve anybody. Right now the only thing you know about your affiliate is a site URL. You visit it and the site looks good. Some affiliates know that program owners will not look any further. So, how can you make sure that the affiliate really has something to offer?

With tools like SimilarWeb you can check estimated site traffic and its sources. Sometimes you will discover other affiliate programs this particular affiliate promotes. All this data will help you make a decision on whether to reject or approve the application.

Additionally, if you decide to let this affiliate onboard, any information gained will empower you to make a better proposal and to motivate your new partner.

#3. Toxic Affiliates Spoil The Whole Program

A spoon of tar spoils a barrel of honey, as Russians say. One toxic affiliate can bring your whole program down. How can you find a bad guy? Monitor traffic coming from each affiliate individually and find the ones that have low conversion rates (CR) — chances are, they are doing something worth taking a second look at.

Also, low CR affiliates spoil your overall program (low CR is bad for your rankings in affiliate network’s leaderboards) and SERP position (search engines will lower your position once they detect that users don’t convert on your site — the main indicator that your site is not relevant).

Additionally, good affiliates will not join your program if your main KPIs (Conversion Rate, Reversal Rate, Average Order Value etc.) are low.

So monitoring affiliates is a must.

Quick Tip: How To Gain Control Over Your Program

Chances are that you are using Google Analytics (GA) to track your website visitors. You can start implementing your monitoring and policing practices by using GA to track your affiliate’s activity. Affiliate networks can pass various parameters: dynamic and static — to your landing page URL. It’s easy to leverage this functionality, though many merchants still don’t use it.

Below is an example of how you can mark all traffic coming from affiliate networks and split it on a publisher level.

  1. Use the utm_source tag to pass a network name, e.g. utm_source=cj.
  2. Specify traffic type in a utm_medium tag, e.g. utm_medium=cpa.
  3. Finally, use a dynamic variable provided by your affiliate network to pass a publisher ID to a utm_campaign tag., e.g. utm_campaign={publisher_id}.

The resulting URL will look similar to{piblisher_id}.

Now you are able to observe each affiliate’s traffic individually and act accordingly.

If you’d like to learn more about using your new Google Analytics setup to monitor and police affiliates, leave a comment below and feel free to ask questions.

How to Simplify ShareASale Program Management by Segmenting Affiliates

Data is extremely valuable in evaluating affiliate campaigns. It also helps evaluate affiliate performance and allows affiliate managers to make strategic decisions for their future affiliate marketing campaigns.

Many brands that run affiliate programs do not segment or categorize their affiliates, thus missing out on opportunities to manage their affiliate program in more efficient ways. Filtering and sorting affiliates should be a task that every affiliate manager engages in. In this post, I will outline how to filter and sort affiliates in the ShareASale affiliate network.

Step 1: Navigate to “Affiliate List”

Click the “Affiliates” tab in the main navigation, then “Affiliate List.”

ShareASale Affiliate Filtering & Sorting

Step 2: Choose Predefined Filter or Advanced Filters and Sorting

ShareASale offers three (3) predefined filters to use, but to get more detailed and drill down further – the “Advanced Filters and Sorting” option is the way to go. The advanced filters and sorting will be discussed in detail in the next step.

ShareASale Affiliate Filtering & Sorting


Step 3: Utilize Advanced Filters and Sorting Option

There are numerous ways to filter affiliates, so how do you know what to do? It depends on the what you are looking to do. For example, filtering affiliates that joined the program in the past 30 days. Click “Applied to Program (Date Range) Enter Start Date and End Date and “Click Update Filter“. A list of all affiliates joined in the past 30 days will be shown. From there, affiliates can be placed in groups and/or assigned tags for future campaigns. One of the most common affiliate filtering/sorting options is by “Performance Metrics”. Affiliates can be filtered by sales generated, EPC (or earnings per 100 clicks referred), click volume, commissions earned, etc. Filtering by “Performance Metrics” allows greater flexibility in managing affiliates and does not cast a “one-size-fits-all” approach to managing them.

ShareASale Affiliate Filtering & Sorting


ShareASale makes managing affiliate programs less stressful. Their easy-to-use interface allows program managers to be more efficient with their time. Many affiliate managers are multi-taskers and time is money. Growing an affiliate program requires constant data analysis and having a simple(r) approach to gathering the data is critical. So, make sure you take full advantage of the ShareASale tools at your disposal.

5 Ways to Passively Recruit Affiliates

What is one of the most important elements to effectively managing an affiliate program? The answer is simple, recruiting new (quality) affiliates. One of the most common themes when speaking to merchants that have under-performing affiliate programs (even ones that have successful ones mention it) is that they cannot find affiliates to promote their products or services. It may be a lack of knowledge on where to find them or they are not willing to put the work in, but either way, locating and successfully recruiting affiliates is a necessary element to any successful affiliate program.

In an article I wrote over three years ago, How to Find Affiliates to Recruit into Affiliate Program, I outlined ways affiliate managers can actively recruit new affiliates into their programs. In this post, I am going to outline ways to Passive Affiliate Recruitmentpassively recruit affiliates into affiliate programs. What exactly is passive affiliate recruitment? It is a recruiting method when prospective affiliates find a merchant’s affiliate program on their own. Below are 5 ways to passively recruit new affiliates into an affiliate program:

Paid Search Campaigns

Creating paid search campaigns on Google, Yahoo, and Bing are effective ways to get an affiliate program in front of affiliates. Keywords such as “affiliate program” and those of direct (and in-direct competitors) are good ones to bid on. Even keywords related to a specific industry can be effective.

Affiliate Directories

Affiliates use directories to find affiliate programs they want to join, so logically, merchants should include a listing of their program in as many affiliate directories as possible. Many of them are broken down into categories, so locating a program is simple. An example is

Popular Publications

Placing ads for an affiliate program in popular magazines is a relatively low cost and effective way to get in front of targeted, quality affiliates. FeedFront caters to both affiliates and affiliate managers.

Second-tier affiliates

This is a less frequently used technique but can be effective if done properly. This technique can be used in two ways; first, it can motivate current affiliates and secondly, it can provide great new affiliate partners. Second-tier affiliates are referrals from current affiliates. Typically, current affiliates are rewarded with a bounty (ex. $5 per referral), but also can be paid ongoing commissions from their referrals. The decision is up to the merchant.

Press Releases

Press releases can provide effective recruitment opportunities for many years in the future. Merchants can use press releases to announce the launch of their new affiliate program, milestones reached, partnerships created, but the beauty of it is the SEO value. If properly optimized with relevant keywords they can be successful recruiting tools.

Passively recruiting does not mean to stop actively recruiting, what it means is to use both methods in tandem and maximize the effort to grow an affiliate program to new levels. Many merchants ignore the passive recruiting methods, but successful affiliate programs interweave them into their overall strategy.

ShareASale Auto-Deposit Feature: How to Make the Most of It

Managing an affiliate program requires careful attention to details. Effective program management is not only about recruiting, activating, and compliance policing, but also little details that keep the program operating and functional at all times. Having all affiliate communication documents uploaded, an email address where affiliates can contact the program manager anytime, but for ShareASale merchants maybe the most important detail is enabling the auto-deposit function in the ShareASale interface.

Why It Is Important

ShareASale gives merchants the option to auto-deposit funds into their account when the balance hit a certain threshold. It is recommended that all merchants set up this feature before launching. Having an account balance go negative will result in all affiliate links being turned off (until the account balance is positive) and you can guess what that means; unhappy affiliates.

How to Enable It

In this post, I will explain step-by-step how to set it up to ensure your program never goes offline due to a low or negative account balance.

Step # 1 – Navigate to the Deposit Center

After logging in to the ShareASale merchant interface go to “My Account” and then “Deposit Center”.

Step # 2 – Make a deposit or set up auto-deposit

This step a merchant can either make a deposit with a credit card or set-up the auto deposit feature. Merchants can make a deposit at any time even if the auto-deposit feature is enabled. For example, if they anticipate increased traffic and sales during a given period the deposit can be done at this step. To set up the auto-deposit feature click the “Update Auto-Deposit Settings” button.

ShareASale Affiliate Program - Funds Deposit

Step # 3 –  Setup Primary and Secondary Payment Methods

Merchants should have two methods (if possible setup the backup gateway) in case one does not work. Input credit card # 1 in the primary payment method and credit card # 2 in the secondary payment method. The next step is to turn the auto deposit on and set up the low balance trigger and how much to deposit once the low balance trigger has been enabled. It is recommended to not let a merchant account dip below $100, but the more in the account the better. Once all sections are complete, hit “Update Settings”.

ShareASale Auto-Deposit

Step # 4 – Setup Complete

Now the auto deposit setting is enabled. Merchants can now see their current settings and the last four digits of the primary payment method. All of the settings can be adjusted at any time. Simply follow the same steps.


Attention to details in managing affiliate programs is vital. Making sure the affiliate account is fully funded and has backup options is also critical to the success of a program. If an affiliate sees the auto deposit feature is off they may be hesitant to apply to join. Sometimes it is the little things that matter the most.

FTC Disclosure Best Practices for Affiliates

Affiliate managers wear many hats and are asked to manage many tasks on a daily basis. These include affiliate recruitment, affiliate activation, compliance policing, optimization, and communication. Compliance policing is often an overlooked task, but it should be taken as seriously as the rest. In terms of compliance policing, paid search and coupon policing are two of the main activities affiliate managers engage in on a daily basis, but what about FTC disclosure compliance?

Why are Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosures important? Short answer, they aid online users in determining if the endorser (or reviewer) has a connection to the brand which they are talking about. The FTC can fine both the endorser and advertiser for not properly disclosing their relationship in a product review or sponsored post. The fine can be upwards of $11,000 per infraction. The FTC requires that endorsements use clear and unmistakable language and should be easily visible. They cannot and should not be hidden or tucked away. The last place a brand or blogger wants to be is on the FTC’s radar.

Last month (September 7, 2017) the FTC updated their endorsement requirements, so the post today will discuss the updated best practices for affiliates, outlining how to comply with the FTC’s rules while marketing on social media and via blog posts.


There are multiple acceptable ways to disclose on Facebook, but having it too long may be counterproductive to your goals and turn off your audience. Here are a few examples of how you may disclose the connection:

  • Ad: XYZ is a great computer that is perfect for a small business owner. @XYZ
  • Sponsored Post: XYZ’s computer has helped to keep our business more organized.

Take into account that the phrase “affiliate link” may not be accepted as an adequate disclosure. So using something similar to this at the bottom of the post will be satisfactory:

Note: I am using an affiliate link below which means that if you buy something via this post I may receive a commission.


This one is a little more challenging of a context, as there is a 140-character limit; but disclosing still must be done when you are endorsing/reviewing a product via Twitter. Here are a few examples of how to disclose:

  • Start the Tweet with “Sponsored” (uses only 9 characters)
  • Start the Tweet with “Paid Ad” (uses only 7 characters)
  • Use #Sponsored #Ad at the beginning of the Tweet.

Using one of the above options is sufficient, but it is also strongly recommended that you tag the brand in question.


Tricia Meyer noted in her latest “FTC Updates Endorsement Guidance” blog post that the FTC requires that all Instagram disclosures are located above the “more” button (to avoid being pushed down the feed) or on the image itself. Here are examples of disclosing:

  • “Ad” or “Advertisement” placed at the beginning of the post
  • “Sponsored” placed at the beginning of the post
  • “Paid Ad” placed at the beginning of the post+

Snapchat/Instagram Stories

Disclosures can be overlaid on images but should be easy to notice on the image(s) and clearly worded. There should be no confusion on whether it is a sponsored post or not. Also, making sure ample time is given to followers to view the image(s) and comprehend that it is a sponsored ad.

Additionally, while disclosing that your social media post is sponsored does not have to be at the beginning of the post, the disclosure must be easily noticeable and understood. This is why, the beginning is, generally, a good place for it.

Blog Posts

The key here is to disclose upfront that there is a relationship between the post and the brand. It should be obvious to the reader that it is a sponsored content that they are going through. The reader should not have to guess if a person is being compensated. The disclosure must appear before the first affiliate link, above the fold, and be easy to find. Do not wait until the end of the post to disclose, as it may be considered misleading. Here is an example to place at the beginning:

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission if you purchase something mentioned in the below post.

At the end of the post, the disclosure may be reiterated by writing:

I receive(d) compensation in exchange for writing this review/post. This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you purchase something mentioned in this post.

Recommended, but not required is to add a link to your self-hosted “full disclosure statement” page at the beginning of the post. The more transparent the post – the better it is for the blogger and the brand.

Actively managing affiliates and influencers to ensure their compliance with the FTC disclosure requirements is an extremely important task for affiliate and influencer managers. Both the brand and the endorsers must be sure that the FTC disclosures are being complied with.

We also recommend you read the FTC’s .com Disclosures document here. It should answer additional questions you may have.

An Overview of CJ Affiliate’s Cross Device Tracking

Affiliate Marketing continues to evolve and CJ Affiliate has recently introduced (and long overdue) a new technology solution called Cross-Device Tracking. What is it? Why is it important? How does it work? All of these questions will be answered in this post.

What is Cross-Device Tracking?

CJ Affiliate’s Cross-Device Tracking solution gathers all impressions and clicks from all devices a customer uses during a single transaction. Up to this point only one device was trackable, but now customers can use multiple devices (computers, smartphones, tablets) and the final device will be attributed to the sale. This will also allow affiliates to feel better knowing that they will get credit for their hard work even if the sale does not occur on the originating device.

Here is an example: A customer clicks on a CJ Affiliate link today from their tablet and then decides to not continue with checkout, but a few days later (given the cookie is still valid) they use their smartphone to continue the transaction and ultimately purchase. The CJ Affiliate Cross-Device Tracking will track the entire path and credit the appropriate device and affiliate.

Why is it important?

Cross-Device Tracking allows merchants to study customer behavior and market to them more effectively in the future. Understanding why it is important for the merchants is essential, but also understanding why it is important for affiliates is equally as important. When affiliates now promote CJ Affiliate merchants they can be assured they will be credited with transactions if they are completed using one device or four. Happy affiliates will continue to promote merchant’s products and this is one technology solution that affiliates are excited to see.

How does it work?

Currently, this technology solution is unique to CJ Affiliate and connects customers to all of their different devices. They lump together first and third-party data and then create customer ID’s, which enables them to track customers from device to device without losing them after the first one. It is labeled as the most accurate tracking solution in the industry, but it can recognize more customers than any other affiliate network in the world.

If you are a CJ Affiliate merchant and want to learn more about this or enable the technology solution you can contact CJ Affiliate directly or follow the following steps:

  • Navigate to the main navigation bar and click Account > Settings > Account Integration Settings and then locate “Cross-Device Tracking
  • Click “Enable

Simple, right? From there a support ticket will automatically be generated and a CJ representative will be in contact with any next steps or integration instructions. Some merchants are automatically enabled, but check with CJ Affiliate to ensure it is operating properly.

How to View Affiliate Creative Performance in CJ Affiliate

Providing affiliates with plethora of creatives is essential for any affiliate program. The creatives could be banners, text links, coupons/deals, and videos; but providing as many as possible is advantageous for any affiliate program. Having a wide selection of creatives is great, but how do affiliate managers know the top converting ones and what new ones should be introduced? Affiliate networks provide merchants (and affiliate managers) access to important data regarding their creatives. This data helps determine what creatives to keep creating in the future and what ones to discontinue, but will also tell the needed statistics like clicks, revenue, etc.  CJ Affiliate is one of the networks that provides in-depth data on how specific creatives are performing. The following steps will show affiliate managers how to view affiliate creative performance in CJ Affiliate.

Step 1 – Click “Performance” under the Reports Tab

Once logged in to the CJ Affiliate merchant interface, navigate to the “Reports” tab and click “Performance” from the drop-down menu.

Step 2 – Filter Performance by Link

After clicking on “Performance” in the reports tab the next screen will allow affiliate managers to sort performance by links. Under “Performance by” click the drop-down box, select “Link” and then either hit “Run Report” or add a specific “Link ID” to the box. By not adding a link ID it will generate a report with all the creatives in the inventory, but by specifying a specific link it will only show data for that one.

Step 3 – Review Performance of Current Creatives

Each creative (banner or link) will have the following information available to analyze: publisher commission, total commission (includes CJ Affiliate’s fees), sale amount, number of sales, leads (if applicable), items, clicks, impressions, conversion rate, click through rate, and EPC (earnings per 100 clicks).

Whether it is just checking the performance of banners and links for basic knowledge or using the data to build a top-notch creative inventory affiliates can use to grow your affiliate program and their earnings, the data is extremely helpful. Finding out the best converting links (or deals) and banners will help make the affiliate program an affiliate friendly program that will be fruitful for all parties involved.

How to Create a Custom Recruiting URL in ShareASale

As an affiliate manager one of the main responsibilities is recruiting new affiliates to grow the program. There are different methods and places to find prospective affiliates, but keeping track of where new affiliates come from can be a cumbersome task. ShareASale offers a way for merchants to “tag” prospects and have them use a custom URL that will allow them to attribute the signup to a specific outreach campaign and create and make the recruiting process more organized.

The following steps are how to create a custom recruiting URL within ShareASale.

Step 1 – Create a Tag for Recruiting

First, navigate to the “Affiliates” tab in the main menu and click “Affiliate List”. Next click “Add Tag” and then Click “Create Tag” (in blue).

Next, the “tag” will want to be specific regarding the recruiting campaign, so in the smaller rectangular box the title of the tag should be entered (ex. SIGNUP FROM CONTENTAFF). Click “Create Tag”, now the tag is created and will be used in the recruiting URL.

Step 2 – Adding the Tag to the Recruiting URL

Below is the standard URL used for affiliates to sign up to an affiliate program.

Merchants can use the URL above, but the recruiting link with the created tag should look as follows:

The source= should be the tag title minus the “SIGNUP FROM”.

Please note that the XXXXX should be replaced with a ShareASale merchant ID.

Each time a prospect applies to the affiliate program using the custom URL it will indicate that in the application.

Recruiting is one of the most critical components in building an affiliate program, so creating custom recruiting URL’s for all prospects is highly recommended. It will streamline the process and make campaign attribution easier as well.

If you have any questions please contact me at